As anticipated, Apple recently released the details of iOS 7, its new mobile operating system for devices like the iPhone and iPad. There was a lot of press preceding their announcement at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2013), and there's been even more since. Since iOS 7 will directly affect the mobile app development world, we thought we'd take a look at what's under its electronic hood.
First, a word about design, especially since Apple's overall mobile look has gone essentially unchanged since 2007. Thanks chiefly to Apple's Senior VP of Industrial Design Sir Jonathan “Jony” Ive, gone are the ultra-realistic element textures and backgrounds—known as skeuomorphic design—and in its place will be a simplified and almost monochromatic style. The entire operating system has been reworked with this new look, and Apple promises as a result iOS 7 will be more intuitive and easier to use than ever before.
Along with its new design, iOS 7 will also have new and enhanced features. These include the following:
Control Center. This feature allows users to access basic tools from any screen with just a quick upward swipe. Brightness, airplane mode, flashlight, camera and music access controls will be available in the control center. One interesting note here for app developers is that this feature will all but eliminate the need for third-party flashlight applications.
Notifications. Like the control center, this feature will be available from any screen, and will give you a quick overview of text messages, emails and calls. Included in this is the “Today” feature which will give you an at-a-glance preview of what's coming up in your day.
Browsing. Up to now, Apple has kept the search and URL fields separate, but that will change with iOS 7, where they'll be bundled together. Navigation in the Safari browser will allow for left and right swiping that'll take you forward and backward between pages, and navigation bars will disappear until they are actually needed.
iTunes Radio. Created to compete with music-streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify and Google Music, iTunes Radio will feature stations based on different music genres, and you'll have the option to customize stations to your tastes. Critics are calling Apple a little late to the party in this category, but better late than never.
Air Drop. This is a new file-sharing service that creates an ad hoc network that lists other iOS 7 users in your immediate vicinity. From that list, you simply select the user with whom you'd like to share a file, and a tap sends it to them—where they have the option to accept or decline.
Camera. The iOS 7 design will allow users to switch quickly between cameras and functions—such as still camera, video, pan, and the new square format—and Instagram-like filters will be available to add visual effects to the photos you take. The “Collections, Moments and Years” photo-grouping feature will allow users to sort their images by location and date taken. iCloud will also facilitate instant photo and video sharing between iOS 7 users.
Siri. Apple's virtual assistant will be able to draw information from more sources than before, with Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing being added to the mix. The change that's getting the most attention regarding Siri, though, is that users will be able to choose between a male or female voice. So much for referring to Siri exclusively as “she” or “her.”
Theft Prevention. If your iPhone is ever stolen, this feature assures it will remain yours no matter what happens to it. Turning off the “Find My iPhone” function or erasing the phone will now require your Apple ID and password, and even it if does get erased, your unique information will also be needed to reactivate it.
We'd like to note that the information in this article came from several sources, including Apple's presentation pages for both iOS 7's new design and its features. We've also drawn from iOS 7 informational articles and reviews from CNet, Engadget, and Tech Crunch.
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