What’s New in iOS 7?

featured ios 7   Whats New in iOS 7?A new generation of iOS is nearly upon us, revealed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this week. Guided strongly by (Sir) Jony Ive, iOS 7 marks a clear departure from the skeumorphic UI elements of the past decade as 3D shadows and leather stitching have been replaced with clean lines and flat layers.

In terms of features, there’s certainly nothing groundbreaking – but more than enough to bring iOS inline with the competition.  Like any major UI changes, it’s been met with an unhealthy dose of controversy.

Read on for a sneak preview of what’s new in iOS 7, arriving in the autumn.

Look & Feel

Many have been quick to highlight similarities to the current generation of Android or Windows phones. I must admit when I first saw the new lock screen, I did a little double-take thinking they were showing a Samsung device with the widgets removed.

similarities   Whats New in iOS 7?

Design similarities end there though – widgets and live tiles remain trademark features of the other platforms. Apple is finally catching up on the current design trend of stark simplicity, playful colors and utilitarian interfaces; coupled with those little touches that makes us adore Apple products.

Two other strong design elements bear mentioning here: layers, and translucency. The picture you choose as your background will “bleed” through to parts of the interface. The background also gains it’s own parallax effect to give a sense of depth, so moving your phone around will tilt and pan around. Turn down your sound and watch this quick demo:

Note: Reports indicate the parallax effect and translucency won’t work on the iPhone 4.

The simple design extends to system apps, perhaps the biggest UI change being in the calendar (“look, it still holds together even without the stitching”). It’s unknown how this will affect existing applications, inconsistent UIs have plagued Android apps thanks to dramatic design changes every generation.

calendar   Whats New in iOS 7?

App Launcher & Lockscreen

The “wall of icons” remains unchanged, but the icons have been flattened, fake reflective overlay removed, and a different system font is introduced.

apps comaprison   Whats New in iOS 7?

Another change that will make many users smile is the news that app folders can now have multiple screens. Notification center can also now be accessed from the lock screen, with a Google Now type overview of upcoming events and weather.

lockscreen1   Whats New in iOS 7?

Safari

No longer limited to 8 pages, with a fresh new tab switching UI and unified search field. Other features are brought across from the new version of OS X, such as iCloud-based password management and social integration for easy access to links that have been shared with you.

safari   Whats New in iOS 7?

Left and right swipe gestures are also added for navigating; these gestures are replicated throughout system apps (basically replacing back button in the top left for many iOS 6 apps).

Control Center & AirDrop

A new bottom drawer offers quick access controls for music, brightness, camera, a calculator and flashlight, among other things including the new AirDrop functionality which has existed in Apple’s OS X for a long time now.

control center   Whats New in iOS 7?

All AirDrop really offers is the ability to send files over Bluetooth. AirDrop can be set to work only with contacts nearby, or everyone in your immediate vicinity in case they’re not on your list.

Photos & Camera

Perhaps one of the biggest features for consumers who tend to fill their phone with hundreds of snapshots. The standard grid of photos is getting a smart organisation features that groups things into individual events (excuse me – “moments”) and locations at the macro level, intelligently grouping those further when you pinch to zoom out, and finally showing you every photo in the year.

photos   Whats New in iOS 7?

The camera also gets a minor update, adding Instagram-like effects, the ability to swipe left and right to change modes and a new “square” photo setting.

camera   Whats New in iOS 7?

Multitasking

While icons at the bottom of the screen in the traditional app-switcher tray are still clear and present, apps now have preview screens similar to Android that you can flick upward to close, a welcome change from the “tap and hold” gesture used to kill a background process or unresponsive app.

multitasking   Whats New in iOS 7?

Previously, apps would need to subscribe to push events or would be essentially paused when not in focus (except for apps that involved music streaming). Now, a background task agent will try to intelligently schedule updates when you need them: if you regularly check your RSS feeds at 7am, they’ll be updated before you bring the app to focus, so you don’t need to sit and wait while it syncs.

Similarly, notifications can now tell apps to load the details related to each notification (say a new Twitter mention or Facebook tag) in the background, rather than after tapping the banner.

iTunes Radio

Finally, the rumoured iTunes Radio takes to the stage for a US-only debut. The service will be supported with advertising unless users pay for iTunes Match. The service is Apple’s own streaming radio, anyone familiar with Spotify should understand the concept. Listen to specific genres, mark favourites then find songs you should also like – it’s nothing groundbreaking, but you’ll now have deep integration with other Apple services, and Siri.

iradio   Whats New in iOS 7?

