In launching iOS 7 on Monday, Apple displayed the flatter and cleaner user inteface that so many expected while also introducing a range of new features that include a new Control Center, multitasking between all apps, and a new voice for Siri, to name a few.
“iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone. It’s packed with amazing new features and an amazing new interface,” contended Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a keynote speech at Apple’s WWDC developers conference.
Before delving into the details of iOS 7, Cook took the competing Android OS to task, pointing out that many Android devices are still running old releases of the OS.
As shown in the demos at WWDC, the UI in iOS 7 will respond to gyroscopic movements, so that as you turn the phone, the angle and lighting of the UI will change.
The keyboard in iOS 7 will be white, and most of the apps will have a white base. The keyboard and lock screen will both be translucent, letting users see through to background images.
The lock screen will also feature a new Control Center, which acts as a pull-up tray for changing settings such as volume, brightness, Wi-Fi and Blueooth. The Control Center will also allow quick access to apps like music, and camera through a tabbed interface. The Control Center will be translucent, too.
App icons will now be flatter, as will the notifications panel. The notifications panel will also feature a new “today” view, showing a calendar, birthdays, stock quotes, and other information pertinent to today, with a peek at tomorrow.
Although Apple first introduced multitasking back in iOS 4, iOS 7 will be the first release to allow for multitasking between all third-party apps, Cook said.
The App Store will now automatically update apps in the background.
In another new feature, AirDrop, you’ll be able to share sharesheets with other users just by tapping their names.
iOS 7 will also offer a new music app for iTunes called iRadio, along with an app known as “iOS in the Car” for letting you view the iOS homescreen on the screen of your car, access navigational help, and tune in to music. The Weather and Calendar apps offer a new look and feel as well.
Big changes are in store for Siri, Safari, and the photo app. With Siri, users can now choose between male and female voices. You can now also use Siri to get search results from Bing, and to change settings like brightness and Wi-Fi.
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.
With the photo app, you can now share photos through AirDrop, iCloud, and shared photo streams. Video can also be shared through iCloud photo sharing. In addition, you can now search for photos based on date and location.
Meanwhile, Apple has updated the Camera app for easy swiping between different camera types, such as HDR and panorama.
iOS 7 is being released to developers immediately, with an iPad flavor to follow in another couple of weeks. Apple plans to release the new OS to the general public this fall.