iOS 7 gets unveiled with completely new design, many new features
Apple has announced iOS 7 today at its annual WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC). This is the first version of the company’s mobile operating system that’s been designed by Jonathan Ive and his design team (previously having worked only on hardware). This has resulted in iOS 7 being pretty much the biggest redesign in the operating system’s history. That’s not to say that it doesn’t look familiar, or that there will be a big learning curve or anything like that. It’s just a lot more modern, flatter, and more beautiful – basically it looks like iOS has finally grown up, at least in terms of looks.
Aside from the new design, there are a few new features too in there (but no home screen widgets). First off, the Control Center lets you easily turn things such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, adjust brightness, play or pause songs from wherever you may be in the UI, by just swiping up from the bottom of the screen (basically the opposite gesture to that which brings down the notification screen).
The notification area itself has gotten a bit more complex, with a ‘Today view’ added in for good measure. Multitasking will finally be available for all apps, and not just a selection of them (yes, this really is a new feature in 2013). The multitasking interface has been improved too, now providing app previews and not just app icons.
Air Drop is a feature that’s been rumored for a while, and it did make the cut. It allows you to share stuff to people nearby using Wi-Fi Direct, but it only works on recent hardware (iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPod touch 5th generation).
iTunes Radio is Apple’s answer to music streaming services, and it basically enables ‘Genius mode’ for the entire catalog of iTunes songs.
The App Store has finally gained automatic updates (once again, yes, really, this is a new thing). You can also search for apps based on your location, and search by age groups (easy to find apps for kids, for example).
The Camera app has a new interface that lets you swipe through views (photo capture, video capture, panorama, square camera). Photo filters are now built-in. The Photos app also got an update, coming with better categorization and easy search for photos based on date and location.
Siri has a new voice, and you can even choose a male voice now. It’s also expanded to cover French and German. It finally is able to do things to your device’s settings, so you can now tell her or him to turn off Bluetooth, stuff like that. Twitter and Wikipedia integration is in, as are search results from Bing shown right inside Siri.
Safari’s seen an update too, with less ‘chrome’ in the user interface, unlimited open tabs (and a new way of managing them), and a ‘unified’ search field which gives you access to your favorite websites.
Unfortunately, iOS 7 will only become available to the general public sometime “this fall” – which means you shouldn’t get too excited, as you’ll still have a few months to wait until you’ll see it on your device. Speaking of which, only the iPhone 4 and later models, the iPad 2 and later models, the iPad Mini, and the iPod touch 5th generation will get updated to iOS 7. If you’re sporting an older device, you’re out of luck.