Apple CEO took to the stage this afternoon to unveil iOS 7, a significant redesign of this mobile operating system. A host of new features will be included as well.
Jony Ives had been expected to give the iPhone and iPad a new look, and he is certainly carrying through. iOS 7 will have a simpler, cleaner look, with much less color. The system font is being changed to one that much slimmer.
On the other hand, few should have complaints about the new Control Center. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen will bring up a window with frequently-used controls: settings like Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode, and brightness, as well as a set of media controls.
iOS 7 will sport a new system for switching between running apps. Double tapping on the Home Button will bring up a screen with tiles and icons for each app. Flicking the tile upward will close the app. This system is quite similar to the one that was included in the now-defunct Palm webOS.
The iOS version of the Safari web browser is going to offer an improved full-screen mode, and a unified search and URL box. Tabs will be vertically stacked instead of horizontally.
Users of recent iOS tablets and smartphones will get AirDrop, which will allow them to wirelessly exchange photos and other files with nearby friends. This was designed to take the place of the NFC systems that are in some rival Android smartphones.
Siri is getting a couple of new voices, both male and female, with a more natural speech pattern. It will also be able to perform additional actions, like changing the brightness level, returning phone calls, playing voicemail, and more.
A feature called Today is being added to the Notification Center. This will be a synopsis of what’s coming up in the user’s day, such as calendar events and weather.
The Camera app will make it wasier to switch between video and images, panorama or square pictures. The Photos app will be abe to automatically group images togehter by time or location.
Apple also announced iTunes Radio, a much-rumored streaming music service. Users will be able to choose from pre-programmed stations or the app will learn their preferences. There will be an ad-supported version or users of iTunes Match will get it for free.
Not Coming Soon
Apple unveiled iOS 7 today at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) so software coders could get to work making their apps compatible with new features, not because it’s release is right around the corner.
The next version of this operating system isn’t scheduled to be introduced to the public until this fall. Nothing more specific was revealed.
When it’s released, iOS 7 will support every Apple tablet from the iPad 2 on up, including the iPad mini. It will also be available for the iPhone 4 and up.