During this morning keynote’s, company execs walked users through some of the biggest changes arriving from Apple, which includes a spanking new iOS 7, and new hardware in the form of Macbook Airs and which launches in beta for iPhone developers today, with a larger public release expected this fall.
Apple has officially taken the wraps off of iOS 7 at its Worldwide Developer Conference today. iOS 7 is the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system that debuted back in 2007 on the original iPhone. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, iOS 7 is the biggest change to the platform since the iPhone was introduced five years ago. The new design is evident in everything from sharper, flatter icons, slimmer fonts, a new slide-to-unlock function, and a new control panel that slides up from the bottom of the screen for frequently accessed settings. The stock apps have all been redesigned — including a major revamp of the weather app with new animations that are scarily reminiscent of Yahoo’s great-looking Weather app graphics.
The new design is a breath of fresh air. This opens up all manner of possibilities, especially with the whole animation and parallex effect to give the screen that additional layer of depth. I’m excited because it’s new. And fresh.
Here are some of the best new features and updates you can expect when iOS 7 ships later this year.
Control Center is the name of the new swipe-up menu that gives you quick access to commonly used functions. “Stolen” from Android.
Multitasking has been upgraded with support for all apps, not just the limited services or stock apps. The new card-based multitasking interface seems to webOS with large previews of each app.
Apple’s Safari mobile browser now features improved full-screen browsing, gesture-based navigation, and a new flipping card-tab overview that is very similar to the interface in Google’s Chrome for iOS and Android. The separate search bar is gone and you can now perform searches right from the address bar. Just like Google’s Chrome.
AirDrop is a new feature in iOS 7 that lets you share content with other iOS users through the Control Center. It lets you share with other users who are close by, and tells you who you can send content to right within Control Center. This is Apple’s answer to Samsung’s group sharing features and the tap-based NFC sharing supported by other platforms. It works on the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, fourth-generation iPad, and iPad mini.
Camera and Photos
The camera has been refreshed with improved UI, square photo framing, and new filters. Also upgraded is the Photos app, which features the same flat redesign as other stock apps. Photos’s new Moments feature organizes images by time and location, and can provide an overview of all of the pictures you’ve taken in a particular year. It also has gesture-based pop-up previews of images that you bring up by sliding your finger across the grid of images.
Siri in iOS 7 features a predictably flat new interface (no more linen!), and has been upgraded with new voices, so you can choose from either a female or male voice in English, French, or German, with more languages added over time. Siri can now control functions such as toggling Bluetooth or controlling brightness and playing back voicemail messages. There’s also future integration with cars as well.
One of the biggest upgrades to iOS 7 is in the new music player, which features a brand-new user interface and Apple’s new iTunes Radio service — the company’s answer to streaming music services such as Spotify, Rdio, and Google Music All Access. It’s provided for free with ads, but iTunes Match subscribers can listen to it ad-free. It will be available in the US to start.
Other new features for iOS 7 include notification sync across devices, means no separate notifications across your iPads and iPhones. Google should do something like this too.
iOS7 will be available for the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and the fifth-generation iPod touch. Developers can download a beta version on the iPhone today, while the rest of us will have to wait for its official release later this fall.
New MacBook Air and Mac Pro
After years of waiting, Apple has finally pulled the wraps off of the newest incarnation of the Mac Pro, giving eager developers and journalists a sneak peek at the desktop workstation. Specs aside, the Mac Pro shocked most of us with its radical design. The cylindrical chassis stands only 9.9 inches tall, with a 6.6-inch diameter, making it dramatically smaller than the previous model, which measured 20.1 by 8.1 by 18.7 inches (HWD). Despite the considerably more compact design, Apple touted the new Mac Pro as having all the necessary hardware and even more expandability than the previous model.
No new looks for the Macbook Air though. The sleek and slim MacBook Air has long been a flagship product for Apple, and it retains the same physical design. While the look remains the same, Apple’s not resting on its laurels with the MacBook Air, the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs are being updated with Intel’s just announced 4th-gen processors, better battery life, and larger, faster flash storage. They are ready for shipping, and you can start your orders directly from Apple Store in Singapore. Expected to ship in a few days time once iDA gives the go-ahead.