Find My iPhone and Activation Locks

Perhaps one of the most underestimated new features are upgrades to the already quite fantastic Find My iPhone service. Currently, using the “erase data” option is a final resort – your phone becomes untraceable after, so it’s only useful to protect sensitive data. In iOS7, you will be able to continue displaying a message like “this phone has been lost, call 000″, though it’s not yet clear if GPS tracking will continue to function. In addition, you can add an activation lock, tied to your iCloud account – so that even if the thief removes the SIM card and formats everything, your iPhone will still require authenticating to activate, essentially rendering the phone useless for the thief.

Pictures alone don’t do this update justice – for mini videos of the new iOS features, visit this Apple page.

Apple has been very careful about this update to not alienate the huge existing user base. Let’s be honest – it is, mostly, a design update – with features to put the ageing iOS inline with other mobile OSes. As someone who primarily uses iOS, I’m thankful for that, even if it isn’t breaking new ground for the industry as a whole.

What do you think about everything new in iOS 7? It’s hard to be anything but pleased as iOS user, but perhaps you’re looking at it from the eyes of an Android or Windows Phone user. Was there something that might finally make you switch, or are you just resolutely against anything Apple makes? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments, but try to stay objective!

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23 Comments -

Eric S

I think this is a great step forward. You can only keep the same design for so long! Lets just see what battery life is going to be like! I wish they would let you expand storage on the device though.

Max

Get an android, dude!

It has the new design apple copied, except better. Plus, expandable storage!

Chinmay Sarupria

iPhone comes with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions. How much more storage you want on a mobile device?

friendinme

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Apple has become a company that follows instead of leads. This upgrade isn’t innovative, it is imitative.

Chinmay Sarupria

So basically you want to tell that Apple copied. Now can you please tell what exactly Apple copied?

Matt Miller

All the bright colours make it looks like a childs toy.

Chinmay Sarupria

So the OS which you like should be Black and White!

Zenghao Wang

Why all the hate on ios7? I think apple did a great job copying android

dragonmouth

A rip-off is a rip-off, no matter from whom. And the color theme is designed for pre-pubescent Hannah Montana or Smiley Virus fans. It’s so icky-sweet I’m afraid to pick it up because it might make my hands sticky.

Chinmay Sarupria

You are right Rhett, people say that iOS 7 is copy of Android but they can’t even tell a single thing which is copy of Android. Now because iOS 7 is using more colors, Android fans are in deep worry as before also Android was behind iOS and now with the evolution of this great OS their beloved Android will be far far away.

Chinmay Sarupria

What did Apple copied?

Gagan

Apple copied many things from android like- pull down notifications bar,widgets,multitasking window,lock screen widget & also the “i” in iphone is stolen from xerox etc.

muotechguy

The “i” is stolen from Xerox? What on earth does that mean?

Chinmay Sarupria

Go to google and search for multitasking window of iOS 7. It’s multitasking window is completely different. Secondly, there are no widgets and lock screen is also completely new.

null

With the demise of Steve jobs, sad to say that the Apple is no more an innovative company.

Max

I’m not sure if there’s that much correlation, but apple certainly has taken a lamer turn on everything.

WHERE’S OUR iWATCH!?!? we didn’t need iOS7 that badly!! :D

macwitty

When it comes to design I think it is the ugliest thing I have seen from Apple. With a dev around I have been looking at it a couple of times. The icons are a mix of flat, 3D, gradiens from dark to light/light to dark, with or without shadow and so on. What a contrast from the video they started with.
Yes, there are some good functions but the design blocks my eyes to see it

Chinmay Sarupria

That is called innovative design! Never ever seen! Great OS from Apple.

wiigreen

well ios 7 looks promising but i think that something is still missing from ios….

Junil Maharjan

as i said in my other comments, this looks like an android mobile except the icons look ugly.

Chinmay Sarupria

Android doesn’t looks great like iOS 7.

Mauricio Aviles

great retro vibe and feel with the synchronicity of apple’s innovative design and functionality