Today’s the day, June 10, 2013, that Apple finally lifted the lid on the next version of what it enthusiastically calls “the world’s most advanced mobile operating system”.
Meet: iOS 7. It’s described as the “the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iPhone”, which was – of course – waaaay back in 2007. Cripes.
Before getting down to the iOS 7-related nitty-gritty, Tim Cook blessed us with even more mind-bending Apple stats. Yes, that’s in addition to the ones I relayed earlier.
For starters, we have 600 million iOS devices sold, which is a pretty big leap from the 365 million reported in April 2012.
Despite Android’s dominance in smartphone market share, mobile web share looks like 60% iOS vs. 24% Android.
In the world of tablets, it’s 82% iPad vs. 18% other. Cook previously quipped: "I don't know what these other tablets are doing. They must be in warehouses or store shelves or maybe in peoples' bottom drawer."
Comparing iOS versions to Android is largely meaningless (given the huuuuuge number of Android devices and the resultant issues with keeping them all up to date), but Cook was keen to point out: “More than a third of Android users are using an operating system that was released in 2010!” Yeah, it’s pretty bad when you put it like that.
Android to one side, Jony Ive took to the stage to introduce iOS 7, beginning: "I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It's about bringing order to complexity."
That’s all well and good, Jony. But what’s new in iOS 7?
For starters, swipe up from the bottom for translucent controls for things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode and brightness. Like!
There’s also true multitasking, with things like your Facebook NewsFeed updating automatically in the background so it’s ready to rock when you open it. The iOS 7 multitasking interface sounds very much like Auxo from Cydia (for jailbroken users). If so: GOOD.
Safari on iOS 7 now has stacked tabs, instead of the frankly god-awful system we’ve had to date – one that drove me to Chrome. Oh, and there’s no longer an 8-page limit.
iOS 7 also introduces an all-new feature called Air Drop, which makes it easier to share photos with friends, though it’ll be limited to the latest generation of iDevices (iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini and iPod touch fifth gen).
As for photos, there are integrated camera filters in iOS 7, and people can now add to your Photo Streams. Photos are grouped into “moments”, and categorised by date and time.
Moving onto Siri (does anyone actually use it?), there’s support for new commands such as “Play my last voicemail” and “Turn on Bluetooth”.
Another feature making its debut in iOS 7 is automatic app updates. Not too sure how I feel about that, since I managed to lose several GB the other day on my iPad by accidentally hitting “Update All”. Hmm.
Other random iOS 7 features include the ability to block iMessage contacts, and video-free Facetime.
Activation Lock has a neat feature that disables the iPhone if a thief attempts to turn it off, or if he/she wipes the device. You have to sign in again to reactivate the iPhone.
As for iOS 7 iDevice compatibility, it’s coming to the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini and fifth gen iPod touch.
The iOS 7 release date is pegged for “fall”, which is probably when we’ll see the iPhone 5S. No "One more thing..." today.