iOS gets its biggest facelift since the launch of the iPhone, say hi to iTunes Radio

10 Jun 20135 Shares

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Apple has taken the wraps off the long awaited new-look iOS 7 operating system revealing a beautiful new, colourful and intelligent interface that in the words of Sir Jony Ive brings order to complexity in the smartphone world.

Not only has Apple gone with a flat design for its logos but there’s an opulence and grandness to its vision of what operating systems can do on smartphone devices. Not only were we looking at icons, we were looking behind the icons and discovering potential new orders of context to the information on the small screen.

Apple CEO Tim Cook proudly proclaimed that to date Apple has sold more than 600m iOS devices. He cited research that showed iOS users spent 50pc more of their time on iOS devices compared with Android users.

Cook also announced that over 90pc of users are using the latest version of iOS. “With Android it’s a bleak story with over one-third still using the version released in 2010.”

Demonstrating the new OS, Apple’s chief designer Sir Jony Ive said the new mobile OS adds a sense of depth and vitality.

“In many ways we tried to create an interface that is unobtrusive and deferential. That receives and elevates content. The very act of changing wallpaper effects way content looks and feels across the system,” Ives said.

Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said that while the OS is completely new it is designed to be instantly familiar and at the same time take advantage of every pixel on the Retina display. “In the Game Center we completely ran out of green felt,” he joked.

“When you look at apps like Stocks and Compass you get a sense of precision.”

He revealed that users can now store multiple pages of apps within folders and that the Notification Center appears now upon the lockscreen of iPhone and iPad devices.

All apps are now capable of multi-tasking, he said, adding that the OS builds on the multitasking capabilities of OS X.

The iOS 7 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com.

iOS 7 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and later devices, iPad 2 and later devices as well as iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation) this Autumn.

Introducing iTunes Radio

iOS 7 flat

The typography on the device has been refined for a cleaner, simpler look, and the use of translucency and motion makes even simple tasks more engaging. iOS 7 has hundreds of great new features, including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Safari, Siri and introduces iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on the music you listen to on iTunes.

A new feature called Control Center allows with just one swipe from the bottom of your screen access to controls for Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Do Not Disturb, and the ability to adjust screen brightness, pause or play a song, jump to the next track and stream your music with AirPlay. Control Center also gives you instant access to apps such as Clock, Camera, Calculator and the Flashlight.

AirDrop is an entirely new way to quickly and easily share content with people nearby. When you’ve got something you want to share, AirDrop shows you your contacts close by. Just select who you want to share with and AirDrop does the rest. AirDrop transfers are peer-to-peer so you can use it anywhere, without any network or set up required, and transfers are fully encrypted so your content is protected and private.

iOS 7 includes a redesigned Photos app that introduces Moments, a new way to automatically organise your photos and videos based on time and location. You can zoom out to see all your photos organised by Moments, Collections of Moments and Years.

Safari’s redesigned user interface lets you see more of your content—starting with full-screen browsing. The new smart search field helps simplify searching, and there’s a new view for your bookmarks and your Safari tabs.

With iCloud Keychain, your passwords and credit card information are securely stored and available on all your devices, so navigating password protected sites or autofilling during transactions is simple and secure. Enhanced Parental Controls allow you to automatically block access to adult websites or only allow access to a specific set of permitted websites.

Siri comes with new male and female voices and includes Twitter search integration, so you can ask Siri what people are saying on Twitter.

Siri also now has Wikipedia integration, providing access to the world’s most popular Internet reference site. Siri offers Bing web search within the app and the ability to change device settings and play back voicemail.

The Music app has a beautiful new design and includes the new iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service featuring over 200 stations and an incredible catalog of music from the iTunes Store, combined with features only iTunes can deliver. iTunes Radio is the best way to discover new music.

“iTunes Radio is an incredible way to listen to personalised radio stations which have been created just for you,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

“It’s the music you love most and the music you’re going to love, and you can easily buy it from the iTunes Store with just one click.”

When you tune into iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC or Apple TV, you’ll have access to stations inspired by the music you already listen to, Featured Stations curated by Apple and genre-focused stations that are personalised just for you. iTunes Radio evolves based on the music you play and download. The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalised your experience becomes.

iTunes Radio also gives you access to exclusive “first listen” premieres from top selling artists, Siri integration plus the ability to buy anything you hear with just one tap.

Additional new iOS 7 features include:

·      a new Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature that requires your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased;

·      Night Mode in Maps that responds to ambient light when you use it in the dark;
FaceTime audio for high quality calls over a data network;

·      Notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device it is dismissed on all of your devices;

·      Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking to prevent specific people from being able to contact you;

·      Tencent Weibo support for users in China, a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary, and improved Chinese input including handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters;

·      the ability for businesses to more efficiently deploy and manage iPhones and iPads; and

·      enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.

iOS 7 family

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com