Tim Cook calls iOS 7 the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone, and it is indeed beautiful. The goal: simplify the look and feel of the platform while adding lots of functionality. Some of the highlights include a new way to multitask and a Control Center for quickly changing settings. You'll also find an all-new Safari and an enhanced Siri with your choice of voices. The App Store also updates your apps automatically--finally. Here are the top 10 highlights of iOS 7.
Apple has introduced a new multitasking feature for apps in iOS 7, allowing for greater battery life. This means that apps can now tell whether or not you have a good connection, which helps them know when to fetch data. Double clicking the Home button lets you move between multiple applications using a new thumbnail view, and swiping up will close an app. It's very webOS-like, but we're not complaining.
More: 25 Best iPhone 5 Apps
Safari will be getting a new, full-screen view that puts the focus on content rather than controls. Swiping in from the edge of the display will navigate backwards, and you can access all of your favorites with a single tap in the unified search field. There’s also a new tab view that stacks each open webpage on top of one another, similar to the stock Android browser. You can also rearrange these tabs by tapping, holding and dragging them around the screen.
Apple has added a new Control Center to its iOS user interface that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Simply swipe up from the bottom of the display to reveal the Control Center menu, which features options for changing the brightness, engaging Airplane mode, toggling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings, and controlling music playback. It’s also transparent enough to make you feel immersed in the app you’re currently using.
Camera and Moments
The new iPhone camera app includes a wide range of filters, but the star of the iOS 7 show is a new way to organize photos. The new Moments feature knows where you take your photos and you can also view your collection by years. You can tap and scrub to find what you're looking for even from within a huge collection of mini thumbnails. There are new ways to share photos, too, including iCloud, which now supports video sharing as well. Other people can share into your Photo Stream now as well.
Siri is a lot smarter now, with new male and female voice options. The new Siri in iOS 7 integrates with Wikipedia and Web search results from Bing (no, not Google), and you can also tell the virtual assistant to turn on Bluetooth or play your last voicemail. In other words, Siri is tied into your device's settings now. Plus, you can ask what your friends are up to on Twitter.
Apple has improved the search function built into its mobile OS with iOS 7. Users can now pull down from the top of the screen to access the search bar from anywhere within the Home screen. Siri can now search through tweets, Wikipedia and photos as well.
Apple has introduced a new peer-to-peer Wi-Fi sharing service with iOS 7 known as AirDrop. We feel that Apple's solution one-ups that of Samsung's Galaxy phone line because you don't need to tap phones together to share. Simply select nearby friends, and you can begin sharing content via Wi-Fi.
More: Best Apps 2013
iOS in the Car
A wide range of car makers are introducing iOS in the car by 2014, allowing you to get turn by turn directions, play music, and messages and more directly in your car. This means you'll no longer have to use Bluetooth pairing or an car adapter to play music directly from your iPhone through your vehicle's stereo. Apple has partnered with a variety of manufacturers including Chevrolet, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundi, and Nissan among others.
Apple has added a feature that lets you search for apps based on new criteria. For example, you can now search for apps based on an age range, such as ages 6 to 9, or apps that are popular based on your location. Apps downloaded from the app store will now automatically update as well, although it isn't clear just yet if this is optional or mandatory.
The newly unveiled iTunes Radio is part of Apple's revamped music app, and aims to help listeners discover new artists through tons of curated stations based on genres. When you see a track you like, you can add it to your wishlist or remove it from a station. Ad-free listening is available for free for iTunes Match subscribers.
More: 12 Best Music Apps
Activation Lock is a new theft deterrent that requires anyone who swipes your phone to re-activate it using your iTunes credentials. Chances are they won't have that info. This feature builds on the popular Find My iPhone.
Stay in the know with Laptop Mag
Get our in-depth reviews, helpful tips, great deals, and the biggest news stories delivered to your inbox.