Apple WWDC: iOS 7

As expected, iOS 7 was revealed and is a design change and it brings some new and need features. This is the part of the keynote that the most time and attention was spent on. On the software side, as far as changes and updates this takes the crown.  People were waiting with baited breath to see what these changes would be considering that Jony Ive has now left his mark on iOS.

Right off the bat, the stock icons have all been redesigned and have a flatter look to them.  Not only this, but the background wallpaper of the home screen now has a parallax design which tilts the image as the phone is moved and does this underneath the app icons. Also in this redesign the buttons of the dialer app have been rounded.  A no-brainer of a new feature is the ability to block or blacklist any number or specific incoming calls. Also, FaceTime gets an additional feature by allowing voice only calls.

Another simple update is that folders now can have multiple pages of apps in them. The notification center will be a feature accessible from the lock screen.  Control Center can be easily seen by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.  A big feature that got tweaks was multitasking.  All apps, not just first party, now have the multitasking feature and this can be accessed by double tapping the hope button.   Apple looks to have gotten inspiration from WebOS.

Then there were the updates to the several of the stock and native iOS apps. One of these apps to get updated was Safari.  Some key new features include one tap access to favorites and a sort of overhead cover flow style for switching between tabs.

There was just a quick mention about the overhauled look of the Game Center app, and they said that they ran out of green felt, thus causing the change.

iOS 7 also changes features in both the camera and photo apps.  For the camera, they have made it very easy to switch between video, 4×3 photo, 16×9 photo and panorama modes.  There are also easy ways to access photo filters which can be set in real-time.  With the photos app, pictures will be categorized into what are being called moments, which easily separate the pictures based on the metadata and geodata from the GPS, provided the user allows them to be tagged.  The moments can even be viewed al the way down to tiny thumbnails, so as to see each picture and be able to select each one.

Air Drop is making its way to iOS.  This will allow users to select a contact and easily send them files such as photos or other data.  Unlike what Samsung phones can do, this is all done with software and does not require the devices to touch for the file transfer to take place.

Siri also changes with the addition of new voices.  There will be an English male and female voices as well as German and French at launch.  Siri is now more accurate and is able to pull data from sources such as Wikipedia among others.

A brand new feature for iOS 7 is iOS in the car.  This brings many of the features of iOS and connects them with the navigation and audio unit of a car.  This includes playing music, responding to notifications, navigation and using Siri, all while still keeping your eyes on the road.  iOS in the car will be available in many makes and models of cars and the list of partners can be found on Apple’s website.

The iOS app store is getting several needed improvements including a feature called, ‘apps near me,” which allows users to see what apps other people around them are downloading and using. Users can now enable the ability for apps to download and install updates in the background.

A highly talked about new service from within iTunes, is iTunes radio.  This is similar to Pandora. It is free with ads and ad free if you pay for iTunes match.  This will work on iOS as well as the Mac and Windows version of iTunes.  Users can create stations based on artists, songs and music genres from their iTunes library or discover new stations.  If they like a song, it is easy to buy that song on the spot.  You can remove a song from any station with the click of a button or favorite that song so it can be played again.

For a new security measure, Activation Lock was created.  This is a feature that if an iOS device is remotely wiped, in order to reactivate and re-install iOS, a user must log in with their Apple id.  This is an extra layer of protection if your device gets stolen or is lost.

Let’s hope that people embrace the changes that are coming to iOS and realize that these are features that come with having Jony Ive being at the head of iOS UI.  It will be curious if this new version will be easy for new users to adopt and will current iOS users have kind things to say about these changes. With new features and a redesigned look, it feels as if Apple and iOS are still playing catch-up to other mobile smartphone OS’s.

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