Last week, Apple announced the release of the latest version of its mobile OS, iOS7. I spent the weekend getting to know the new operating system, and although nothing appears to be ground-breaking, there are many welcome enhancements.
Here’s a quick look at some of the features of iOS7
This is the first time since 2007 that Apple has changed the interface in any way. The new interface in iOS7 offers an experience that is simpler, more useful, and more enjoyable. Since I installed the update, I’ve found that the new interface offers snappy performance and navigation.
I have always looked forward to new ringtones and alert sounds. I often find myself looking for newer, more exciting sounds and tones. The new tones in iOS7 are fantastic. In addition to the new tones, there is also a refresh to a little-known custom vibration menu. Hidden inside the ring tone options, “Create New Vibration” lets you tap out a custom alert rhythm of your own design.
You’ve always been able to ask Siri to run web searches, but in iOS7 the results are presented in a much smarter way. Ask Siri to look up an image and it will display top results within the interface. You can also search for tweets by name or topic, using natural language, like, “What is happening at Zumasys?” It’s a great way to stay up on the latest Zumasys news. Of course you can still pull up restaurant and movie information, as well as sports scores and the weather. Siri now comes in two flavors, male and female, so have fun with it.
A nice little hidden feature inside Safari’s Bookmarks menu is quite cool. In fact, I do not know why it’s not documented. If you click on the @ symbol inside of Bookmarks, you’ll see a list of tweets from your Twitter feed that contain links. It’s a neat way to catch up on everything that your friends and colleagues have been sharing without searching through vast numbers of tweets.
I have always looked into “jailbreaking” my phone since there were so many choices out there to “enhance the iOS.” The new Control Center has eliminated a number of additions that I once installed to do the same thing. It certainly adds some much needed functionality. If you don’t like it, you block it from inside apps or disable it from the lock screen.
I also really like the new enhancements to the multitasking menu in iOS7. The menu can be reached by double tapping the Home button or, if you’re on an iPad, swiping up with four fingers. Instead of cramming it way down at the bottom, the new multitasking menu takes up the whole screen and lets you swipe up (and away) apps that you want to close (which is helpful if any apps are giving you a hard time or freezing up). As always, you don’t have to close apps for battery saving reasons. Apple does a great job of freezing them in place so they don’t suck up your battery life.
I left this for last because it is turning out to be my favorite new feature. If you have not found this yet, you are in for a real treat. In iOS7, Apple introduces iTunes Radio, a no-limits streaming service available free via an ad-supported model or without ads if you’re an iTunes Match subscriber. iTunes Radio serves up spookily accurate recommendations based on genres and artists I like, which makes for a thoroughly enjoyable, kick-back listening experience. Apple will provide everything most users need in custom Internet radio with this new feature. iTunes Radio is also available for download in an iTunes 11 update for the desktop.
Stay tuned for more iOS7 updates, tricks, and tips in upcoming posts!
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