WWDC 2013: iOS 7 arriving this fall!

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2013 wrapped up yesterday with a number of revelations and announcements. Most notably, the new and improved iOS 7 set to release this fall is sure to bring Apple back to the competition for the most beautiful and most effective mobile operating system today. But what should we be expecting from iOS 7 when it releases? If you failed to watch the iOS 7 keynote address yesterday, worry no more as we bring you the complete details on the announcement, fresh from WWDC 2013.

Complete Interface Overhaul

iOS 7 got an overall interface overhaul from Jony Ive. Keeping the same basic structure of iOS, the new and improved operating system now features redesigned icons that have a flatter and more stylized look. Gradients were stripped out and the whole UI’s palette was given a brighter and simpler tone. Scrolling through the menus and apps also provides a subtle parallax feel. Fonts were also slimmed down, and a new version of the classic slide-to-unlock function of iOS was also introduced.

Improved UI navigation and ease-of-use

A translucent panel dubbed Control Center now slides up from the bottom for quick access to frequently used settings such as Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, flashlight, and rotation lock. You can also adjust brightness, manage music playback, and connect to AirPlay or AirDrop on the panel. Touch gestures will also be more utilized in iOS 7 with its reliance on more swiping and pinching. More so, folders are now capable of storing unlimited apps.

As far as multitasking goes for iOS 7, it is now similar to how webOS and Windows Phone behaves. Double-tapping the home button gives you large thumbnails of your apps with identifying icons underneath them. You can scroll horizontally through them, with three available on the screen at a time.

Better Notification Center

The Notification Center has also been overhauled in iOS 7. Now, the operating system allows you to access notifications from the lock screen. Notifications are now also synced between devices so there is no more need to dismiss the same update multiple times. The top of the new Notification Center features three tabs, “today,” “all,” and “missed.” The first is a bit reminiscent of Google Now: it gives you a heads-up on what’s coming up today, with calendar appointments, weather, birthday notifications, stock prices, and more. The pull-down menu is now transparent, and it features the new fonts and swipe interactions we’ve seen in the rest of the updated operating system.

AirDrop on iOS

Bringing the same feature from the Mac, AirDrop is a new way to share files over Wi-Fi on iOS. Initially available on the iPhone 5, it is a secure and encrypted means to transfer files from one iPhone to another. AirDrop could be configured to accept files from other people on the same network or just your contacts.

Redesigned Photos app

Taking design and functionality cues from other advanced apps, the Photos app on iOS automatically organizes photographs into categories called “moments”, which is based on where and when the images were taken. Photos will be then correspondingly labeled based on the moment they’re in. Increased emphasis on sharing is also evident on the redesigned app, with photos now possible to be automatically cropped into a square shape for Instagram uploads. Photostreams can also now be shared, which allows users to create streams that friends could add photos into.

Smarter App Store

The App Store, not to be left behind, is now hooked into the phone’s GPS to offer app suggestions based on your current location. More so, app updates are now made automatic similar to Android. Siri also got an overhaul, with the new version coming with male or female voice options that are both more natural-sounding than the previous one. Support for several languages is provided, as well as multiple data sources for Siri. Now, Wikipedia and Twitter could be searched for queries, with Bing coming in as Apple’s search partner for pulling web results.

Apple’s streaming music service: iTunes Radio

Not to be outdone by other streaming music services, Apple also launched today the iTunes Radio, a free albeit ad-based streaming music service that offers radio stations similar to other competing services. However, what sets Apple’s version apart is that iTunes Radio is geared more toward song purchases rather than purely streaming music. The initial version of the service is integrated into the Music app and offers selected radio stations that can be shared with your friends.

iOS invades your car

Lastly, Apple today announced that its latest iOS version will be sporting turn-by-turn directions and expanded vehicle options. A new system, dubbed “iOS in the Car”, is set to mirror your iPhone on the display found on your car, which means maps, Siri, messages and the like will be directly available to you from the car’s dashboard. However, we would have to wait before fully benefitting from this, as manufacturers will begin adding the feature to their cars in 2014.