Apple’s future is mobile, and the company’s mobile platform just got a fresh new look. The WWDC keynote is currently underway and amid the flurry of announcements from today’s show, Apple just debuted iOS 7, the latest version of its wildly successful mobile platform. Apple said that it has now sold more than 600 million iOS devices — that’s roughly one iOS device for every 11 people on the planet — but it’s just getting started. With iOS 7, Apple has overhauled the iOS user interface for the first time in nearly six years.
Be sure to check out our analysis: Does iOS 7 make Apple exciting again?
Apple is billing iOS 7 as “the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone.” The entire interface has been overhauled with a flatter look that replaces all of the life-like textures, with a flatter minimalistic look, as had been rumored. It also features a huge number of new additions.
Some highlights among the new features Apple unveiled on Monday:
- UI motion response: Apple’s new UI responds to the device’s movements and creates a 3D effect that moves the perspective and shadows on the screen as the device moves in the user’s hand. The result is an effect that makes it look like the user is looking into 3D environment.
- The new Mail app now includes gestures to flip from a message back to the inbox view, for example, and swiping messages to the side now includes a two-stage menu that allows users to delete a message or open additional options.
- Notification Center is now available on the lock screen.
- Control Center: Apple has finally made settings toggles and other items available from anywhere on the device. Simply swipe up from the bottom of a device and Control Center appears on the display, as seen below.
- Enhanced multitasking: Apple is opening up multitasking to all apps. iOS 7 will use an intelligent scheduling service to monitor apps and services and only perform background functions when apps need them. Push notifications can also trigger background functions so data is already refreshed by the time an app opens. In addition, there is a brand new multitasking UI for switching between apps.
- Safari has been overhauled with a brand new interface, a new full-screen more, a smart search field and more.
- AirDrop: “The easiest way to share with the people around you.” AirDrop is Apple’s Wi-Fi Direct rebranding that allows users to wirelessly share files over short distances.
- Camera: The new iOS camera is four cameras in one — still camera, video camera, panoramic camera and a square camera with Instagram-like filters. There is also an overhauled Photos app that automatically organizes photos by date and location instead of keeping all images in one giant camera roll.
- Siri has a revamped interface and results are displayed in a whole new way. Wikipedia and Bing are also now integrated with Siri, and there are several other new features.
- iOS in the Car: Apple introduced a whole new level of car integration for iOS that allows auto makers to display iOS on the in-built screens in their cars.
- The App Store now includes a refreshed UI that matches the rest of the new iOS 7 interface, and it also includes new discovery features that show popular apps based on a user’s location. The App Store will also now update apps automatically, which will be a welcome addition for iOS users.
- iTunes Radio: Apple’s new music streaming service is built right into the iOS Music app. iTunes Radio includes a number of curated stations and users can create their own custom stations as well that function just like Pandora stations. The service also syncs across devices to make users’ stations available on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch,
Apple TVand Mac devices. The service is free with ads, or it is included in Apple’s iTunes Match service, which costs $24.99 per year.
There are a number of other new features in iOS 7, including phone call, FaceTime and Message blocking and more than 1,500 new APIs. The first iOS 7 beta will be available on Monday for developers and a full public launch is slated for this coming fall.