WWDC '13: Apple reveals iOS 7

WWDC '13: Apple reveals iOS 7

Summary: Apple announces iOS 7 at its annual developer conference the latest version of the iPhone and iPad software. And you're in for a treat — and a surprise.

TOPICS: Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad
Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 14.20.14
(Screenshot: ZDNet via Apple live broadcast)

Apple on Monday formally announced its latest mobile operating system, iOS 7, and while it looks and feels familiar, its fresh design is enough to inject much needed life in the mobile platform.

The iPhone and iPad software marks about a year's worth of work for the company at an uncertain time following the departure of its key software executive, Scott Forstall, who oversaw the overall design, aesthetic, and functionality of the mobile operating system.

Ive took over Forstall's job, which marked the beginning of a dramatic change for the overall design ethos at the company.

In a video prepared by Apple, Sir Jonathan Ive, the company's design chief, explained the new interface.

With simpler, flatter home screen icons and a thinner typography for the entire platform, the changes are subtle enough to not alienate existing customers but wide enough to drive updates. 

While the new interface is very black and white in a sense, it appeared to have enough color for "depth and vitality," according to Ive. Like OS X Mavericks, which was announced earlier today

It also "tracks" your movements in order to respond to the angle of your hands. It offers a 3D-like depth depending on the way you hold the device. The background stays where it is, while the icons appear to "bubble" out.

According to Craig Federighi, whose contributed to the new software — following earlier reports that OS X developers were pulled onto the iOS team in order to hit deadlines — the "best way to appreciate iOS 7 is to see it live."

The most surprising part is that it runs on older iPhones — as far back as the iPhone 4. Some analysts expected it to only reach the iPhone 5 in order to boost sales. iOS 7 will be supported by the iPhone 4 and later, the iPad 2 and later, the iPad mini, and the iPod touch (4th generation) and later. 

The iOS software is a favorite among enterprise players. It also includes a range of new features:

Read this

WWDC 2014: By the numbers

WWDC 2014: By the numbers

The iPhone and iPad maker's keynote on Monday included updates on financial figures, sales and shipments, and other numerical nuggets. Here's what you need to know.

Control Center: Swipe up from the bottom of the device and you can change settings, brightness, apps and radio functionality — such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Multitasking: Support has been added for all apps while still preserving and maintaining good battery life. Apps that are constantly in use over time will develop a pattern which enables background updating and "intelligence scheduling" for when you need them. Apps also adapts to network conditions, and will update in the background before they're opened.

Safari: New full-screen interface, with a "smart search" field with a drop-down field. It includes iCloud Keychain, enabling cloud-based password synchronization, and a brand new page navigation interface.

AirDrop: Any apps that currently support sharing, your nearby friends and colleagues will be able to receive files in near proximity. Support for multiple friend selection allows mass sharing within short distances. All transmissions are encrypted. 

Camera: New user interface design with live photo filters, à la Instagram. Photos are also organized in a far more efficient manner, such as when and where photos were taken. Photos are now organized into "moments."

Siri: A brand new voice that can be changed on the fly, with a cleaner, simpler user interface in line with the overall design aesthetic of iOS 7. It can also control more of the device, such as playing the last voicemail or switching on radios, like Bluetooth. New services have been added, including Wikipedia, Twitter, and Bing search results.

iOS in the Car: The iPhone software is now integrated with the display in your car, with "eyes free" features. Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Volvo, Jaguar and others are integrating iOS in the Car in 2014. 

App Store: New age-range categories are added to the application store, also the "Popular Near Me" location-based feature that selects the best apps depending on where you are. Background updating has also been included, allowing apps to be upgraded and fixed without manual intervention.

Music: New artist imagery, and deeper iCloud integration. Movies and TV shows are also included in your library. 

iTunes Radio: Rumored to be called iRadio, the new streaming service will launch as an ad-supported service in the U.S., with other countries coming later. Read more.

