iOS 7: What’s New, What’s Different and What You Should Care About
As you’ve probably heard by now, if you have a recent iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad you’re device is about to look very different come this fall. Earlier this week at their annual WWDC event Apple didn’t just give the MacBook Air a nice update but announced the future of iOS, iOS 7. In addition to adding some new features, with iOS 7 Apple decided to completely change the look of iOS, updating the design to one that is more modern and “flat.”
Here’s a quick rundown on some of the things that are new and the things you should care about in iOS 7.
Just looking at iOS 7 you’ll see it’s completely different from what Apple has had the past six years. The swipe to unlock from just the bottom of the lock screen is gone. The way apps like Notes looked like an actual yellow notepad– gone as well. Heck, even the familiar cell signal bars in the upper left have been replaced with little dots (one dot is for weak coverage, five dots is excellent coverage) and the icons for apps– particularly Photos, Settings and Game Center– got major redesigns that have them looking nothing like they did before. All these apps will for the most part still act the same as they do today but there is no denying that once you update your iOS device to iOS 7 it will look very different.
Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The look of iOS hasn’t really changed since the first iPhone was announced in 2007 and in many ways it really needed an update like this to make it look and feel “fresh.” The design overhaul here is is so large that it, combined with some of the new features announced, will make you feel that after installing this free update you got a new iPhone.
Speaking of features, here are some of the new ones in iOS 7 that you’re going to want to care about.
Camera and Photos
With iOS 7 Apple decided to make the camera and photos app both more useful and easier to use. In the camera app you now not only can take pictures, videos and panorama shots but you can also use filters similar to those found in apps like Instagram. Anyone who has ever used Photo Booth on a Mac or on the iPad will find that filters in camera app works exactly like that, with little boxes offering live previews of the different filters that you can use to take your picture. There aren’t as many filters available as Instagram has, but its a nice add-on regardless. If you want to add a filter to your photo after you took it you can do that too in the Photos app.
Speaking of the Photos app it also got a nice update. One of the biggest annoyances for anyone who has ever taken pictures on an iPhone is how hard it is to find them later in the Photos app. It used to be that all your photos, regardless of where you took them or when, were grouped together. In iOS 7 the Photos app now automatically groups your photos together into things called Collections, Moments, and Years. Basically, this is putting your photos into “smart albums” based on when and where you took them. So your summer photos from your road trip out to New York are Collection with the party you went to while there is in a smaller album inside the collection called a Moment. With this you should be able to find the photos you’re looking for in a way that is much quicker and easier.
On the Mac, iPad and iPod Touch FaceTime has its own app which makes it super easy to make FaceTime calls. On the iPhone, however, FaceTime used to be buried in the Messages and Contacts apps. Now with iOS 7 the iPhone will also finally get its own FaceTime app. But that’s not all. On top of making FaceTime calls easier for iPhone users to make, FaceTime now allows you to make free, regular voice calls to other FaceTime users— in addition to free video chats– right from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
One of the biggest complaints about iOS in the past has been how annoying it was to do something like turn on WiFi or Bluetooth. On Android all you had to do was swipe down and tap; no exiting your app, going to settings and then tapping two more times just to turn it on. With iOS 7 you now just have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you’ll pull up the new Control Center which gives you easy access to those things as well as adjusting brightness and volume, changing songs or quickly pulling up apps like a timer, calculator, camera and flashlight (yes, you no longer need a separate app to use a flashlight on your iPhone). This was a feature long overdue and one that should make a lot people happy.
Multitasking works the same as it did before– double tap the home button to see all your open apps– just now it looks and works a lot better. In addition to seeing the whole app you now can just swipe apps away to close instead of hitting a tiny “x.” A nice looking yet also useful update.
If you’ve watched any TV or been online the last two years you probably saw the Samsung Galaxy ads where two people tap their phones together to quickly share photos and files. Well, Apple finally has responded with AirDrop. AirDrop doesn’t need you to tap your iPhone with another iPhone to share, instead it uses WiFi and Bluetooth to allow you to easily connect and share things between iOS devices quickly and wirelessly. AirDrop knows which of your contacts are close by so you can just turn it on (from the Control Center) to send photos, videos, contacts, or pretty much anything from any app that has a Share button in it. It may not be as cool as going up and tapping your phone but it’s very nice nonetheless.
iOS 7 vs iOS 6 (Pic from Mashable)
These are just some of the many updates Apple has planned for iOS 7. Pretty much every built-in app got a design update, from Music to Messages to the Compass, while other features like Siri got nice improvements like the ability to search Twitter and Bing without forcing you to switch apps. Apple also let the App Store update apps automatically and announced iTunes Radio, or their version of Pandora for free streaming music (with ads. Ad-free streaming is $25 a year).
In terms of which devices will get the free update when it’s available in the fall Apple posted this nice little list you see above. If you’ve got an iPhone 4, 4S or 5; iPad 2,3,4 or Mini; or one of the new 5th generation iPod Touches (the ones with the 4 inch Retina Display) you’ll be getting iOS 7 later this year. As always not every feature will be available on the older devices (AirDrop for example is only available on the iPhone 5, 5th gen iPod Touch, 4th gen iPad and the iPad Mini), but for a nice chart on which device will get what check out this TechCrunch post here.
All in all, if you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch recently expect it to look a lot different by the end of the year. Whether this new look is good or bad is still very much undecided but at least we now know what we can look forward to when it comes out later this year.
More info: Apple