Apple Announces iOS 7 & World Domination [UPDATE]

| Product News

Apple announced iOS 7 on Monday, and with it, the company's plans to dominate the world. iOS 7 features a stunning new look and feel, great new features, and much enhanced usability. The OS will work with iPhone 4 and up, iPad 2 and up, and iPod touch (5th generation) and up, and it will be released later this year.

Apple highlighted some specific new features, including "Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Safari, Siri and introduces iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on the music you listen to on iTunes."

iOS 7

Craig Federighi Demos iOS 7 at WWDC Keynote

So Long Stitching

One of the most noticeable changes is the edge-to-edge design that maximizes screen usability. From Apple's preview page:

It has a new structure, applied across the whole system, that brings clarity to the entire experience. The interface is purposely unobtrusive. Conspicuous ornamentation has been stripped away. Unnecessary bars and buttons have been removed. And in taking away design elements that don’t add value, suddenly there’s greater focus on what matters most: your content.

This has been a long-rumored feature of the new iOS starting when Scot Forstall was ousted from the company and Jony Ive was put in charge of the look and feel of the mobile OS. Along with the late Steve Jobs, Mr. Forstall was the champion of skeuomorphism in iOS, and senior vice president Craig Federighi took many digs at Apple's old way of doing things throughout his presentation.

Notifications

Notifications have been greatly enhanced, and they will now be available from the lock screen of your iOS device. Notifications provide local data, such as weather and time, access to Calendar data, access to missed notifications, and other breakdowns designed to make the information more useful to the user.

iOS 7 Notifications

Notifications in iOS 7

Control Center

Apple has borrowed a page from Android and the iOS jailbreak community by adding a "Control Center" to iOS 7. This is a set of some of the most-used controls for your iPhone or iPad, including access to Airplane Mode, network settings, Bluetooth, screenlock, music playback, AirDrop, AirPlay, volume, a camera, a calculator, your clock, and a flashlight.

Apple has had some of these controls buried in the app manager screen, but the new Control Center is accessible by swiping up from the bottom of your screen, an idea popularized on Android.

iOS 7 Control Center

iOS 7 Control Center

Multitasking

Apple has added the ability for apps to run in the background, but the company did so in a way that prioritizes battery life. Apple made a new API available to developers to allow this ability. If they incorporate it, their apps will quietly perform tasks while running in the background, and users will be able to flip between running apps with a gesture.

In the screenshot below, Craig Federighi swipes between running apps, which are represented by a live screen from the app. The center screen is the highlighted app, while to either side are the previous and next apps. Below are the icons of all the running apps so you know what you're looking at.

Multitasking in iOS 7

We should note that this is not the ability to run two apps on the same screen. Apple has long taken the view that battery life is important, and apps running in the background can be a significant drain on power. Apple's new approach enhances usability for the user, but does so in a very controlled way that keeps battery life high on the list of priorities.

Photos

Apple has completely revamped Photos in iOS 7. First and foremost is organization. Apple is using metadata embedded in each photo, like time and place, and using that information to presort photos into usable groups. In the image below, you'll see two "Collections" based on this metadata.

Photos

iOS 7 Photos

The image below shows your photos organized by year for a holistic look. One of the very cool things Apple demonstrated was the ability to "tap and scrub" in this view. Tap to bring up a specific thumbnail, hold the tap, and then scrub in any direction to view other thumbnails. It looked very useful.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Apple also added filters for your photographs, which could be bad news from some of the third party apps out there. That said, the filters Apple unveiled on Monday were not exhaustive, leaving room for the best apps to differentiate themselves.

Filters

iOS 7 Photos Filters

Safari

Apple has completely rethought mobile browsing with safari, including a unified search/URL field, a new tab view, shared links, and a reading list that allows you to read saved articles as one continuously scrolling page. In addition, the main control bar disappears when it scrolls off the screen, leaving more screen real estate for the actual content.

Safari

iOS 7 Safari - Browsing on the left, tabbed view on the right

Siri

Siri got a facelift, as well as a little work on her vocal chords. Apple changed the interface for Siri to show a soundwave pattern when she is listening to you. The soundwaves map to your voice, and this should make it more clear when she is in listening mode compared to iOS 6.

Siri

iOS 7 Siri

Apple also added hooks into Twitter for Siri, allowing you to ask what people are saying on the service. She can also look up things in Wikipedia, and will now performs searches in Bing. Apple didn't make it a big deal about that in the keynote, but did list it in the press release. It's unclear as of this writing if that's instead of Google, optional, or simply the default search option in Siri from now on.

Siri

iOS 7 Searches & Twitter

Siri will be able to change settings on your iOS device (yay!) and playback voicemail (yay again!). Apple did not, however, announce that Siri would be open to third party developers, something we were hoping for.

Siri has new male and female voices. In the demonstrations we heard in the keynote, they sound great. Real world testing awaits.

Additional new iOS 7 features include (from Apple's press release):

  • a new Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature that requires your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased;
  • Night Mode in Maps that responds to ambient light when you use it in the dark;
  • FaceTime audio for high quality calls over a data network;
  • Notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device it is dismissed on all of your devices;
  • Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking to prevent specific people from being able to contact you;
  • Tencent Weibo support for users in China, a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary, and improved Chinese input including handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters;
  • the ability for businesses to more efficiently deploy and manage iPhones and iPads;
  • enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.

