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iOS 7 Unveiled: A Brighter, More Beautiful Mobile OS

Sep 10 2013 - 10:24am

At today's Apple September spectacular event in Cupertino, the company announced that iOS 7 [1], unveiled at WWDC 2013, will be out Sept. 18 for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad Mini, and iPod Touch (5th generation). The mobile OS is indeed "black, white, and flat all over" [2] as suspected. But Apple's WWDC keynote revealed an even more dramatic overhaul to the mobile operating system, which was redesigned with new typography, colors, animations, a one-tap control panel, notifications, all over transparency, and distinct layers that give the UI a sense of "hierarchy and order."

New features like multitasking for all apps and battery-life saving upgrades are much needed additions to the mobile platform, but the most noticeable changes in iOS 7 are to the operating system's built-in apps. AirDrop, Camera, Safari, Siri, and, a completely new music player, iTunes Radio, are now packed with features seen in Android and popular apps. In the gallery, hover over the images to zoom in on iOS 7 from all angles.

How major is iOS 7? "It's the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone," Apple CEO Tim Cook noted at WWDC 2013. Apple unveiled the latest mobile operating system on Monday, iOS 7, a project spearheaded by the legendary Jony Ive, the company's senior VP of design who believes strongly in the "enduring beauty of simplicity."

New Icons

The new look features brightly colored, redesigned icons.


Translucency is one of iOS 7's major design themes. The transparent layers give the app a "sense of context," according to Jony Ive. The apps now "respond to the environment," reflecting the color of the wallpaper or the web page you are browsing beneath.


Jony Ive said that iOS 7 has "distinct layers to give the design a sense of hierarchy and order." As a result, the mobile OS feels less cluttered.

Control Center

Swiping from the bottom expands the Control Center, which gives iOS users quick access to the most popular settings like Airplane Mode, Wireless Bluetooth, Silent Mode, and Lock Orientation (similar to the Android OS).

Control Center

There's also an AirDrop, AirPlay, a new flashlight mode, timer, calculator, and camera buttons in Control Center, as well as volume adjustment.

Control Center

Users can easily change screen brightness and, if a song is playing, skip forward or scrub ahead.

Notification Center

Swiping down from the top reveals the new transparent notifications shade, which offers the same push notifications in a cleaner format. They are now organized by Today, All, or Missed (texts or calls).

Grid System

iOS 7 was designed with a new grid system in mind to give the platform more uniformity, precision, and purpose.

Grid System

The typography has changed to Helvetica Neue Ultra Light, which conforms to Jony Ive's belief in the "enduring beauty" of simplicity.

"New but Familiar"

Most of the redesign will feel "new but familiar," says Jony, in that the features iOS users know and love will still be intact.

Lock Screen

The Lock Screen has changed slightly as well. Notifications will now appear in the lock screen.

Feature: Multitasking

One of iOS 7's marquee features is multitasking for all apps. Like the Android OS, users can swipe through the windows of current applications to quickly move from one app to the other.

Feature: Multitasking

Multitasking in iOS 7 is now smarter, and fetches notifications based on networking speeds to save the device's battery life.

Feature: Activation Lock

Find My iPhone, a feature that locates devices in case of theft or loss, now has an advanced Activation Lock feature that disables the phone if the thief attempts to wipe or delete the Find My iPhone app.

Feature: Activation Lock

As a theft deterrent, an iCloud log in is necessary to activate the iPhone on a cellular network after wiping or deleting Find my iPhone.

Feature: App Store

Apps are now automatically updated in iOS 7 . . . no more red balloons on the App Store icon reminding you how many of your apps need updating!

App: Safari

Apple's mobile browser has a new full screen mode, with a brighter white browser. This is a demo of swipe from left, a gesture that navigates back to the previous page.

App: Camera

Rather than an endless stream of photos in a Camera Roll, images are organized chronologically as Moments or by location as Collections.

App: Camera

There are also built-in filter features, that can display an image preview live from the camera.

App: AirDrop

Apple's response to the Android "bump" is AirDop for iOS, which, like the desktop version, allows users to share instantly with nearby contacts.

App: Clock

The redesigned clock app features the dominant white theme, reported in pre-WWDC rumors.

App: Weather

Weather showcases the redesign's Helvetica Neue Ultra Light font front and center, with new animations of current conditions.

App: Clock

Clock for iOS has the same format as the current app.

App: Calendar

Calendar now has a cleaner, Helvetica-dominant look that resembles the new desktop version. Facebook events can be integrated, and event details will automatically pull in current weather conditions of the location.

App: Reminders

Reminders features the new palette of colors and a design that is more coherent with the rest of the iOS 7 user interface.


Apple's voice-enabled personal assistant has a new option for a male voice, and additional support for French and German languages.

Feature: iOS Car Integration

An exciting announcement is iOS in the Car, which integrates messages, calls, maps, and music right into the vehicle's dashboard.

Feature: iOS Car Integration

Expect to see iOS in the Car in 2014.

Feature: iOS Car Integration

These are the car makers who are slated to integrate iOS into vehicle dashboards in 2014.

iOS 7 Compatibility

The devices compatible with the latest and greatest iOS are: iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini, and 5th generation iPod Touch. iOS 7 is due to arrive this Fall.

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