Activation lock: When an iOS 7-powered device is lost or stolen and tries to disable Find My iPhone, the smartphone will lock and can only be unlocked with the correct Apple ID credentials. This will alleviate some concerns by lawmakers who have in recent weeks complained that the smartphone industry is not doing enough to prevent smartphone-related crimes.

iOS 7 will be released in fall, when a new iPhone is expected to be announced.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad

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  • Where is my treat and surprise...?

    Or did you write that headline in anticipation of something big that has not yet been revealed?
    • Surprise!

      You been suckered into reading this article. The Apple updates are boring.
      Sean Foley
    • RE: Where is my treat and surprise...?

      @kstap - You sound like you got a kids meal without the toy!
      Treat - "fresh design", assuming you like that flavor.
      Surprise - "runs on older iPhones — as far back as the iPhone 4"
      • Except, not everything from iOS 7 is available on the iPhone 4.

        At least Siri still won't be available on the 4. Why do you kid yourself into thinking Apple doesn't "abandon" devices? I agree, it's not as bad as it is on Android, but it's certainly happening.
        • Did I miss something?

          At what point did he say that they don't abandon phones? Of course at some point older devices will not be able to handle the latest software, it's always been that way. At least with Apple iOS7 works on 3 year old devices even if not all features are available which again is very common. You sound like some many here that just want to hate Apple no matter what they do.
      • Ugly

        iOS 7 has boring odd colored icons (now larger) against a blurry un-themed background, and its Ugly. Try a Windows Phone 8 device > MUCH MORE VIBRANT.
        Sean Foley
        • hahaha

          windows pHone!
          Grace Sanchez
      • As mentioned, the older iPhones

        won't be able to use many of the newer additions beyond the look of the interface and a handful of features, as obviously the hardware isn't there, but that's pretty much the way of all things.
        William Farrel
        • older iPhones

          Will still get the new APIs, unlike WP when moving from WP7 to WP8.
          An OS release is all about the APIs -- from vendors other than Microsoft, who know what an OS and an API are, that is.
    • iOS7 surprises

      welcome to 1 year ago
      • instead of

        Welcome to 2 years ago.
        it now only 1 year ago, Surprise!
    • new fonts!

      That alone qualifies for a whole version number platform update.
    • boring?

      thats because ur a droid Fan.
      Grace Sanchez
  • So much for those worried about the flat look

    it is very subtle. Other than taking away the fake gloss-reflection on the icons, it really does not look that different.
    • So you're saying...

      "it really does not look that different."

      more of the same?
      • Why should that be a bad thing?

        Honestly, I've never understood why people feel tech needs to look dramatically different in each iteration. There are significant benefits for users when the new version looks sufficiently like the old version of something that they don't have to relearn everything.
        • I wonder ...

          ... whether negativity to this news is due largely to the fact that Apple have basically just applied a slightly different varnish to the same ol' interface. There's little to get excited about here - there's no radical update to the actual functionality and usability, nothing in the way of making icons just static visual placeholders for apps. Nothing that is 'innovative' or 'magical' ... unless you think icons that move slightly depending on how you hold the phone.

          At the end of the day, if this is all they've come out with after a year's development effort (while also having pulled OSX dev's in to help finish the work), then I'd be *very* worried about Apple's future because it looks like the innovation train has ground to a halt.
          • An interesting read on Techcrunch

            "iOS 7 Steals Mailbox’s Gestures, Sunrise’s Layout, BB10′s Back Button, WebOS’s Multitasking"

            William Farrel
          • Not forgetting...

            ...that the first thought I had when I saw the photos of iOS 7 was "oh look, they've made it look like a Samsung Galaxy S3/S4!"
            Remind me who is copying who here?

            Hardly anything new in iOS 7 - Android has had most of this sort of stuff since Gingerbread, or with launchers like Go Launcher.

            iPhone users - Welcome to 2011
            Lord Minty
          • WP and Android??

            It more looks like a b@stard of wp and android...