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Apple iOS 7: here's what's new

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday June 10, 2013.

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Apple iOS 7 screenshot
Apple iOS 7 screenshot

Apple iOS 7 is now official, and it's cleaner and more stylish than ever before. As expected, Apple has taken flatness to be a guiding principle by removing much of the layers and skeumorphic elements of the past. The new software is the "biggest change to iOS since the introduction to iPhone," said CEO Tim Cook. It even includes the key features that I asked for last week. A full release of iOS 7 will arrive this fall for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad Mini, and iPod touch 5th gen. Here's what's new in iOS 7.

Design has changed dramatically. layers are mainly gone as flatness takes over. Backgrounds are white and menus are mostly flat. Text is thinner and taller. You can also notice that in the Messages app, colorful bubbles have been replaced with alternating white and blue photos. The dock has a semi-transparent background as well.

Motion tracking is now part of the home screen. As users tilt the phone, the system follows by having the background and icons tilt slightly. It's a very subtle but noticeable change that gives the phone a 3D-like sense of depth.

Notification center is viewable from the lock screen, so you can jump directly into it without having to unlock. Notifications have been updated to show upcoming events and filters for missed alerts. There's also cross-platform synchronization; if someone dismisses a notification on his or her iPad, the iPhone will know to dismiss the notification as well.

Find My iPhone is now more secure because of Activation Lock. If a thief disables Find My iPhone or wipes the device clean, the crook will be unable to use the device because iCloud activation is required to use the phone again.

Control Center provides fast access to he settings that you want to change. That includes getting to a flashlight, turning on/off Wi-Fi, toggling GPS, adjusting brightness, controlling music playback, and more. Control Center is available from anywhere in iOS 7.

Apple iOS 7 screenshot
Apple iOS 7 screenshot

Multitasking for all apps is coming soon. Previous versions of iOS only allowed certain apps, like Pandora background streaming, to work in the background. iOS 7 allows users to have intelligent scheduling to synchronize, adapts to conditions so it has less activity in poor courage areas, and has push triggers that allow apps to work in the background when a notification comes in. For example, the phone will schedule activities when connected to Wi-fi so it uses less battery.

Double-tapping the home button now shows a new multitasking button that shows a Cards-like feature from webOS/Android that users can swipe through horizontally.

Safari adds parental controls, favorites, and a new design for switching between tabs. The overall design also follows the iOS 7 lead by having flat icons rather than beveled design of past implementations. It has swiping back or forward through browser history; unified search field to search multiple websites, including suggestions for the best results; iCloud keychain, which stores accounts and passwords; and the ability to see open windows from other devices.

AirDrop now supports sharing of media files with multiple people wirelessly using encrypted peer-to-peer Wi-Fi. Users can select who receives the files, but it requires an iPhone 5, iPad Mini, or fourth-generation iPad.

The Camera app now supports changing through different video modes using gestures. Swipe one way to get to video, swipe the other to get to panorama. It also adds nine live photo filters, and those filters are available in gallery images as well. Speaking of the gallery, Apple upgraded the Photos app to organize photos according to Moments, which is basically like Events/Locations on Android. The gallery recognizes when photos were taken on a given date or at a given location, so those photos are grouped together into collections.

Apple Maps will support desktop to mobile linking. Apple revealed that is bringing Maps to Mac OS X, so users will be able to search for directions online and instantly send instructions to appear on their iPhone.

Apple iOS 7 screenshot
Apple iOS 7 screenshot

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About the author

Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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