If you missed Apple’s first WWDC in seven months (in tech years that’s like, an Inception-style limbo eternity), it was a good one. We finally got a glimpse at iOS 7 AND Apple surprised many by revealing its much anticipated iTunes Radio (what many had dubbed iRadio).
First off, iOS 7 is getting a whole redesign. Yes, that means flat apps. FLAT APPS GOT A STANDING OVATION.
“IOS 7 is the biggest thing to happen to iOS since the iPhone,” said Tim Cook.
The design itself is pretty monumental. While the apps are now flat, the home screen now has more dimension, as if the apps are suspended above your wallpaper, so that when you tilt your iPhone, you feel like you’re looking under the apps. A whole new palate of colors has been introduced, along with translucency and layers.
One of the other big updates includes the ability to go back in your history or get rid of something altogether by swiping to the right or left, echoing the ease-of-use of Mailbox, which was acquired by Dropbox earlier this year. If you’re in Safari and want to go back in your history, you can do so simply by swiping to the right. Similarly, if you want to delete an email, you can do so by swiping.
The weather app now comes with dynamic visualizations of what kind of weather you’re dealing with, so if lightning and thunder are on the agenda for the day, the app will actually show an animation of a lightning storm. Or if it’s going to snow, the app will show snow falling. And now you can zoom out to see a snapshot of the weather in all of your cities.
The Safari app is also getting a big new update. Tabs are now going to be arranged rolodex-style, so you’ll see the top portion of each tab and you can flip through them to pick the one you want. And now you won’t be limited to just eight tabs. When you want to get rid of a tab, you can just swipe to the left to delete it.
Even Siri got an update. Now you can have a male voice if you so choose (yay feminism!), and Siri is now “smarter” and can now follow commands like “play my last voicemail” or “increase my brightness.”
Naturally, the camera is getting an update and now comes with built-in filters.
But one of the more exciting updates is the Photos app. Does anyone use the Photos app? No! That’s why it’s getting updated! Now, the Photos app will automatically identify your photos by date and location, so you can easily scroll through and find pictures that you took on your family trip to the Grand Canyon, or to Colorado, or the Monterey Bay Aquarium, etc.
And you can zoom out to see photos by month, or even by the year. And each collection shows locations that were visited during that period.
The App Store is also getting a makeover, with automatic updates for everyone! And now, users can search for apps by age (great for finding games for kids) as well as location. For example, if you’re at the Louvre in Paris, you can search for “Apps Near Me” and get a list of location-based apps, like an audio tour of the Louvre, and so on.
In an interesting theft-deterrent move, iOS 7 will come with “activation block,” which means if someone steals your phone and wipes it clean, they won’t be able to activate it without your passcode.
IOS 7 is available in beta for developers today and will be released to the general public this fall.