Last night Apple unveiled the newest iPad and iPhone operating system, iOS 7, to rapturous applause.
As expected, iOS 7 is a radical departure for Apple and represents a complete change in the way users will operate their devices. The new software was demonstrated to 6,000 developers at the WWDC event, plus many hundreds of thousands watching online.
The new operating system was designed by Sir Jonathan Ive, the man who designs Apple’s hardware, and his influence has resulted in flatter shapes, fewer glassy effects and a more colourful range of icons. iOS 7 also uses transparent backgrounds and a parallax effect which makes icons appear to float above the wallpaper. Thankfully, it doesn’t look as much like Windows 8 as we’d feared.
Apple has also added a new shortcut bar, Control Center, which users can access by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. From there, they can start and stop music, switch connections on and off or transfer files.
In terms of functionality, there were some new and welcome changes. AirDrop, Apple’s file transfer system, has been added to iOS, making file transfer between iPads, iPhones and laptop computers really simple. Siri has a new voice and interface, and it can adjust phone settings using voice commands. The App Store will now automatically download updates instead of requiring the user to intervene, an improvement that most iOS lovers will really appreciate. And the Weather app has also been redesigned with live wallpaper and a stacked world clock feature.
The new iOS 7 is expected to be launched alongside the new iPad and iPad mini or a new iPhone, although we’re not clear on the specs for these, so they’re still some way off. The best guess we have for release is September. Right now, developers can download iOS 7 as a beta release and start preparing their apps for the launch.