Apple Unveils iOS 7, New Design, and Mobile Apps at 2013 WWDC Keynote
If it just wasn’t feasible for you to spend two hours of your workday watching the video stream, checking Twitter, or reading live blogs, here’s the skinny on the revamped design and upgraded apps for the iPhone and the new iOS that Apple revealed at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.
Although there was no mention of any new hardware for the next generation of the iPhone or iPad, mobile device users did get one very significant announcement from Apple’s developers conference—iOS 7. Not only does the new mobile operating system have a totally new look, but it also revamps some of the core apps.
First off, when it comes to design for mobile devices, the world is flat. As many predicted, the new look of Apple skews away from skeuomorphism (no more ugly, yellow lined “paper” for the Notepad) and instead features a flatter design. Clean lines and simplified, two-dimensional icons will represent the next generation of iPhone and iPad apps, as will some bright, neon colors. The screen has a translucent effect that changes as you move your mobile device in your hand, allowing you to see your background through the app icons at some angles, as does the keyboard. And the text throughout is in a slender sans serif font that looks like Helvetica Neue.
But for most, the new features were more exciting than the new look of iOS 7. The lock screen got its first makeover, and instead shows the background image and unlocks by swiping vertically. Once unlocked, making the same pull-up motion on any screen will now access the Control Center, where you can manage volume, screen brightness, Wi-Fi, and other settings, plus offering quick access to frequently used apps. And the final swipe was the new “back button” feature, which activates when you swipe from the left side of the screen in your email or web browser.
Speaking of web browsers, Safari got a revamp as well, the most notable change is that webpages take up the whole screen, open pages scroll vertically in a carousel, and you’re no longer limited to eight tabs. You also can see what webpages you have open on your other devices. There’s improved bookmarking and social media integration in its Reading List, which lets you see what links your Twitter and LinkedIn friends are sharing.
Multitasking for iOS 7 has gotten easier by showing open apps in action in large windows you can scroll through. All the apps can run in the background, Apple claims, without hurting battery life.
On a related note, iOS 7, like the new OS X Mavericks, will update apps automatically. You can search apps by age group (a nice feature for parents with young kids who love to borrow their iPad) and by what’s popular in your location.
Lastly, an anti-theft feature was announced. Called Activation Lock, it ensures that someone who steals a phone won’t be able to reactivate it without the iCloud user name and password.
An iOS 7 SDK for iPhones is available to developers today and will be available later this year to consumers—but only those with an iPhone 4 or later, iPad 2 or later, iPad Mini, or fifth generation iPod Touch or later.
For more from Apple’s WWDC keynote, read about the announcements for new computer hardware and software updates.