Apple iOS 7, the next version of Apple's mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad, was unveiled at WWDC 2013 on Monday
Apple iOS 7 was unveiled at WWDC 2013 on Monday, where it was introduced by Apple boss Tim Cook and Sir Jony Ive. He called iOS 7 "the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iPhone, packed with amazing new features and a stunning new UI".
As expected, iOS 7's design is a major departure from iOS 6, with a flatter, cleaner look and a vibrant palette of pastel-tinged colours and translucency effects. "You can actually see behind the icons," said Tim Cook.
Apple iOS 7: The end of skeuomorphism
Apple iOS 7 features far less of the 'optical illusion' quasi-realistic visual design that has been a favourite of iOS in the past: wood panelling, paper, ring-binders on calendars and diaries. Instead Apple iOS 7 has far more flat and abstract interface design features. The typography and icons have all been revamped too. Backgrounds change in a parallax effect when you move the phone: As you do so, things in the background move around ever so slightly behind the frontmost elements. Animations receive an overhaul too.
Talking about the flatter, less skeuomorphic design, Cook joked: "In Game Center... we just completely ran out of green felt. And wood as well. This has got to be good for the environment."
Apple iOS 7: Weather, Calendar, Messages and Mail
Tim Cook demonstrated the updated Weather app in iOS 7, which now features subtle weather-themed animations in the background: lightning striking and so on. It also has more details.
Calendar, too, has a new, cleaner look.
Messages still has its characteristic 'speech bubble' design, but the bubbles are no longer designed to look 3D.
A new feature in the iOS 7 app Mail is the ability to display photos from the very edge to edge of the screen.
Mail in Apple iOS 7 lets you display edge-to-edge photos
Apple iOS 7: Game Center
Apple iOS 7: Multitasking and battery life
Apple iOS 7 - which Apple's Craig Federighi said is "like getting an entirely new phone, but one you know how to use" - sees a number of system-wide changes affecting all apps.
For one thing, there's multitasking for all apps in iOS 7. If you have an app you're using throughout the day, iOS will notice the pattern of use and provide that app with frequent power to work in the background. If it notices you use an app only a couple of times a day, it'll prepare it beforehand.
This is designed to improve battery life, which Apple claim is dramatically improved in iOS 7.
Apple iOS 7: Control Center
Control Center is sort of like Notification Center: You swipe up from the bottom of the device to access it. iOS finally adds a centralized hub with Control Center, You can turn on Airplane Mode, toggle Bluetooth, turn on Do Not Disturb, enable lock rotation, access AirDrop, and quickly access specific apps. You also use Control Center to adjust playing tracks, and more. The feature also works from the lock screen. There’s a flashlight now, too, so if you wake up in the middle of the night and need to find something, you can grab your phone, Federighi said.
Control Center provides a handy way to toggle features on and off at any time; a simple swipe up will let you turn on Airplane Mode, resume the song you were listening to, or pull up your calculator or camera without the hassle of diving into apps. It appears as a transparent layer, so you can still keep an eye on your background activity.
Apple iOS 7: Updates
App updates will work differently in iOS 7. Apple calls this opportunistic updates: on power-up, the iPhone or iPad looks for updates automatically and updates apps in the background. It also seems to be smarter and when to perform updates, choosing to download major updates only when you're on Wi-Fi so you don't use up all your 3G data allowance, but we'll check that out when we get to play around with the new system.
Apple iOS 7: Safari web browser
Like the other elements of iOS 7, the mobile version of Safari has been heavily redesigned. The 'screen furniture' has been pruned back, leaving more space for the web pages you're looking at. Apple claims this new fullscreen look will help you focus on content.
Another feature from Safari on Mac that's made it onto the iPhone and iPad is the smart search field. This means that typing in the field will where you'd put the URL will give you a top search hit as well as URL suggestions.
Another new feature is Tabs, which come in a wacky 3D view, plus you're no longer limited to just 8 as you are currently.
You can touch and hold tabs to rearrange your iCloud tabs.
Also joining from Safari on the Mac is the shared links feature and the scrollable Reading List. It will also be possible to set parental controls.
Apple iOS 7: Camera
Apple claims that they will offer "Four cameras in one", in iOS. You can swipe from photo camera to video camera to square camera, to panorama. New to iOS 7 are live photo filters and a new way to manage your photos.
One issue pin pointed by Apple is the fact that most people have huge scrolling list of photos. "But you don't have to be this way!" says Apple.
Using metadata, Photos can organize your photos into "moments."
This means tat your photos will be automatically organized depending on when and where you took them.
Moments are drawn into Collections, so for example your holiday in Cornwall will be collected together. Photos taken around home or at school will be another collection.
You can tap and scrub through thumbnails to find the photo you're looking for.
The Photos app also offers sharing – you can share photos and videos using AirDrop.
Apple iOS 7: AirDrop
Yes, as rumoured, you can now share things on your iPhone and iPad with the people around you. You just bring up the share sheet,you're your friends around you will show up right there. Tap on one and they'll get a panel on their display where they can accept what you're sharing. You can share with multiple people, just tap each of them. There is "No need to wander around the room, bumping your phone," said Apple in a dig at it's competition.
Apple claims this peer-to-peer method of sharing via Wi-Fi is securely encrypted. It is supported on the iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, iPad mini, and fifth-generation iPod touch.
Apple iOS 7: Siri
Siri has a new interface featuring a sound wave across the bottom and a new results panel. There is also a new voice for Siri – including a Male voice for US customers.
According to Apple, Siri is getting a lot smarter and now you can say "Play my last voicemail" or "Turn on Bluetooth" or "Increase my brightness" for example.
Siri will also offer you results from Wikipedia and Bing.
Siri is a big part of another new feature: iOS in the Car, and a dozen car manufacturers integrating that feature in 2014, according to Apple.
For more, see: Siri gets smarter in iOS 7, ditches Google for search
Apple iOS 7: App Store updates
App Store updates in iOS 7 will happen automatically – this could be an issue for those people who don't want to update apps, perhaps because they don't use the app, or because the update may break a feature they rely on.
Apple iOS 7: Music
Music app in iOS 7, is beyond a doubt, "best music player we have ever done" bragged Apple.
Apple also announced iTunes Radio, a new music streaming service. For more information about iTunes Radio read: Apple announces iTunes Radio music streaming service
As usual with iOS updates, iOS 7 will be a free update for all iOS users.
Apple iOS 7: Find my iPhone
Now, with Activation Lock, if a thief tries to turn off Find My iPhone on a stollen device, or wipe the device entirely, they won't be able to reactivate it unless they have the Apple ID and password associated with that device.
The developer beta of iOS 7 is availble for iPhone today and iPad in the coming weeks. Apple claims that the iOS 7 update will be available for iPhone 4, iPhone4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, and iPad mini this autumn.