There are a ton of screenshots and information on Apple's iOS 7 preview page. Check it out, because this OS is super sexy.

Comments

webjprgm

I think it will take some getting used to. I’m comfortable with the look of iOS 6. I don’t like extreme skeumorphism (yay for no green felt!), but I do like some of it, like the lock screen slider.

I do think there are some good ideas here, with the layered design and such. It doesn’t strike me as something I’ll hate, so I guess I will eventually like it.

Misc:

When they mentioned multi-tasking I almost thought they were going to say they did it like OS X Mavericks with the timer coallescing and such. They are coalescing radio use, so similar ideas I guess.

The control center is exactly what I hoped they would do, so I expect to very much like that.  Also the fact that it’s a swipe instead of a double-tap means the home button isn’t quite as overloaded as it was before.

geoduck

I’m anxious to see what it looks like in person. I also want to see what it looks like on an iPad. I love the new Control Center and notifications on the Lock Screen.

skipaq

Ther

skipaq

Try again. There is a lot to like. 7 does’t look too flat and unifying the design characteristics of icons is a good thing. The real good aspects of this updates come with changes made to navigation UI. Many things look easier and quicker.

KitsuneStudios

This looks absolutely beautiful and I’m looking forward to it.

While the icons seem to be getting some hate on other forums, the only one I don’t like is the new Game Center App. It doesn’t match the colour or texture of the others, and feels like the cheesy 3d Samsung bubbles.

I’m also much, much, MUCH too excited about the silly parallax effect. :D

MOSiX Man

Oh why can’t this be available NOW?! Actually, my company does a fair amount of iOS development. I may be able to get a copy of the dev beta, fairly soon. : )

geoduck

For iPad2 and up: YAY!!!!
iPodTouch5: YAY!!!!
(I have a 3 year old iPT-4th gen but this is one more reason to upgrade when the new hardware comes out.)

Winski

IF I wanted a washed out, cheap looking UI, I would have bought a Samsung Galaxy, but I didn’t.. Now, it looks like the galaxy UI, crap and all, is coming to me. How much did Tim have to pay the Samsung UI engineers to come over and build this UI, then leave?

It’s just awful.

MOSiX Man

Winski, wait until you see it in person. It may be better than you think.

sym

Winski…valid points.  But beware the extreme fanatical Apple fan boys here…if you say anything negative, they will mock you!

sym

iTunes radio…are they delusional?  How dare they think that they are relevant in the world of online radio/streaming when giants like Pandora and Spotify have been at it for years.  Delusions of relevance!  How dare they even try!  How dare Samsung try to develop its own apps!  What is this world coming to?!  How dare anyone try something they haven’t done before!!?

MOSiX Man

blah, blah, blah… they will mock you… blah, blah, blah…
; )

Actually, I won’t really mock anybody. But what do you mean ‘valid points’? Everything Winski wrote was either opinion, rhetoric, and obvious farce. He made no statements of fact or actual arguments to support a position. Not that he’s not perfectly within his rights to feel what he feels, but the points presented are no more valid or invalid.

MOSiX Man

Wow, my grammar score was a -5, there.

MOSiX Man

Sym, are you feeling OK?

Lee Dronick

  Winski, wait until you see it in person. It may be better than you think.

Yes it might be stunning, and easy to use. Lack of leather stitching not withstanding. smile

 

Scott B in DC

I love the new look. But I loved the line noting that Air Drop can work across the room and that you didn’t have to walk to the other side to touch phones to make it work! That was classic “up your Samsung” remark! Just loved it!!

aardman

@Scott in DC.  I always thought there’s something screwy about having all this bleeding edge technology available then you design a file transfer function that requires physical contact between devices.  Then Federighi points out how plain stupid that is.  It’s like parking the TV remote right next to the . . .  TV.

mhikl

MOSiX, most just ignore the rabble. That infuriates them and they usually get bored and leave. Give them audience and they think you want to dialogue.
I think sym was being sarcastic, but I could be wrong. I like to believe in the good of man, that’s why I put up with Bryan. smile

Good review of the days events and I so want this new iOS to come sooooon. It was so much easier to discern the icons on the screen, almost intuitive. I don’t remember it being said that this would help Apple dominate, but I was a little late to the fair as I had to update my Atv. But all in all, TMO is doing a darn good job with its posts on this manic massive missive from Apple.

Lancashire-Witch

I wonder what some of the screens (control center, for example) will look like outdoors in bright daylight.

sym

http://news.yahoo.com/designers-think-apples-flat-ios-look-ugly-harsh-145334967.html

Thanks BlackBerry and Android.  You can say iOS preceded Android, but you can’t say that about BlackBerry. 

I think iOS 7 looks good and that iOS is generally superior.

Paul Emus

One thing I hate about the new IOS7 is the translucent background. I have a picture of myself on the lock screen. One time I dropped my cellphone in a grocery store and a woman came up to me and asked, “Is this your cellphone?”  I was surprised because I didn’t know I dropped it, and asked her how she knew it was mine?  She said, “your picture!”  But now my picture is all blurred out on the lock screen with IOS7.

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