Apple has just concluded their keynote at their 2013 World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). The keynoted brought some major new announcements, of both hardware and software. Some of the hardware includes new MacBook Airs, a completely re-designed Mac Pro, and all new innovations with OS X 10.9 Mavericks. For now though, we will focus on the biggest change, iOS 7.
Tim Cook stated that iOS 7 was the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone. The changes to iOS 7 are astounding. The changes spread from the user interface to the new applications and enhancements to existing applications.
iOS 7 includes an all-new redesign that gives a user a fresh perspective on the entire operating system. All of the applications are being refreshed. There are a few new applications that will allow users to be a bit more productive with iOS 7, but existing users will not get lost.
iOS 7 brings a fresh new look to absolutely everything. This includes existing applications like Mail, Calendar, Music and even 3rd party applications. The iOS 7 redesign will almost make you think you have a new device, even when it is the same one you have owned for a little while.
The redesign includes expands to cover the entire device, from edge-to-edge. This means that instead of having a border around iOS, it now fills the entire screen.
There is some underlying technology that will also give the appearance of the screen moving. This is more of a ‘see what we can do’ feature than a function feature, right now. In the future, this might be applicable in the future once developers really get a chance to get their hands on iOS 7.
When Multitasking was introduced in iOS 4, it was a huge shift. Some applications could now be able to play in the background without having to worry about leaving the applications. These applications included, mail, audio streaming, Voice Over IP and Location services. iOS 5 added newsstand downloads and external accessories as background applications. With iOS 7, all applications are able to utilize multitasking. This means that any application that supports it can be saving, uploading or downloading in the background. This is a huge change for iOS and a much desired one by the iOS developers.
AirDrop has been available on OS X since OS X 10.7 Lion. AirDrop is a feature that allows you to wirelessly send files to other users. This feature has not been available to iOS users until iOS 7. Now, iOS 7 users will be able to send files to their friends, provided they have iOS 7 and are using one of the following devices: iPhone 5, 4th Generation iPad, an iPad Mini, or a 5th Generation iPod Touch. Anything besides these devices will not be able to use AirDrop.
Notification Center has been available on iOS since the introduction of iOS 5. With iOS 7, there are a few changes. You now have three different tabs up at the top, Today, All, and Missed. These will allow you to see what notifications you have, just like before.
One additional feature is Notification Sync. Currently under iOS 6, users have to handle each notification on all of their devices. This is no longer necessary. Now, all iOS 7 notifications will sync across your devices. This reduces your workload and means that you no longer have to look at items you have already seen.
Notification center is now available from within the Lock Screen as well. This means that you do not have to unlock your device to manage notifications.
The camera application has received a complete redesign. There are now four modes, Video, Photo, Square, and Pano. Each of these is available simply by swiping to the item that you want.
There is also the ability to add filters to any still image, whether it is a standard still image or a square still image. This means that you do not have to go into another application to add an effect to your photo.
Theft is an all too common aspect to today’s society. The increase in Apple devices has lead many to covet these devices and the less scrupulous members of society target people with iOS devices. Apple has just made it a bit harder to activate a device if it is stolen.
With Activation Lock, in order for a device to be re-activated, you must enter in your iCloud email address and password in order to activate the device. This also works if a thief wipes the iOS device. It cannot be reactivated without the iCloud credentials.
Ultimately, this should reduce the number of iPhone thefts as time progresses.
One of the hardest things to do on the Internet is keep track of passwords. It is unsafe to re-use the same password, or set of passwords, across each site. Many typical users do not have more than one or two email addresses. Apple has begun to solve this problem with iCloud Keychain.
iCloud Keychain will keep track of your website login information, credit card numbers, and Wifi networks. When you browse upon a website, the information should automatically be filled in for you. The one thing that iCloud Keychain will not store, is the verification code on the back of your credit card. You still need to have that.
iCloud Keychain will not just store your information, but it can also generate passwords for you. iCloud Keychain will also be able to generate secure passwords that you will never need to actually know. You ail lonely have to remember one password, and that is your master password.
iCloud Keychain will sync across all of your devices so you never have to be without your information.
There are tasks that many users, myself included, would love to accomplish quickly and easily without always having to go into settings. Apple has introduced Control Center to provide this functionality. Control Center allows you to turn on and off the following features: Airplane Mode, Wifi, Bluetooth, Do not Disturb, and Rotation Lock. Also within Control Center you can change the brightness, play and pause a song as well.
You can control AirDrop and AirPlay from this screen as well. With Control Center you can quickly gain access to the timer, calculator and camera application. There is one new feature, flashlight. Flashlight will allow you to turn on and off a flashlight.
Siri was introduced in iOS 5. Siri allows you to perform many actions like opening applications, checking sports scores and looking up movie times. Under iOS 7, Siri continues to do this, but can also perform more things. Siri is now capable of doing things like “Play my last voicemail”, “Increase the brightness” or even “Turn off Bluetooth”. Siri can also show search results from the web. These are retrieved from Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
The last change to Siri is the changing of the voice. Siri’s voice is now higher definition and less robotic. There are options for both female and male voices in English, French and German. Apple will be adding more voices in the future.
One of the banes of many iOS user’s existences are the constant updates to applications. There are times when it is possible to have ten or more updates waiting. This will become a thing of the past. iOS 7 will be capable of updating applications in the background. This means that you no longer need to manage your applications manually. This also means that you will always have the latest and greatest version of an app that a developer has released.
Folders under iOS 7 are capable of handling more than just 12 applications. They are able to handle hundreds of applications simultaneously. This means instead of having to have multiple folders for games, you can have just one folder. You will be able to slide left to right to show more applications within the folder.
Apple has also introduced a new streaming music service, iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio is a free service that allows you to discover new music. iTunes Radio provides different channels of music, from Pop to Country to Oldies and everything in-between. You will not have to rely on pre-canned stations, you will be able to create new stations as well for others to listen to. iTunes Radio is built into the Music application on iOS 7 and will be available on OS X through iTunes.
Overall iOS 7 looks to be a major leap forward to for iOS devices. With new features like Control Center, an upgraded Siri, and an entire redesign, iOS 7 looks to be a solid upgrade for all users. As time goes on there will be more information released. You can look for it to be available this fall.