Apple made a number of announcements at its World Wide Developers Conference, including an updated OS X, iTunes Radio service, a new Macbook Air, and Mac Pro. iOS also got a major overhaul, with Tim Cook stating it was the biggest makeover for the OS since the release of iPhone. iOS 7 updates nearly every facet with new apps, features, and a complete visual makeover to boot.
The design of iOS 7 is sleek, understated, and mostly set in a white translucent background. The display can sense the movement of the handset, and will adjust the background image accordingly. The familiar slide to lock bar is gone, with a simple arrow in its place. On the lock screen, the time is displayed, but users will now also be able to access the updated notification center without having to unlock their device. Icons will be flat and they will all be updated with new graphics.
Mail, Calendar, Weather, Safari, and Maps
The familiar staple apps of iOS have all received cosmetic updates, as well as new features. The Weather app now displays animation to reflect current conditions. It will display rain, snow, thunder storms, sunshine, and more depending on the weather in the desired location. The Mail and Calendar apps will be both sleeker and minimalist, and will make better use of the iPhone 5’s larger display. Safari will allow for full screen browsing, unlimited tabs, parental controls, and compatibility with iCloud Keychain.
Taking a cue from popular photo editing apps like Instagram, iOS 7 will let users take photos in multiple sizes, such as square, full sized, and panoramic; it will then allow them to edit photos with multiple filters. Photos are now saved in an updated photo app that will organize images by location and date, letting users scroll through minimized images that are automatically sorted.
No longer will iOS users have to venture into their settings app to quickly change the brightness on their phone or turn Airplane Mode on or off. With the Control Center app, users can swipe up to access a menu that will let them control Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Do Not Disturb. Users will also see controls for music, screen brightness, AirDrop and AirPlay. Control Center will also let users launch a flashlight, a calculator, the clock app, and the camera.
Game Center and iMessage
Previously a clunky interface with an ugly green poker table surface, Game Center will feature a simple and colorful design. iMessage will also get a new look, losing the 3D bubbles, and replacing them with flat images on a white background.
With iOS 7, multitasking is now accessible for any app developer, so that apps can run in the background. The updated operating system will also learn what apps users access the most, and keep those apps up to date when they are running. This feature is also stated to improve battery life, by optimizing notifications and updates according to usage.
With AirDrop, iOS users will be able to share content with others near them also running AirDrop. By accessing the setting, users will be able to exchange encrypted files without setting up a network.
Siri will become a bit more useful and will have two different voices to choose from. Users will now be able to access an updated female voice or a male voice for Siri, and the Voice app will be far more intuitive. Siri will now be able to launch apps and understand simpler cues.
Find my iPhone
iDevices are popular in terms of theft, and Apple has made moves with iOS 7 to remedy that fact. If a device is stolen and the perpetrator attempts to delete Find My iPhone or wipe the device, they will need to enter the original owner’s Apple ID and password. This will either render the device useless to them, if they wipe the content, or it will mean that Find My iPhone will remain active, allowing the device to be found.
Coming this Fall
iOS 7 will be coming this fall to the iPad 2 and later tablets, iPhone 4 and later models, iPad mini, and fifth-generation-and-later iPod touch models.