Apple is calling iOS 7 the "biggest change" to the iPhone since the iPhone was originally introduced -- and from the looks of things that's no exaggeration.
At the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday in San Francisco, Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, announced all the new features that will be available to iPhone users via the new iOS, which will be released to the public this fall.
Folders can now hold hundreds of apps, rather than just a few. iOS7 will also include a new feature called the Control Center, which will hold all of the phone's functions that users need most often, including brightness, Wi-Fi and the flashlight.
iOS7 has a better capacity for multitasking, Cue said at WWDC on Monday. Apps will now update in the background while users have a strong Wi-Fi signal, without draining the phone's battery.
Safari now has an improved full-screen mode and a more attractive interface. You can now also search right in the address bar instead of in a separate search bar.
iOS7's updated Camera app is now "four cameras in one," Cue said, with video, photo, square photo, and panoramic photo options. The camera app will also add multiple photo filters, potentially trying to profit off Instagram's popularity. The new Photos app will automatically organize photos into collections and "moments," instead of just dumping them all into an album together. Sharing photos and videos is also simpler thanks to improvements to iCloud photo sharing and the introduction of Airdrop, which allows users to share photos (without having to physically bump devices, like Samsung).
The new iOS will feature Siri with a new interface and a new voice. Siri can now speak in a male voice as well as a female voice, and can understand a greater range of commands, including, for example, "play last voicemail," "increase brightness," and "tell me about surfing."
"iOS in the car" will come to a wide range of cars in 2014. This will put the iPhone screen on your car's dashboard, allowing you to make calls, recite text messages, have text messages read to you, use Apple Maps and listen to iTunes music, among other features.
The App Store will now have an "apps near me" feature that shows users the most popular apps based on his or her location. Users will also be able to search for apps by suggested age. The most exciting change to the app store, at least for John McCain, is that apps will update automatically.
The music app will have a new look with artist images. Apple also introduced iTunes Radio, a new streaming music service, on Monday.
FaceTime audio will allow audio-only calls through Wi-Fi with iOS7. These calls will not use any phone minutes from the user's service plan.
iOS7 will sync notifications between devices so users are no longer bothered by multiple notifications.
The iPhone will also offer a simple way to block unwanted phone calls, FaceTime calls, and messages. Apple is also introducing "activation lock" to fight iPhone theft. This new feature locks phones when they are lost or stolen. “We think this is going to be a really powerful theft deterrent,” Apple software VP Craig Federighi said.
iOS7 is available in beta for developers on iPhone immediately, and for everyone else this fall.
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