An app refresh without breaking the mould
I have only started using the new iOS 7 two weeks ago so I'm still getting used to the next interface, animations and the bright environments in general. Since I'm not confident reviewing purposely-built new app for the new operating system just yet, I figured out I could look at some with slight refresh.
The perfect candidate has to be Next 2.0 Expense Tracker by noidentity, which I already covered in March. First, I know how the old version used to work and I really liked the concept and execution. Second, the update for iOS 7 builds on previous custom design without using the new interface elements. Last and most important, the developer has addressed almost every criticism from my review and added new features worth writing about.
If you haven't seen heard about the Next - Expense Tracker yet despite the important App Store feature on apps designed for iOS 7, let me give you a quick intro. Unlike more convoluted personal finance apps, Next simplifies data entry to the minimum amount of taps I can think of. I can count three taps if the amount you have paid has only one digit.
A very characteristic grid with squares represents typical expense categories: transports, restaurant meals, drinks, newspapers or online shopping. To add a record for the £30 you just spent on your travel card, simply tap on the train-like icon, type the amount and validate it with the checkmark icon. That's four taps because 30 has two digits, but you can see how streamlined the process is.
Updated with the same spirit
The original workflow remains the same in the new 2.0 version, being the graphic tweaks and a couple of needed features the important bits here. While the original interface could perfectly blend with iOS 7, all traces of buttons have disappeared. Grid icons are now perfectly flat and the former pill-like buttons to toggle week, month, year and specific dates follow the new interface guidelines.
The new Next also uses a splash of red colour that I'm not sure was present before so prominently. I think it's a great colour combination that doesn't destroy what was previously there, potentially alienating users. Also worth mentioning are the quirky transitions and animations when you explore your records on the lateral menus. Not that a line chart showing why you are broke is going to be exciting, but it adds some fun to it.
Now with the new features: notes and icons. Every time you add an expense, a pencil icon appear next to the amount inviting you to add some text. Notes were a notable omission on the previous version, so it's great to see the new functionality. The pane on the right also allows you to type a description if you don't want to do it right when you are entering new items.
And if the icon selection didn't suit you, tapping and holding a tile allows you to edit the icon to something more useful to you from a generous list of glyphs. Note how they stick with the style they like and didn't went with super thin outlines just for the sake of it.
If you want to know more about it, I have some thoughts on my original review. Noidentity has demonstrated how to refresh an app for iOS 7 without being too radical, too cookie-cutter and listening to feedback to add wanted features. I'm very impressed with the work that has gone into Next 2.0 since it debuted earlier this year and I'm only waiting for some way to export the data to put on a spreadsheet.