[By Sudarshana Banerjee]
Apple unveiled the iOS 7 at the WWDC currently going on in San Francisco, CA. “IOS 7 is the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. Updates include a male Siri (yes, we had to mention that first), iTunes Radio, multi-tasking, a Control Center, and new photo/camera apps. Speaking of which, the app store now has over 900,000 apps, says Apple, and the company just added a Kids section to the store.
The update, and a redesigned iOS, was expected. Ever since Jony Ive was put in charge of Human Interface (HI) in October last year, users have been expecting newer rabbits out of better colored hats. And not hats that looked like actual hats either. Skeuomorphism is out.
Jony Ive (Senior vice president of Design, Apple): There is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation—it’s about bringing order to complexity.
IOS 7 has been redesigned with a new color palette and distinct, functional layers. The typography has been refined, and users will see a lot of translucency and motion. The new iOS 7 interface will make your phone appear bigger, because everything is designed to take advantage of the entire screen, says Apple.
There are also ‘hundreds of great new features; according to the company, including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Safari, Siri, and iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on the music users listen to on iTunes, which is available from the Music app now.
Here are seven iOS7 features you want to know about:
- Control Center: The controls you want to access quickly are all in one place. Users can swipe from the bottom of their phone screens, to access controls for Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Do Not Disturb. The ability to adjust screen brightness, pause/play a song or jump to the next track, and stream your music with AirPlay are also in the same place. Control Center also gives you instant access to apps such as Clock, Camera, Calculator and the Flashlight.
- Notification Center: The Notification Center is now accessible from the Lock screen. A new Today feature in Notification Center gives you an at-a-glance view of your day, with a summary of details such as weather, traffic, meetings and events.
- Multitasking and switching between apps: Developers have the ability to enable any app to multitask in the background with a new API. Users have the ability to switch between their apps, and iOS 7 pays attention to which apps you use most and automatically keeps your content up to date in the background.
- AirDrop: Mac users know this one. AirDrop lets you share content with people nearby. AirDrop transfers are peer-to-peer so you can use it anywhere, without any network or set up required, and transfers are fully encrypted.
- Camera and Photo:The new Camera app features filters so you can add real-time photo effects. It also includes a square camera option, and you can switch between your four cameras—video, photo, square and panorama. IOS 7 also includes a redesigned Photos app, that introduces Moments, a way to automatically organize photos/videos based on time and location. IOS 7 includes iCloud Photo Sharing, and an Activity view that displays updates from your shared streams all in one place.
- Safari: The Safari user-interface has been redesigned. The browser now lets you see more content—starting with full-screen browsing. A smart search field helps simplify searching, and there’s a new view for bookmarks and Safari tabs. With iCloud Keychain your passwords and credit card information are stored and available on all your devices, and Safari can autofill password protected sites/transactions. Parental Controls in Safari have also got a boost, allowing users to automatically block access to adult websites or only allow access to a specific set of permitted websites.
- Siri: Apple has added a new male voice, to its voice-activated personal assistant service. Siri now includes Twitter search integration, so you can ask Siri what people are saying on Twitter, as well as Wikipedia integration. Siri offers Bing web search within the app and the ability to change device settings and play back voicemail.
Additional iOS 7 features
- A new Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature, that requires your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased.
- Night Mode in Maps that responds to ambient light when you use it in the dark.
- FaceTime audio for calls over a data network
- Notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device it is dismissed on all of your devices
- Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking to prevent specific people from being able to contact you
- Tencent Weibo support for users in China, a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary, and improved Chinese input including handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters
- The ability for businesses to more efficiently deploy and manage iPhones and iPads
- Enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.
The IOS 7 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS developer program members at developer.apple.com.
IOS 7 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation) this fall.
[Image courtesy: Apple]