Today is a big day for Apple. Many in the tech industry have taken swipes at the company over the lack of new products, the stagnation of iOS, and the rise of Samsung in the smartphone arena. Apple is looking to tackle at least one of those sore points today with the introduction of iOS 7.
The overall look of iOS 7 is quite colorful with flourishes that bring to mind both Android and Windows Phone 8 (courtesy of iOS’ newfound “flatness”).
Control Center allows you to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to quickly access Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/Screen brightness etc. This is "quick access" functionality that Android users have experienced for years. Apple has also vastly improved multitasking that interestingly looks a bit like what we've already seen with webOS.
Safari has a new full screen mode, Smart Search field, and a new interface for tabs (you are no longer limited to just 8 tabs).
IOS 7 also includes AirDrop, which allows you to quickly share files with friends that are nearby. Craig Federingi took a quick jab at Samsung by stating that you don't have to "bump" phones together to share information.
The Camera app has also been given a makeover to make it easier to switch between video, photo, and panorama modes. And instead of seeing an endless scrolling stream of photos that you've taken, the iOS 7 Photos app uses geotagging information to group your photos together based on when and where you were when you took them.
Siri has been upgraded with new, high-quality female and male voices. You can now speak to Siri to do things like turning on/off Bluetooth/Wi-Fi or changing your screen brightness.
The App Store has been revamped with the new features aimed at parents (choosing apps by age range) and by showing you popular apps based on your current location. In addition, apps now update in the background (again, a feature that has been available on competing platforms for quite some time).
Eddie Cue also introduced iTunes Radio, which has been long rumored for iOS 7. It's free (ad-supported), but those who use iTunes Match will get the service without ads. If your familiar with services like Pandora, Google Play Music, or Spotify; you pretty much know what to expect from iTunes Radio.
Other features to look for in iOS 7 include FaceTime audio (high quality voice-only calls over Wi-Fi), Notifications Sync (if you dismiss a notification on your iPhone, it is also dismissed on your iPad), and “iOS in the Car”.
The first iOS 7 beta will be available today for the iPhone, while iPad users will gain access in the coming weeks. The full public rollout will take place this fall.