Apple released the long-awaited iOS 7 today. Even though it's a major change to the iOS ecosystem, there are some things included in the new operating system that you can't see just by looking at it.
The biggest change -- which can be seen right away -- is that iOS 7 is colorful and almost all of the main applications look and act differently. Outside of that, there are actually some really important changes under the hood in iOS 7. Let's take a look.
AirDrop, Multitasking, and Siri
Many smartphones have begun offering local file sharing between devices but until now, Apple has not included any feature of that nature in iOS. That changes with the inclusion in iOS 7 of AirDrop, a feature which allows users to share files, photos, videos, contacts, etc., with other nearby iPhone users.
A lot of applications that allow local file sharing utilize WiFi, but AirDrop enables sharing over Bluetooth as well.
Multitasking has been a part of the iPhone feature set since iOS 4 was released, but limitations have made it hard for some applications to utilize. Now, Apple has loosened the reins on iOS multitasking, allowing more apps to run in the background, performing various tasks even when they are not open.
Just like with many of the other new features in iOS 7, the design for multitasking is completely different than it was in iOS 6. Instead of seeing a small row of icons near the bottom of your screen, double tapping the home button will pull up a card-based interface to browse through and see which applications are still open in the background.
When the Siri voice-command and response system launched with iOS 6, people thought it would change everything. Unfortunately, the features of the voice recognition service have been lackluster, and Siri's usefulness has been marginal, at best. With iOS 7, Siri gets a serious upgrade and it will be interesting to see if she (or he) can be more useful. Siri now offers male and female voice options, along with support for Twitter and other applications in Siri's accepted commands.
New and Improved Camera App
Smartphone cameras are becoming increasingly advanced -- as seen with Nokia's Lumia -- so Apple is keeping up with user demands and upgrading the iOS camera application.
Several new filters will be built-in to the camera app, including some specifically designed for Instagram, reflecting the popularity of that photo-sharing app. Among the nine filters will be Mono, Fade, and Chrome. These can be added before or after a picture is taken.
Swiping between different camera options is also quite easy in iOS 7. Instead of moving back and forth between photo or video, a simple swipe will switch between the different capture modes. Along with taking photos or videos, the camera app will also support other features such as slow-motion and the already popular panoramic view.
Once a photo is taken, the photo app -- which has also been upgraded -- really shines through. You can now group photos in a streamlined, yet more advanced way, and iOS 7 also enables photo streaming between iCloud-enabled devices.
Posted: 2013-09-21 @ 6:19pm PT
Seems much slower than prior version. Help!!
Posted: 2013-09-18 @ 8:18pm PT
Just downloaded the iOS7, and I'm sorry to say that it isn't really an upgrade but a downgrade.
So far as new features, don't expect any important ones. Maybe the camera will give you the option of adding a few silly effects to pictures, but who cares? There are also a few other marginal features thrown into the various apps, but again, nothing that takes any of the apps to a new level -- at least not upward.
The important stuff, like being able to type easily haven't improved. The flat design is counterproductive in addition to not being very attractive, although that's something subjective, I guess. It just seems more primitive, as if from the days before they invented bevel effects to make it easier for users to identify functionality buttons, as opposed to content.
For example, email handling is much worse. The important functionality like 'Reply' and 'Cancel,' etc., are no longer a button. They are just flat words on a white background. Worse yet, the words are squished into the title of the email and into the corners of the screen.
So, a worse keyboard, worse phone dialer, and generally worse user interface in apps, make iOS7 a downgrade.
Funny that Apple whose main claim to fame is its user interface, would stumble so badly. This is definitely an opportunity for Android to take the lead.