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Inside iOS 7: Messages adds group chat user pics, hidden timestamps

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
While it wasn't given as drastic of a redesign as some other native iOS 7 applications, Apple's new Messages app sports a tweaked look and some subtle but useful new features.

Messages


The feel of messages has changed in iOS 7, as each text bubble seems to have its own "weight" when scrolling. As the bubbles move when the page is scrolled, they will pull apart, only to come back together when scrolling is stopped, with a gravity-like effect applied to the items on screen.

The bubbles themselves are also flat, ditching the slight three-dimensional look found in previous versions of iOS, and also still found on Messages for Mac. Sent iMessages are still displayed with a blue background while regular texts are in green, though the colors are now brighter. Received messages still appear in gray.

The color of sent messages gradually fades as they go up toward the top of the screen. Specifically, messages that appear at the top are a much lighter blue than the most recently sent message.

A new Contact button in the upper right corner of any text messages quickly brings up options to call or FaceTime the person being texted. This is a change from iOS 6, when users had to scroll to the top of a conversation to access those options.

Messages


If the person involved in the chat is an iMessage user on an iPod touch or iPad, iOS 7 presents a "FaceTime Audio" option instead of "Call."

When using group messaging, if a person has a picture associated with their contact information on the iPhone, it will appear in a small circle next to their chat bubbles. Users who don't have pictures will have their first and last initial displayed.

More detailed message timestamps can also be viewed through a hidden new feature in iOS 7. Simply swiping and holding to the left will push sent messages to the side, and bring in specific message-by-message timestamps from off the screen. Letting go of the screen releases the page and throws the timestamps back offscreen.

Another new feature in iOS 7 allows users to block specific contacts or numbers they do not wish to hear from. This option can be found in the Messages section of Settings, where users can select a contact and block that person from sending a text or iMessage.

Apple is scheduled to ship iOS 7 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this fall. For more information on the upcoming operating system update, see AppleInsider's ongoing Inside iOS 7 series, recent parts of which are included below.

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post #2 of 22
Loving iMessage (mostly because I have plenty of occasion to use it.)

The new design's really grown on me as well.
post #3 of 22
Are the authors pressed for article space? Cramming views side-by-side is tacky and distracting to the eye.
post #4 of 22
YESSSS! Hidden timestamps for each message bubble.
This is probably my top enhancement I've been waiting for.
post #5 of 22

The iMessage feature I constantly hear people clamouring for online is a way to opt-out of group chats. I have to say it would be handy.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by c4rlob View Post

YESSSS! Hidden timestamps for each message bubble.
This is probably my top enhancement I've been waiting for.

 

My top pet peeve as well. Followed closely by having to scroll all the way to the top of a conversion to get to contact info and reply options. Some of my conversation threads are very long and that's a lot of scrolling. So that's also getting fixed. Nice!
post #7 of 22
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Messages

 

Apparently iOS 6 is old, crusty and it sucks, lol.  (middle column at the bottom)
 

"Proof is irrelevant" - Solipsism
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"Proof is irrelevant" - Solipsism
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post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

The iMessage feature I constantly hear people clamouring for online is a way to opt-out of group chats. I have to say it would be handy.

Get better friends? /s

 

Probably not a bad feature

post #9 of 22
I wish time stamps were able to always display.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

 

My top pet peeve as well. Followed closely by having to scroll all the way to the top of a conversion to get to contact info and reply options. Some of my conversation threads are very long and that's a lot of scrolling. So that's also getting fixed. Nice!

 

+1 as top peeve for me as well!

 

BTW,  you don't need to scroll manually (if that's what you're doing), just tap the above the name (like the time) and it'll auto-scroll to the top quite quickly (at least it's fast for me for long threads on my 4S)

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Are the authors pressed for article space? Cramming views side-by-side is tacky and distracting to the eye.

My first thought, too. Overall, I don't like to get down on Ai...they do a fabulous job. But I agree...larger screen shots would be appreciated. :)

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalG View Post

 

+1 as top peeve for me as well!

 

BTW,  you don't need to scroll manually (if that's what you're doing), just tap the above the name (like the time) and it'll auto-scroll to the top quite quickly (at least it's fast for me for long threads on my 4S)

 

Duh! Thanks! I thought I had tapped and swiped pretty much everywhere thinking there had to be a way...maybe tapping/swiping the contact name would do it or something. I guess I didn't try tapping *above* the the contact name. LOL Now....about getting back to the end of the thread... Ha, ha.

(Can you guess how much I hate the hide-and-seak aspect of so many modern UIs?)
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

 

Now....about getting back to the end of the thread... Ha, ha.
 

 

Maybe not as graceful as getting to the top of a text thread, but tapping into a new text message field will bring the thread back to the last text.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarfungo View Post

 

Maybe not as graceful as getting to the top of a text thread, but tapping into a new text message field will bring the thread back to the last text.


I'll expand on this a bit, if you're already typing a message and you scrolled up and want to get back to the bottom, pull the keyboard back down so it is hidden, then tap the message box again which will bring the keyboard back up and the scroll to the bottom

post #15 of 22
My only comment is that what iOS 7 uses for "back buttons" still looks like ass, even just from a graphic design perspective. The arrow is unbalanced and too large in most cases and the text is stupidly large also.

Just give up on the dogma and make it a button already. It can be a flat button, it can even have glowy over-the top saturation like some of the icons, but the text thing with the skinny *caret* (it's not actually even an arrow), is not working, is ugly, and a step backwards in usability.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarfungo View Post

 

Maybe not as graceful as getting to the top of a text thread, but tapping into a new text message field will bring the thread back to the last text.

 

In general, I find the idea of tapping the top bar to get back to the beginning to be a faulty concept.  Apple uses it liberally in iOS and iOS apps, and considering there are other buttons and elements within a few pixels of the tap target, and that threads and documents can sometimes be long, it's caused me more headaches than it has helped me out.  

 

For instance in Pages, all the formatting tools are buttons in the top bar, but touching the top bar itself brings you back to the beginning of the document.  If you are working on a 500 page document and you miss the formatting button by a hairsbreadth, you find yourself at the beginning and you have to scroll for literally a minute or so sometimes, just to get back to your work.  

 

I'd rather have the ability to disable this and just scroll around.  At least then you are in control.  

post #17 of 22
Opt out of group chats would be nice, as the ability to create groups would be nice too.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Opt out of group chats would be nice, as the ability to create groups would be nice too.

Anyone can create them. You can too.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


Anyone can create them. You can too.

Ok, so I want to add 6 people from my contact list to a group so when I text them...I tap that group and it sends.  How do I do that?

post #20 of 22

So, looking like full 3D objects is "bad design." But, behaving like them is good?!? You sure they aren't just substituting one kind of skeuomorphism for another?

post #21 of 22
That blue is ugly though, it's hard to read the last message sent.

Step. Backwards

Only re-design to make things better
post #22 of 22
Lots of cool new functionality in messages. But I would pay and extra $100 if they would give me the LOOK of ios6. The new colors are really hard to read. Too bright. And the new flat look is a definite downgrade from the boring old look favored by Steve Jobs.

Fire Jony Ives
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