I haven’t yet updated, but Polar has some screenshots and live polls regarding the interface changes.
Update (2014-03-11): Jesper:
iOS 7 is a historic fact at this point and they’re not going to go back. But they are having to evolve it out of the supposed already-perfect sprung-from-Jony-Ive’s-forehead state and make changes. Dulling the green is a welcome first step; making the dialer transitions and interface work better than in iOS 6, as opposed to significantly worse (as in iOS 7.0) is another. Most of the other changes are stopgaps.
There’s a measurable improvement over iOS 7.0 across all of these apps, some more noticeable than others. In a few instances, iOS 7.1 very nearly catches up with iOS 6.1.3, which is impressive given the gap between the two operating systems in some of these apps. It’s not a complete recovery from the original iOS 7.0 release, but it’s about as good as Apple can do with hardware this old. The small speed improvements are present throughout the operating system, and this makes the iPhone 4 feel more responsive than it did, if not always as responsive as it once was.
One of the awesome buried gems in iOS is known as “Switch Control.” It lets you create custom switches to perform functions on the phone that would normally be done with your hands using the iPhone’s camera, like multitasking by tilting your head instead of double-tapping the home button.
The update doesn’t come with big new features, but Jony Ive and the software team have made a ton of small design tweaks, most notably in areas like the Phone app, shutdown interface, calendar, as well as a number of Accessibility options that tweak the UI further with Button Shapes and darker colors and improved contrast.
In Settings > General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast, two new options — Darken Colors and Reduce White Point — join Reduce Transparency in making the interface less washed-out. I particularly like Darken Colors, simply because I prefer more saturated colors to iOS 7’s pastels.
I know my mother (and likely many others) will rejoice over the fact that the Calendar app once again has an obvious list option: When viewing a single day, you can tap the list icon at the top to view a full list of your appointments; in month view, you can toggle a list of the highlighted day’s appointments, which show up beneath the month’s calendar. Though I’m a Fantastical convert, this change at least improves the usefulness of the Calendar app for many users.
I’m trying out the “Button Shapes,” “Reduce White Point,” and “Darken Colors” options to go along with “Reduce Motion.” In theory, I would like “Reduce Transparency,” but since iOS 7 was designed with transparency in mind it tends to make things ugly.
Update (2014-03-12): I am seeing a bug where HDR keeps going back to Auto even though I’ve set it to On.
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