Along with unveiling the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, Apple on Tuesday announced September 18 as the release date for iOS 7, a new mobile operating system which sports a flatter and cleaner user interface (UI), a new Control Center, multitasking between all apps, AirDrop, new voices for Siri, and literally hundreds of other new features.
"Soon, we're going to witness an event really unprecedented in our industry, when virtually overnight hundreds of millions of people download iOS 7," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior VP of software engineering, during a press event on Tuesday at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA.
The free iOS 7 download will also incorporate several free apps from Apple, including iPhoto, iMovie, and the three apps in the iWorks office productivity suite, according to Federighi. The new OS will run on the iPhone 4 and later, the iPad 2 and later, the iPad Mini, and the fifth generation iPod touch,
"Of course, iOS 7 is more than I can show you here. It has over 200 new features," he said.
The Apple exec did show a few of those features on Tuesday. Through a new AirDrop feature, for example, users can share photos, videos and other files with each other simply by tapping each other's names on the display. AirDrop uses Bluetooth to set up a wireless connection between devices.
With the new photo app, you can share photos through AirDrop, iCloud, and shared photo streams.
Siri Answers a Lady Gaga Question
Federighi also pointed out that Siri will now offer a choice of male and female voices. When he asked Siri "What's Lady Gaga saying?" Siri pulled up Lady Gaga's most recent tweets,
"We've also made search more convenient than ever before. With iOS 7, you can pull down from anywhere and type what you're looking for and find it, just like that," he contended.
Yet Apple gave a much more detailed look at iOS 7 at WWDC. Developers saw how iOS 7 responds to gyroscopic movements, so that as you turn the phone, the angle and lighting of the OS will change.
They also caught a first gander at the translucent keyboard and screen, which allows users to see through to the background images.
The lockscreen also features a new Control Center for managing AirPlay, AirDrop, WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, display brightness, music, and other settings.
Windows Phone-Like Multitasking
The UI for the multitasking feature is reminiscent of Windows Phone multitasking. Up to now, users have managed mutitasking by double-tapping the Home button so that apps appear as icons on the buttom of the screen. In iOS 7, the apps appear as cards on the screen.
While Apple initially introduced multitasking in iOS 4, iOS 7 is the first release of Apple's mobile OS to allow for multitasking between all third-party apps.
The new OS also comes with a new music app called iTunes Radio, along with an overhauled Safari browser. The Radio app includes a built-in music discovery service which makes suggestions based on the bands and tunes you like.
Updates to Safari include an unlimited tab interface, parental controls, integration with a new iCloud "keychain" feature for password storage, and a "unified search field" for getting search results from multiple Web sites simultaneously.
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