iOS 7 Preview: App Store and Game Center [VID]

We’ve been previewing iOS 7 in its beta form ever since it dropped on to our phones a week ago, and we’re finally on to our last feature. This time around we take an in depth look at the new features and designs within the App Store and Game Center apps.

App Store

It’ll be no surprise to you to read that the App Store takes on the look of the rest of iOS 7. It’s flat and white with clean breaks, sharp graphics and the same blue and black fonts and icons. And, as you’d expect from the App Store, it’s easy to navigate and easy to discover new titles.

At the top of the app in the status bar are ‘Categories’ (to the left) and the name of which ever section you’re in. The default – as it always has been – is ‘Featured’. Perhaps the most interesting part of the top status bar is the small list icon to the right. Hit this list and enter ‘Wish List’. Now, I could be incredibly dense here, but as far as I can tell, adding apps to your wish list isn’t yet an option. So – for now – the wish list is just a place holder.

‘Top Charts’ is a familiar section to anyone who’s ever used iOS. You view the top paid, free and grossing apps. But, instead of stopping and needing to ‘show more’ after 25 titles, you can now scroll seamlessly all the way down to number 300. It’s pretty awesome.

Another – yet to be activated – new section is the ‘Near Me’ section. Once iOS 7 is live to the public, Near Me will show you what people in your town or city are downloading and using. This will be particularly useful if there are local-based applications around causing a stir in your community.

Next along are ‘Search’ and ‘Updates’ which don’t really need any introduction. Except to mention one thing: Now that iOS has automatic updates, the Updates section no longer gives you a long list of apps that you need to update. Instead, it shows you all the apps that have been updated over the last couple of days. You can still see your previously purchased items and select to view the ones available to download from the cloud which aren’t installed on your phone.

Game Center

The most obvious change to Game Center is the design. Upon opening, you’re no longer having your eyes offended by false green felt and wood. Instead of the hideous skeuomorphism, we now have some eye-popping bright colored bubbles that wibble a little. Apart from the ‘Requests’ bubble, each of them corresponds to one of the sections of the app.

Friends, Games, Challenges and Requests are all the same features we’ve had since iOS 5. You can still add friends, send challenges or check through your friends’ achievements. Perhaps the most useful part for those of you oft-engaged in multiplayer games is ‘turns’. In games where you take it in turns to play, Game Center enabled games waiting for you to take your turn will show up in the new ‘Turns’ section.

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