Apple Gives iOS an Entirely New Look and Feel
Apple’s long product silence ended this morning at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote with the debut of a number of new products, among them iOS 7, the latest iteration of the mobile operating on which the iPhone and iPad run.
Unveiled by CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, the next generation OS is a significant departure from its predecessors, featuring a “de-glitzed,” flatter design, as we previously reported. “It’s the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iPhone,” Cook said.
iOS 7 appears to be a complete reimagining of the operating system. It features an entirely new color palette, new icons, new typography and a new structure, as well. In a video introduction that preceded the onstage demo, Apple SVP of Industrial Design Jony Ive — who was charged with overseeing all of the company’s interface design last fall — described iOS 7 as an operating system defined by an “absence of clutter and ornamentation.”
“I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency,” Ive said “In many ways, we’ve tried to create an interface that is unobtrusive and deferential.”
Sounds great, but what does it mean practically?
Foremost, iOS 7 is a comprehensive end-to-end redesign of iOS, one that forgoes the skeuomorphic flourishes that called to mind real-world objects in previous iterations of the OS, in favor of a more elegant, spartan design language. But that redesign also extends deep into the operating system’s innards. It has got all manner of functional layers, including a card-based multitasking system intended to help establish hierarchy and order among open apps and documents. Also on board:
- A redesigned Notification Center.
- A new Control Center that offers users quick access to commonly used functions.
- A mobile version of Air Drop that allows document sharing between iOS devices and Macs.
- An updated version of the mobile Safari browser with a smart search bar to enter URLs or search different engines.
- New camera filters.
- A new Photos app that organizes pictures according to moments.
- A smarter Siri, with a new interface and new voices (male and female) and languages.
- iOS in the Car, which integrates Apple’s mobile system into automobiles built for the next model year.
- Automatic app updates via the App Store.
- A new feature called “activation lock” that prevents a stolen phone from being re-activated even if a device is wiped.
- And, finally, the long-rumored streaming music service, iTunes Radio — free with ads, and ad-free for those with Apple’s paid iTunes Match service.
Said Federighi, “Installing iOS 7 on your phone is like getting a whole new phone — but one that you know how to use.”
Apple is making iOS 7 available to developers as a beta for iPhone today. A similar beta for iPad will follow and the finished OS will ship to consumers this fall.
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