Announced today is iOS 7, the biggest update to iOS since the launch of the iPhone back in 2007. The new iOS 7 is retuned and revamped for Apple’s mobile market. Ranging from different changes like the new multitasking feature to the new control center, iOS 7 is sure to impress the many who have waited so long for Apple to release something different. This is the mobile OS from a “whole new perspective.”
Something that power users of smartphones have always loved about Android phones was the ability to go into the notification tray and easily turn on and off things like Wifi, Airplane mode, bluetooth, etc with the push of a button. Apple has finally brought this over to iOS with the addition of the Control Center tray which you get from swiping up from the bottom of the phone. In here, you are able to turn on and off various settings (Auto Rotate, Airplane, Wifi, Bluetooth), change the brightness or volume of your songs, change songs, access AirDrop or AirPlay and quick links to turn on the flashlight (led on back of phone), alarm, calculator and camera. This is available everywhere on the phone as it is a default gesture, and can be brought up on the lockscreen.
Tunes Radio has been a feature on iTunes that has been around for awhile, but it was never useful to use. There was very minimal organization of playlists, and you never really knew what you were actually going to get when you listened to a station. With the new iTunes Radio, which is available on iPhone, iPod, iPad as well as iTunes (Mac and PC), Apple has gone with more of a Spotify, Rdio or Google Music approach with a subscription based model and using the already existing tracks from the iTunes store. iTunes Radio is free with ads, but there is an ad free subscription model where if you already subscribed to Match, you get iTunes Radio for free. Pricing has yet to be announced, but Apple has said that it will only be available in the United States to start, with it coming to more countries at a later date.
AirDrop for iOS
AirDrop has already had its fair share of use on OSX, and its a welcome addition to iOS 7. The ability to drop files to another computer is absolutely flawless, and it should work as well on iOS. AirDrop works by scanning for people nearby, and then the user simply choosing whatever file they would like to send to the other person. The second person then confirms that they would like to receive the file. The file is then added to whatever application uses that file (photos going into Photos for example). It lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button.
Multitasking has always been something that Apple seemed to never want to fully unlock for the general consumers. With iOS 3, whenever you would close an app, it would completely shut the app down, no going back to pick up progress from where you left off. With iOS 4, Apple allowed that Music, Phone calls and most Voice over IP (Skype for example) would be able to run in the background. It was initially very limited as Apple believed that the more apps running in the background would cause iPhones to die quicker. With iOS 7, every app has built in multitasking, as well as intelligently schedules updates for applications. iOS 7 will check to see if the phone is on WiFi, and will decide if it is the right time to update all of the applications. Another feature Apple is claiming is that if you are prone to check Facebook at 12pm everyday, it will begin to track when you use your phone for certain applications, and update the application before you open it. It will be interesting to see how well this works.
Camera and Photos
Camera and Photos have been updated for the new UI, as well as adding some new features. Camera now has 4 shooting modes, one is normal, one is for videos, another is for cropped photos and the final mode is for panoramas. Also built into the application is filters, which give Instagram junkies even more options to colorize their photos. Photos is now introducing Collections, Moments, and Years. This allows the smart groupings of your photos and videos based on time and place.
Notification Center has been updated to include three tabs. The Today tab will showcase any information about today, if its someones birthday, what the weather is outside, traffic will slow down your commute to work, or any appointments. The All tab will showcase all notifications for all applications, and the Missed tab will show any missed phone calls, emails or text messages. I do like what has been changed for the notification center as I find that my tray can be quite messy sometimes with random applications sending me push notifications. Another long awaited feature is Notification Sync, keeping all devices with iOS 7 on the same iCloud account up to date, so if you received a message on both your iPhone and iPad, once you respond to it on your phone, you won’t have a notification on your tablet.
Siri has been completely overhauled for iOS 7. No longer do users have to deal with a robotic female voice, as there are brand new female and male voices. Siri also checks more sources now, as it has the ability to look up information from Bing, Wikipedia and Twitter. Siri also has the ability to do more tasks, such as returning phone calls, playing a certain voicemail, controlling iTunes Radio or returning a text message.
The above are some of the major changes that have come to iOS 7, and includes a whole lot more (including updates to Safari, the App Store, Weather, Mail and Messages). The iOS 7 beta is out today if you happen to have an Apple Developer account (or know someone with one) and will be available to the general public this fall. iOS 7 will be available on iPhones 4, 4S and 5, as well as the iPad 2, 3 and 4 (iPad with Lightning Port). Stay tuned for more information about iOS 7 as it becomes available.