iOS 7 officially introduced by Apple at WWDCAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently confirmed that his company would be showing off the next version of iOS at its Worldwide Developers Conference, and today that's exactly what the Cupertino firm did. iOS 7 was just made official during the WWDC keynote, complete with a revamped look that includes new icons and fonts. Just as was rumored, Apple has ditched much of the skeuomorphic design that was present in previous versions, adopting a flatter look for iOS 7.
Along with its refreshed look, iOS 7 has gained a number of new features. The first one detailed by Apple is Control Center, which will appear anywhere in the OS with a swipe up from the bottom of the devices display. Control Center gives users access to several settings options, like Wi-Fi and Airplane Mode, as well as brightness and music controls.
Another "center" that's been changed up in iOS 7 is the Notification Center. The iOS alert hub has ditched its linen for a more opaque look, and users will now be able to access the Notification Center from the lock screen of their iOS device. Apple has built in a new "Today" feature of the iOS 7 Notification Center that will present a user with the day's meetings, events, weather and more.
Multitasking has received some tweaks in iOS 7 as well. Apple will allow all apps to update in the background in iOS 7, and the company says that its new multitasking support can adapt to network conditions. Push notifications can trigger an app to update in the background so that it's updated and ready to go when the user reopens it. iOS 7 multitasking will also display backgrounded apps with webOS-style cards rather than the simple app icons of previous iOS versions.
Some of Apple's apps are getting a refresh in iOS 7, including its Camera and Photos apps. The new Camera app allows users to quickly swipe between a video recorder, photo camera, square photo camera or panorama camera. After capturing some shots, users can head on in to the new Photos app, which will automatically organize photos based on the location and date.
Safari in iOS 7 will gain full-screen browsing, a feature that Google just recently added to its Chrome browser for Android, as well as a unified address bar that can be used for web searches and for website URLs. There's also iCloud Keychain integration for storing a user's passwords and credit cards, a new tab interface and improved parental controls.
Apple has also extended its redesign to the App Store, giving it a refreshed look that's in line with the rest of its built-in apps. The new App Store will also allow users to filter apps by age or by popular apps that are popular with other users nearby, and it can also automatically update apps for the user.
Another Apple app that's getting an iOS 7 makeover is Siri. Apple's voice-controlled assistant will be available with both female and male voices in iOS 7, and it'll also include Bing web search and integration with both Twitter search and Wikipedia. The iOS 7 version of Siri will also be able to playback voicemail and change device settings, the latter of which has been one of the most oft-requested Siri features since its launch.
Rounding out the list of new iOS 7 features is a Night Mode for Apple Maps, FaceTime audio, notification sync, enhanced in-car integration and blocking support in apps like Phone, Messages and FaceTime. Apple is also building in a new Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature that will require a user's Apple ID and password before a lost device can be erased or have its Find My iPhone feature turned off.
So when will you be able to give all of these new features a go for yourself? Apple is releasing iOS 7 in beta form for the iPhone today, with a beta version for the iPad expected in the coming weeks. The consumer release of iOS 7 is scheduled for this fall. Apple says that iOS 7 will be compatible with the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later and the fifth generation iPod touch.
Apple also took the time to spill a few interesting statistics during its WWDC keynote. The company revealed that its iOS App Store is now home to 900,000 apps, including 375,000 iPad-specific apps. Tim Cook and Co. went on to announce it's sold 600 million iOS devices to date. Finally, Apple says that its main iTunes Store is now home to 575 million accounts, while iCloud hosts 300 million accounts.