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What to expect from iOS 7


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Apple begins its global roll-out of iOS 7 today, available to anyone using one of the latest devices (starting from the iPhone 4 and iPad 2, along with the latest generation iPod).

According to Apple the update boasts over 200 new features, but what are the changes that really matter? Here’s the low-down on what to expect before you update.

  • iOS 7The most recognisable difference will be Apple’s transition from a skeuomorphic design, to a “flat” design. The old scheme is often considered more traditional, where the icons featured on certain mobile apps mimic real-world objects. This is now being scrapped with iOS 7, as Apple hopes to embrace a more simplistic design with a brand new colour palate. iOS 7 gets rid of the 3D effects and dropped shadows, instead favouring flat, colourful icons, and layered tabs.
  • Probably the most useful feature, to any regular user, will be the control centre. This new feature will allow users to swipe up at any time, and subsequently be presented with a settings panel. The easy-to-access panel will make it easier to change the brightness and volume, along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other settings. The control centre will also feature a torch button, activating the LED flash on the front of the device.
  • The control centre is being described as having a “frosted-glass” or “translucent” design, whereby the background colour shines through to the fore. This is just one of the ways in which iOS 7 introduces depth to the interface, and it also means that the choice of background image can potentially affect how the device looks and feels across the entire system. In addition, double clicking the home button will bring up full-page previews of apps that are currently running.
  • Siri will be officially stripped of the “beta” label, and will be upgraded with new male and female voices. The personal assistant will now be able to understand US English, French, and German, whilst Twitter and Wikipedia will also be integrated into the system.
  • Safari will be redesigned for full-screen surfing, and a new smart search field will better recommend options. The update will also offer better navigation through tabs and pages, and users will simply switch windows with a 3D scrolling effect. The browser is no longer limited to just eight tabs, either.
  • The camera will be given a black and white makeover, and users will be given the option to use a filter. The updated photo album will organise photographs by time and location too, so holiday snaps from one special weekend will be grouped together.
  • The iTunes Radio will only be available to US customers, but it will essentially be an online radio service featuring over 200 stations. Users will then be able to purchase that specific track with the tap of a button. Whilst this isn’t available to customers in the UK quite yet, it does appear to be a pretty big step for radio on the whole.
Whilst Apple is quick to boast about iOS 7’s 200 updates, the wide majority of these will be relatively minor background tweaks. The more imposing updates, such as the design transition, will also be incredibly daring at the same time. The overall look of iOS hasn’t changed a great deal since Apple debuted their mobile system in 2007, and this is the most significant upgrade to date. People are often wary of change, and Apple must be careful to keep users happy, whilst also moving forward with new, fresh ideas.

Whilst iOS 7 is new territory for all of us, it’s also strangely familiar – and that’s the remarkable balance that Apple has managed to strike.

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