Apple Unveils iOS 7 – Major Upgrade Coming In The Fall

In the WWDC keynote on Monday Apple unveiled iOS 7, which it says is the most significant update of the company’s mobile OS since the original iPhone, featuring an overhauled user interface. iOS 7’s UI has been completely redesigned with as Apple describes it “subtle motion, an elegant color palette and distinct, functional layers that make it feel more alive.” The typography has been refined for a cleaner, simpler look, and use of translucency and motion. Apple says iOS 7 has hundreds of new features, including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Safari, Siri, and it introduces iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on the music you listen to on iTunes.

“iOS 7 is the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone,” says Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi,. “To create it, we brought together a team with a broad range of expertise from design to engineering. With what we’ve been able to achieve together, we see iOS 7 as an exciting new beginning. ”

“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,” comments Apple’s senior vice president of Design Jony Ive in a release, “iOS 7 is a clear representation of these goals. It has a whole new structure that is coherent and applied across the entire system.”

iOS 7 is completely redesigned with an entirely new user interface, but Apple assures us that it will be instantly familiar to the hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users around the world. They claim that the new interface actually makes your device’s display appear bigger because everything is designed to take advantage of the entire screen. The redesigned fonts are optomized for Retina displays, creating even sharper text.

iOS 7 introduces Control Center, grouping the controls you want to access quickly in one convenient location. With a single swipe from the bottom of your screen, you’ll have access to controls for Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Do Not Disturb, and the ability to adjust screen brightness, pause or play a song, jump to the next track and stream your music with AirPlay. Control Center also gives you instant access to apps such as Clock, Camera, Calculator and the Flashlight.

iOS 7’s Notification Center is now available from the Lock screen so you can see all your notifications with a simple swipe, and the new Today feature in Notification Center gives you an at-a-glance view of your day with a summary of the important details such as weather, traffic, meetings and events.

Apple says Multitasking is improved in iOS 7, with developers gaining the ability to enable any app to multitask in the background with a new API. The app switcher has been tweaked to make it more visual and intuitive, and, and iOS 7 pays attention to which apps you use most, automatically keeping your content up to date in the background. However, In my estimation that still falls well short of real, professional grade multitasking, and a major disappointment is that evidently you still can’t display two open documents or application windows simultaneously side by side as you can with Android and of course with Windows 8.

iOS 7’s AirDrop is a new way to quickly and easily share content with people nearby. When you want to share something, AirDrop shows you your contacts close by. Select who you want to share with and AirDrop does the rest. AirDrop transfers are peer-to-peer so you can use it anywhere, without any network or set up required, and transfers are fully encrypted so your content is protected and private.

iPhones are now used to take more photos around the world every day than any other camera — pretty amazing. Wth iOS 7, the new Camera app features filters so you can add real-time photo effects, and also now includes a square camera option, with easy switching between four camera modes: video, photo, square and panorama with just a swipe.

iOS 7 includes a redesigned Photos app that introduces Moments, a new way to automatically organize your photos and videos based on time and location. You can zoom out to see all your photos organized by Moments, Collections of Moments and Years. iOS 7 includes iCloud Photo Sharing, with which family and friends can contribute their own photos and videos to your shared photo streams, and the new Activity view displays updates from your shared streams all in one place.

The iOS 7 variant of Apple’s Safari Web browser has a redesigned user interface lets you see more of your content starting with full-screen browsing. Hopefully that will be optional, as you editor detests full-screen mode. Safari’s new smart search field is claimed to help simplify searching, and there’s a new view for your bookmarks and your Safari tabs. With iCloud Keychain, your passwords and credit card information are securely stored and available on all your devices, so navigating password protected sites or autofilling during transactions is simple and secure. Enhanced Parental Controls allow you to automatically block access to adult websites or only allow access to a specific set of permitted websites.

Siri has been upgraded with new male and female voices and includes Twitter search integration, so you can ask Siri what people are saying on Twitter. Siri also now has Wikipedia integration, providing access to the popular Internet reference site. Siri offers Bing web search within the app and the ability to change device settings and play back voicemail.

The Music app has a new interface design and includes the new iTunes Radio, Apple’s free Internet radio service featuring over 200 stations and a diverse catalog of music from the iTunes Store, combined with iTunes features. When you tune into iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC or Apple TV, you’ll have access to stations inspired by the music you already listen to, Featured Stations curated by Apple and genre-focused stations that are personalized for individual users. iTunes Radio evolves based on the music you play and download. The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalized your experience becomes. iTunes Radio also gives you access to exclusive first listen premieres from top selling artists, Siri integration plus the ability to buy anything you hear with just one tap.

Additional new iOS 7 features include:
• 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 high quality 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; and enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.

iOS 7 looks to be a substantial upgrade for casual consumer users, which is nice if one fits in that demographic, but disappointingly includes little to make it a significantly better tool for content creators and other power users – especially those of us who are trying to use iPads for production work. Aside from no multiple window display support, there’s stil no user access to file directories, documents are still tethered to specific apps, still no real USB port or driver for Bluetooth mouse support. Consequently, iOS 7 still doesn’t qualify the iPad as a real Pro-level workhorse platform in the way that Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet PC, other Windows 8 tablets, and even the more accomplished Android tablets are. Not being an iCloud fan, I wish Apple would include Dropbox integration in the iOS, since Dropbox is the Cloud of choice for serious users. I guess we’ll have to set our hopes on iOS 8.

The iOS 7 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at 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)sometime this fall. Some features may not be available on all products.

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