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June 12, 2013 - Dave Hecei
Apple previewed the next version of their popular mobile operating system, iOS 7, during this years WWDC keynote address. This OS is used on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and iPad mini series of mobile devices. Coming sometime this fall, iOS 7 looks to be a fresh start for Apple. Meaning, it looks quite a bit different than the old iOS.Different could be really bad, just look at Microsoft and their Windows 8 (shivers). The new iOS 7 looks to be a good different, but the judges are still out until at least the beta gets some miles on it. It is not as radical of a change as what Microsoft has done with their latest OSes.
Many have called this a ‘flatter’ looking iOS. I don’t know if I would really call it that. During this year’s WWDC, Apple demoed the new iOS running on an iPhone 5. The icons are less ‘floofy’, but the coolest part was that the background appears to be set back into the screen. The icons seem to float in a 3D space above the underlying wallpaper. As you tilt the device up and down, or side to side, the background moves slower giving a parallax effect. The more you tilt the device, the more you actually start to reveal the background image. It might be hard to describe, but looking at the device in your hand as you move it around is awesome. You can see this and the whole WWDC 2013 keynote on the Apple site.
The next thing you will notice right away is the text. Apple has gravitated to a very thin and simple font selection that works across most of the new OS. Along with other design decisions, Apple has given iOS 7 a very clean and much more modern look. While thin and clean might look nice up on a big screen during a conference, I’ll wait and judge this decision with my over-50 eyes when it’s available for my iPad and iPhone.
Another big change is with Siri. This is Apple’s voice command system. Siri is just a button push away where you can ask her all sorts of questions, or give her a limited set of commands. What’s new here is that Siri no longer is connected to Google for search information, but with Microsoft’s Bing. I guess Apple and Google really aren’t friends anymore.
One new feature included in iOS 7 that I am excited about is a new Control Center. With an upward swipe of the screen you get quick access to controls that used to take multiple clicks and or swipes to get to. Mainly I’m interested in being able to turn on and off either Bluetooth or WiFi in a single swipe and button click. Why did I have to find the main screen, click on Settings, then Wi-Fi, and then swipe? Really?! Control Center will give you quick access to toggle Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Aspect Lock. There are controls for Volume, Track Position, Play, Skip Ahead, Skip Back, AirDrop, and AirPlay. There are also four useful Apps available along the bottom – Flashlight, Clocks, Calculator, and Camera.
There is so much more that has been added, fixed, or improved upon in iOS 7. This includes a new method of multitasking, multiple screens inside of folders (you are no longer limited to how many icons can be in a single folder), the Safari web browser, the Camera/Photo Apps, App Store, and Music App.
The Music App will include access to the new iTunes Radio. This will be a free ad-supported service that allows you to stream practically unlimited music to your Apple mobile devices, along with any Internet connected Mac or PC running iTunes. If you have purchased the $25/year iTunes Match service, you will get all this without ads. Users of Pandora will feel right at home with iTunes Radio, which looks to have more features than Pandora.
Apple will release iOS 7 sometime this fall. It should run on the iPhone 4 or better, iPod Touch 5th gen or better, iPad 2 or better, and the iPad mini.
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