Apple iOS 7 - A fresh take on Apple's mobile OS

Coming this fall, Apple's iOS 7 makes the mobile experience faster and simpler. Apple's most advanced mobile OS features a redesigned interface that makes built-in apps look sleek yet familiar, along with new features that are innovative yet intuitive. Apple builds on all the features you love about iOS, so when the time comes to upgrade to iOS 7, you won't have to worry about the learning curve.

Some of the biggest changes brought by iOS 7 are visible in the user interface. Tech experts at Gizmodo have pinpointed the main difference between the interfaces on old iOS versions and iOS 7, saying that "... the icons, apps, and homescreen of iOS 7 are full of layering and dimensionality." Graphics technology in the iOS 7 interface, both Gizmodo and Apple Insider have noted, enable a motion-controlled parallax effect that makes layering visible when the device is tilted at different angles.

According to Apple Insider, this innovative layering technology also powers some of iOS 7's new features, including the Control Center, Notification Center, and the enhanced Siri, all of which provide temporary foreground interfaces with translucent backgrounds.

Swiping up from any screen provides access to the Control Center. A newly developed feature, Control Center lets you quickly access and toggle commonly used controls, such as turning WiFi or Bluetooth on or off, controlling visibility on AirDrop for iOS, switching to Airplane or Do Not Disturb mode, and adjusting the brightness of the display. Through the Control Center, you can also access the flashlight, timer, calculator, and camera apps in a matter of seconds.

Swiping down from any screen, including the lock screen, brings up the Notification Center, which gives you an overview of your phone’s activity, including missed calls, text messages, birthday reminders, and tasks. The ‘Today’ tab gives you a rundown of all the notifications you received that day, while the ‘Missed’ tab summarizes the calls, text messages, and reminders you might have skipped over during the day.

Double-tapping the home button, on the other hand, brings up Siri. In iOS 7, Siri is quicker to response to questions and taps into more sources, including Wikipedia and Twitter, to answer your questions. Siri’s speech pattern is also more natural, making it easier to understand.

Apple’s advanced graphics technology is also evident in iOS 7’s redesigned Photos interface. According to Apple Insider, “Apple addressed the issue with advanced hardware acceleration techniques used throughout the interface to provide an instantly responsive experience.” iOS 7 groups photos into Moments, Collections, and Years based on time and GPS location data. Each photo is tagged as a Moment, with Collections comprising multiple Moments and Years consisting of various Collections.

The Camera app also gets a revamp, with all available shooting formats along the bottom of the screen, to enable switching between formats as needed. Filters can also be applied to still and square photos even before they’re taken.

App icons are also designed to be cohesive with iOS 7’s no-frills look. The same is true for the redesigned interfaces on stock apps such as Safari and the App Store. “Safari got a bump, as well, with a new cleaner, full screen browsing.” Engadget says. In the new Safari’s streamlined interface, buttons and bars, including the unified smart search field, remain hidden until you scroll over them. This design allows the browser to display as much content as possible.

The feel of simplicity is also carried over to Safari’s functions. Swiping to the left or right takes you back or forward a page, while the Reading List and Shared Links are easier to access. Open tabs can be viewed on one screen and closed by swipe gestures.

The App Store also features a couple of new functions. Apps Near Me lists location-relevant apps, ideal for travelers and vacationers. The App Store’s new Kids category features kid-friendly apps based on age, as well.

iOS 7’s aim to simplify the user experience extends to the functionalities of numerous stock apps, as well. Pressing the Home button twice provides a preview of all open apps; closing a certain app simply requires swiping its thumbnail up and out. In Mail, sliding gestures can be used to move items to trash, while sharing photos, videos, and documents with other iOS devices is as easy as creating a shared stream on iCloud. AirDrop on iOS also makes for convenient file sharing with iOS devices in close proximity, through encrypted WiFi and Bluetooth transfers. Sharing information to another device is as easy as hitting the Share button on apps.

Device protection has also been streamlined. Safari now makes online transactions more secure, through 256-bit AES encryption. Through iCloud, Safari remembers account names, passwords, and credit card numbers and enters the information whenever needed, with syncing capabilities across iOS 7 devices and devices running OS X Mavericks. In case of irretrievable loss or theft, iOS 7 prevents unauthorized device use through Find My iPhone.