iOS 7: Everything You Need To Know
Today at its annual WWDC conference, along with the radical OS X Mavericks update, Apple (AAPL) introduces iOS 7, the biggest iOS update since the original iPhone in 2007.
Here are some of the key new features of iOS 7 that you should know.
New User Interface
Yes, the rumours were true! With Johnny Ive taking the lead in iOS development, Apple has been completely revamped the entire look and experience of iOS. It’s a radical end-to-end redesign that looks eyegasmically gorgeous! Fonts, icons, borders, and animations are all fresh. The coolest thing in terms of the new design is that the default home screen now has a parallax motion effect, whereby the screen automatically shifts its angle depending on how you hold or tilt your phone – so you can somewhat see beyond the app icons.
All the design elements in iOS 7 are now much flatter – and more relevant to today’s modern technology compared to the aging skeumorphic feel found on the previous iOS versions. Stock apps like Weather, Calendar, Clocks, and Mail look extremely clean and sleek. Weather animation on the Weather app renders really smooth and you can also view multiple animations for different locations.
Since its first announced on iOS 4, the multitasking on iOS devices has never been a full multitasking. Yes the apps are still open on the background, but they’re in idle mode. Why? – to save battery life! Now, with iOS 7, you can experience ‘almost’ a full multitasking on your iOS devices while still preserving the battery life of the device. The new iOS 7 adapts to the way you use your device and give ‘higher priority’ to apps that you open the most. For instance, your iPhone will constantly pull updates from your Facebook and Twitter accounts in the background every 1 – 2 minutes (high priority), while keeping the Google+ update every 60 minutes (lower priority). In addition, it also studies on when you actually open certain apps. So for example, if you leave BBC app open in the background but only check it at 7 – 8am in the morning before you go to work, iOS 7 will learn this pattern and only pull updates / feeds in the background around those hours every day. This way, you’ll stay up-to-date on the things that matter the most to you while at the same time, preserving the battery life of your iPhone.
How many times you found yourself frustrated digging through apps and menus just to turn on/off your wifi, bluetooth, screen brightness, music, or (even) a flashlight. On iOS 7, all those tasks are now just one or two taps away as you will have access through them by simply swiping up from the bottom of your iOS device screen. Just like the notification app, but from the bottom. Now Android fans might have a thing or two to say about this, because yes, they’ve been enjoying similar feature since the dinosaurs era. But Apple is finally catching up, and perhaps executes the feature slightly better.
Airdrops is the easiest way to share any files to people around you. The feature was first introduced on Mac OS X Lion back in 2010 and now available on iOS 7. The feature is basically a secure peer-to-peer file sharing app where you can instantly share your documents, photos, or videos without having to have an internet connection, bluetooth, or join a particular Wi-Fi network. No settings or configuration needed to use this feature – it just works. Above all, there’s no need to wander around the room bumping your phones.
Camera & Photos App
In iOS 7, you can now enjoy multiple image filters (i.e. Just like Instagram) to take creative photos on-the-fly – again something that Android users have already been enjoying for years.
Photos app in iOS 7 also provides natural arrangement of all your photos or videos based on the ‘moments’, the time, or the location of where the photo/video was taken. The coolest thing about it is that if you have been keeping your photos/videos on your iOS devices for more than a year, the app will can provide an overview gallery of all the media on one single page.
Another new feature in the Photos app is a Shared Photo Stream. With iOS 7, you can now upload and share your photos simultaneously to a shared photo stream, in which your friends and families can contribute by uploading photos or videos to the same stream. This is a great way to build a single gallery of all photos and videos of one occasion taken from different iOS devices, and enjoy them in a beautifully designed iOS 7 interface.
Just like the rest of Stock Apps on iOS devices, Siri on iOS 7 gets a gorgeous new interface. It also features a new, more natural, and higher-quality voices in multiple languages. To make its database more sophisticated and relevant to users, Siri is now integrated with Bing, Wikipedia, and you Twitter account. So Siri can now answer and do a lot more… well at least a lot more than what Windows believed it can do.
iOS in Your Car
Many car manufacturers have started to build cars with iOS 7 included. iOS 7 will be built-in your car’s navigation display. So it’s like having a whole separate iOS devices in your car to assist you in finding ways to get to your destination, finding places around you, and executing general mobile phone tasks hands-free and eye-free.
Say goodbye to that annoying numbers in red circles that keeps telling you to update your apps every 3 seconds. In iOS 7, apps will automatically updates themselves in the background. Don’t worry, it will only run updates when there’s a strong network (or just wi-fi) – depends on your setting preferences.
This one is a biggy. iTunes Radio is Apple’s new built-in music streaming service that allows you to stream any songs available on the radio. This new feature basically resembles the service of other big streaming players like Spotify, Pandora, or Rdio. However, the one unique thing about Apple’s iTunes Radio is that it closely integrated with iTunes, iCloud, and even Twitter – so you can easily find, share, and/or buy songs in just a few taps.
iTunes Radio also keep tracks of the songs you have listened, you can view the full history, buy it on iTunes or share it with your friends. iTunes Radio is free, built in on all iOS devices and Mac OS X. The service will start in the US only, and will roll out to other countries in the near future.
Phone, FaceTime, and Message Blocking
With iOS 7, you don’t need to download a 3rd party app to block your stalker from contacting you in the middle of the night. The setting is now built it on every iOS 7 devices.
You might be familiar with ‘Find My Phone’ app on the iPhone. It’s a good app to locate your misplaced phone. But the problem is, if your phone gets stolen, anyone who understands the iPhone can find the app and disabled the GPS tracking. Alternatively, they can simply erase the memory and reset the phone to default and woosh, there goes your iPhone, forever.
In iOS 7, Apple takes phone security to a whole new level with ‘Activation Lock’ feature that’s built right in on every iOS 7 devices. If your phone ever get stolen, the thief now won’t be able to access your phone even if they wiped out the entire phone settings and memory. They will still need your iCloud ID to sign in and actually use the stolen phone. Pretty neat feature huh!
Apple said there are hundreds of other new features on iOS 7 and since it’s now still in Beta mode, we’re likely to see more features coming up before it’s official public release in September, along with the new iPhone 5S or iPhone 6. I will post a video overview of iOS 7 as soon as I get my hands on one! Stay tuned for more!