Apple promised us iOS 7 would be on show at WWDC this week, and it made good on that pledge today, with CEO Tim Cook revealing the latest version of its iPhone software on stage at its opening keynote – it’s the biggest change to iOS, ever. Read on for the details.
You can’t miss it: the big news in iOS 7 is the all-new look. After six very samey visual iterations, iOS 7 sports a slick new lick of paint. Everything looks brand new, including a new slide-to-unlock, flat and redesigned icons, a new slide-up control panel, brand new fonts across the board and a whole different palette of colours. There’s a heavy use of translucency across the OS, and each icon has been redesigned from the ground up – it all looks very, very pretty.
The whole home screen interface responds to the phone’s movements with a sliding parallax background. As you move the device in your hand, it tracks your motion.
All the core apps have been redesigned too: gone is the wood and green felt from apps like Game Center, and that carries across the whole system from clocks to fonts and even the calculator. Mail has been given a facelift and includes a new gesture where you can swipe messages straight to the trash.
But it’s functional too – the Notification Center is now available on the lockscreen too, and there’s a handy new accompanying feature, Control Center, which packs easy to access toggles for your most used settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and orientation lock.
Multitasking too has been given a shake-up too, as iOS 7 lets you multitask with all your apps without a drop in your battery life, and your phone quietly makes use of your uptime to intelligently update apps in the background.
Apple is also taking on Instagram with its update to the camera app. There’s a couple of new options stacked next to the video and photo modes, including square and panoramic, the former which takes Instagram-style square photos while the latter lets you stitch together photos right on the fly. You can also organise your images by Moments, sorted by location, month or year.
Siri meanwhile gets a new look, and a few IQ points too: the internet assistant has been given an all-new facelift. You can tweak your settings across the phone right with Siri, as well as search Twitter and Wikipedia.
Lastly, there’s iTunes Radio, baked right into iOS 7, iTunes on PC and Mac, and Apple TV. Apple is touting the service as a whole new way to discover music, and it’s built right into the music app on your phone. Just like Pandora, it sports a bunch of featured stations, including what’s trending on Twitter, and once you’ve found a station you like, you can also share it with a friend or even start a new one based on that song – or even buy it, if you like. The service is ad-supported, but if you’re an iTunes Match subscriber, it’s completely free. It’s US only to start with, but heading elsewhere in the near future.
Want a taste of it? It’s available as a developer beta for iPhone today, with support for iPad on the way – it’ll work on every iPhone from the fourth generation on, and should be out later this year.