Today, Apple announced iOS 7, combining the expected major changes to the interface with lots of under-the-hood tweaks and options. Here are all the new features.
New User Interface
The biggest difference with iOS 7 is a brand new interface. From the lock screen to each of the apps, the entire system is overhauled. Apple has moved away from the much-ridiculed skeuomorphic design (think leather binders) in favour of a simpler look. Calendar, messages, weather, mail, the Notification Center, and most other major native apps have been overhauled with the new look.
Control Center adds a quick-toggles bar to iOS so you can change brightness, add a flashlight, do not disturb, or turn on airplane mode. This has been a much-requested feature (and one which iOS’ rivals generally already offer).
Multitasking now works for all apps. iOS tracks your app usage and decides when and how to give an app background cycles. So, if you’re opening something like Facebook all the time, then Facebook is updated more often. Push notifications also trigger a background state in apps so that when you open the app it will be updated. Switching between apps is also done with a new gesture and a swipe that shows the full app instead of just an icon.
Safari gets a new full-screen mode, as well as a new quick search feature. With a tap at the top of the screen you get instant access to a search field that looks both online and in page. The iCloud Keychain feature announced for the Mavericks Mac update which stores passwords is also added into Safari. Tabs also get a new look with vertical scrolling, and the eight-tab limit is removed.
AirDrop allows you to instantly share any file in an app that supports it. This can be done with any other iPhone user near you, or over messages, mail, or social networks. It’s peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, and works on the most recent Apple devices.
Camera And Photos
The camera has been overhauled to include video, a new square camera, panorama, and a widescreen camera. It also has new photo filters (Instagram has had a lasting impact on the photo market here). The Photos app is also redone, and automatically organises your photos into “Moments” based on where and when they were taken. Sharing has been expanded to include Mail, AirDrop, iCloud, Twitter, and Facebook. The iCloud photo sharing gets a new shared photos setting where you can create shared photo streams with friends where anyone can upload pictures and comment on pictures.
Siri now has both male and female voices in several languages. Siri also gets a little smarter and can now recognise commands such as “increase brightness,” or “play last voicemail.” Wikipedia, Bing and Twitter are also integrated right into Siri.
iOS In The Car
iOS 7 adds support for various car models and their in-car displays. In supported devices, iOS will be able to display Maps and messages.
The App Store
The App Store now has a few new discovery methods. You can search for apps based on age range, or by apps that popular based on your location. The App Store also now updates your apps automatically.
The Music app scores a visual overhaul. All your music from iCloud and your local library are integrated in one library. A new sideways interface is also added to flip through your albums.
New to the Find My iPhone function is the ability to lock our thieves from your iOS device. If your phone is stolen you can set it so it can’t be activated again without your iTunes password.
The iOS 7 beta is available to developers today, and will be launching later this year for the iPhone 4 and above, iPad mini, and iPad 2 and above. It will be a free update.