Since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, Apple’s popular handsets have been running some version of the company’s mobile operating system known as iOS. Most iPhone users are currently running iOS 6, but many people may not be able to tell much of a difference between iOS 6 and the original version of the OS which debuted in 2007. In less than 24 hours (maybe even less than 12 hours) that will change, for tomorrow millions of iPhones around the world will be updated to Apple’s latest and greatest version of iOS, iOS 7.
I have been using the GM (Gold Master) version of iOS 7 since it was released shortly after Apple’s iPhone Event last Tuesday. Simply put, the Gold Master version is the final build of the OS that Apple sends to developers ahead of its public launch. To say I’m impressed with Apple’s new take on their iconic mobile OS would be the understatement of the century.
Based on my experience with iOS7 over the past week, I have chosen 5 new features from iOS 7 that I think people will love.
In iOS 7 Apple brings AirDrop to your iPhone. This is a handy feature that allows you to share photos, videos or documents with anyone near you that has an iPhone (or iPad 4 and newer) and it’s done so with a single screen tap. My girlfriend and I went on a little vacation this past weekend and we used AirDrop often to quickly send pictures to each other.
Another helpful aspect of AirDrop is that no matter what type of file you’re sending, AirDrop will store it in the correct location from the start. For example, currently in iMessage to simply send a picture one has to select the picture, select the contact and then send it. If the recipient wants to save the picture they have to open the picture then tap the “save camera roll” button. AirDrop streamlines this process, allowing you to send the picture and it will import it directly into the recipients photos. Likewise, this works with video and document sharing as well.
A quick Control Center that is easily accessible from anywhere on your iPhone is a feature that iOS has been lacking for quite some time. Thanks to iOS 7, this complaint is now history. It may have been a somewhat copied feature from the Android OS, but how else would you expect Apple to do this feature? Control Center brings instant access to things like your brightness, a flashlight, your camera and calculator as well as toggle switches for WiFi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb mode and others. I have been using this feature a lot in the past few days and I must say it’s wonderful to have, easy to use and most importantly gives FAST access to these controls. This may be my favorite feature of iOS 7 thus far.
Updates to Siri
Apple has had Siri in Beta (development) form since they launched her on the iPhone 4s back in 2010. iOS 7 brings an end to Siri’s Beta run and brings about many welcomed changes to this popular mobile assistant. I was a fan of Siri from the time the software was launched and I use her on a daily basis for things such as scheduling calendar appointments, setting alarms, timers and reminders. I’m a big proponent of the “It can wait” campaign, so naturally I use Siri a lot when I’m in my car as well. I use her to send, read and reply to my messages and control my music. Adding onto these useful features, Siri can now do things like adjust your screen’s brightness, or turn on/off your Bluetooth or WiFi. She also has a new voice that’s so lifelike, it’s borderline creepy. Some of Siri’s improvements may be a bit overdue, but I choose not to focus on that and just appreciate that Siri is now more useful and functional than ever.
A Redesigned Music App/iTunes Radio
The music app in iOS 7 brings a great new look to the most popular music player in the world, as well as many welcome new features. To start, the app looks a lot sleeker and more personal. Now as you’re scrolling through your library by way of the “Artists” tab you will notice artist pictures taken from iTunes. If you have one album from that artist, the picture may be of that album artwork, but for artists that you have multiple albums for, it uses an image of the artist of band.
iOS 7 also brings iTunes Radio into the picture. iTunes Radio is Apple’s first attempt to get into the booming industry of streaming music where Apps like Pandora and Spotify have been very successful. Apple mostly gets iTunes Radio right. The UI is easy on the eyes and the application functions well and provides a wide library of music. iTunes Radio is free with ads and there will also be a paid version that will be ad free and provides the user with unlimited skips. iTunes Match subscribes receive the paid version of iTunes Radio for free.
A Functional Clock App Icon/Hiding the Newsstand App
This feature may not sound like a big deal, (and it’s really not) but I never understood why the clock application icon in iOS 1 through 6 was not a functional clock. The calendar app icon has always changed with the day, so wouldn’t it make sense for the clock to work? In iOS 7 the clock icon is fully functional right down to a sweeping second hand! Also, you can now hide the Newsstand app!! (I’ll pause and let you celebrate…) Okay.
Those were just five features I wanted to highlight, though I am very impressed with iOS 7 and all of the new features and improvements it brings. Apple has done something very special with iOS 7. They have managed to design a new OS that looks and works differently than previous versions on iOS, but you still know how to use it from the second you pick up a device running iOS 7. I’m also very excited to see what the future of application design in iOS 7 holds. A number of apps have already been updated for iOS 7 ahead of its public release and they look great and function well. On September 18th old iPhones will feel new to many owners and Apple will once again give us a great mobile operating system.