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Getting the most of the new iPhone operating system: using mobile iOS 7 in the lab


Apple iOS 7

Almost 48 hours post the official release of the brand new iOS 7, and the world wild web is buzzing and bustling with tweets, “how to” articles, complaints and also praises for the face lift apple hinted toward some months ago. From my own experience, and from other millions of iPhone users, it is clear that the 7 is not presenting a revolution in comparison to its past sibling, keeping to the “close box” concept yet delivering a system which is quite robust. Even so, several features (some easily identified others not so) can be a plus for a scientist at their bench (or at their desks). I will go over some of these with the hope that it will make you do more science at the bench with your mobile.

The control center

The control center was highly requested by many iPhonists in light of the android competition (from day 1) and apple finally delivered. The control panel (see image) is extended by swiping from the bottom of the screen, revealing the network connection (airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do not disturb, and orientation lock), brightness control, music player controls with  progress bar and at the bottom, a row of several most useful functions (flashlight, time control, calculator and camera control). The most important aspect of this feature is its availability even when the phone is password-locked, thus saving us all many minutes each day fumbling with password only to check the timer or to activate the flashlight. Well done, apple!

Control panel

The notification center

Here, things got changed quite a bit, and not necessarily for the better. Luckily, apple was wise enough to enable the user access to configuring most of the features here. Unlike previous software version, iOS 7 has 3-part notification segregated into “Today”, “all” and “missed”. The today window is the one that can be harnessed for improving our productivity although it needs a bit of tweaking (see image). For clarity, its best to dump the calendar and the stocks view; I also dumped the reminder notification since I am using a different to-do list app (more on that later). With these removed, your today view will be more attractive to look at and it will give you a sense of what’s up today and tomorrow (see image). The popular in-house weather notification, alas, have metamorphed into text notification which is more demanding than the graphical version (jail-breakers, you might expect a version with a graphical representation). The weather notification, by the way, requires access to the location service to appear on the notification center.

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Custom-made vibration notification

This might not sound like a big deal, yet this feature is smart and can be very helpful especially when your smartphone is tucked in your belt or pocket (or even placed far on the table). Now it is possible to assign unique vibration rhythm for any app notification sound/vibration (see image). While the built-in vibration collection is nice (see image), a user can prepare vibration rhythm that goes like this: Message, one 1-sec vibration; Gmail, two 1-sec vibrations; Calendar event, one 2-sec vibration and so forth (see image).

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Inclinometer

Ever wanted to check if the gel cater is sitting straight? Now you can check it out with the compass/inclinometer app (see image).

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In coincidence, several days ago the free Labguru app was launched, the first app to boldly address the practice of using a prescribed protocols with the ability to document your visual results on the spot.

iPhone_app

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