iOS 7 review

A complete visual departure from previous versions, iOS 7 focuses on clarity by removing all but the most essential elements and chrome, deference by getting out of the way of content and apps, and depth by building the entire experience on top of a physics and particle engine that moves, blurs, parallaxes, and layers in virtual 3D. It touches every app, every pixel, and every bit of the system. It's far from perfect, and there are issues — as superficial as icons and as deep as consistency — yet to be overcome, but along with new features like Control Center and AirDrop, and improvements to Notification Center, multitasking, the Camera and Photos apps, Safari, Siri, and more, it's the most exciting update to iOS in years, and to mobile interface since the original iPhone. But it's also facing most competitive market ever. So, given the alternatives, is it enough?

iOS evolution

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iOS was introduced back in 2007 with the original iPhone and has been expanded, refined, and improved ever since. Part of knowing where we're going is knowing where we've been. Here are our reviews of past versions of iOS for iPhone and iPod touch, and since 2010, iOS for iPad as well.

Compatibility and updating

iOS 7 comes pre-installed on any new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. It's available as a free update to anyone using an iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, or iPhone, an iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, or iPad mini, and an iPod touch 6. Not all features are available on older devices.

You can update over-the-air (OTA) on on-device or over USB using iTunes on Mac or Windows. OTA updates-in-place are typically the fastest, setting up as a new device is typically the best way to get the best performance.

iOS 7 interface and experience gets its game on

The biggest change to iOS 7, and the most important, is the system-wide redesign. With, Apple has taken interface and experience from static to dynamic. It's more nuanced than that, of course, but that you have to see it moving to understand how it looks and works reveals the essential truth of that statement. iOS 7 feels alive and vibrant. It's the vision of Apple's senior vice president of design. Formerly restricted to hardware, he's now responsible for hardware and software both, and his predilection for stripping away everything inessential until only the most authentic, most necessary elements is evident. The green felt is gone. The wooden shelves are gone. The stitched leather Steve Jobs was so fond of is gone. In their place is a lot of solid colors with only the subtlest of gradients and textures remaining. Architecturally, it's laid bare. Design-wise, there's nowhere left to hide.

If you've used iOS before, everything is going to look different after you update to iOS 7. The change is striking. Here are some examples showing iOS 6 on top and iOS 7 on the bottom, including the Lock screen, Home screen, and Notification Center. (Yes, the hands on the Clock icon on the iOS 7 Home screen really do move now.)

Say goodbye to rich textured themes in Game Center, Compass, and Newsstand. You're not going to have green felt to kick around anymore:

And say hello to objects that exist in a virtual three-dimensional space, and can be directly manipulated, like multitasking cards, Safari tabs, which behave like a souped up version of Passbook passes.

Every screen of every app has been given a fresh coat of paint, from Calendar to Notes to Reminders. Every. One.

The redesign is based on three key principles: clarity, deference, and depth.

Depth is handled by the new physics and particle engine. The entire interface and experience is built on it. Screens no longer move because someone animates them, they drop and collide and bounce because of behavior ascribed to them. Likewise icons fly in like a fleet coming out of hyperspace, and apps and folders and days and months zoom in and out like portals into deeper worlds, chat bubbles bounce like balloons, cards knock together, and wallpapers and entire Home screens that shift with your every movement, providing glimpses into what's just below the surface.

Gaussian blur shaders are used liberally throughout iOS 7 as well. So much so they seem to be on more than they're off. The pixels below are sampled in real time, so if a banner moves in the App Store beneath Notification Center, you see it, blurred, moving beneath Notification Center. When you swipe between modes in the Camera app, the live preview image you're looking at blurs as it transitions. When you start FaceTime - now a dedicated app even on iPhone - before you place call you see your own image, captured by the front-facing camera, blurred and looking back at you. It's computationally expensive enough to make a graphics engineer cry, it's also something as visually distinctive as the physics and particle animations.

Here's what it looks like:

iOS has always stressed direct manipulation and 1:1 touch tracking, because it created the illusion of genuine interaction. Combine that with the new engines, and now the illusion is even better. You're not just tapping buttons, you're moving objects through their own virtual space. You're not just flipping through a stack of tabs tediously drawn to look and move like cards, hiccuping and losing proper perspective as you go. You're flipping real card-shaped objects that fly past, always in perfect perspective because they're rendered to be. It's so real, it begins to feel like a game. and that's exactly the point. Real gamification is about enabling discovery though play. It's about rewarding intuition with delight. It's about making computing fun.

Here are some examples of directly manipulable objects in the form of multitasking cards, Safari tabs, and Passbook passes:

Deference is handled by getting rid of the heavy chrome, the obtrusive and unmoving title bars and tab bars and thickly delineated buttons past. Now everything is edge to edge, from the subtle animations of snow and rain and lightning in the Weather app to the unified search field that minimizes and controls that fade away in Safari, to the use of translucency so content can continue to provide context. It's also philosophical, prompting developers to rely less on Apple's default UIKit and paint the screen in a way that best suits their own tastes and apps.

Buttons have also been simplified to the point where, in many cases, I don't even know if I can still call them buttons (though Apple does). They're utterly without chrome or adornment of any kind, naked bits of sometimes colored text that trust in a new generation's learned knowledge of multitouch.

Clarity is best highlighted by the new Text Kit, which allows fonts to dynamically scale not only in size but in weight so type always looks great, and people who want a bigger size for increased legibility can have it, screen size be damned. Text Kit isn't getting the attention other elements of iOS 7 are getting, but it absolutely deserves it.

It also highlights one of Apple's best qualities. They look at problems that need to be solved, not solutions that keep being proposed. When people said they wanted multitasking, they didn't mean they wanted battery-melting infinite processes. They wanted to listen to Pandora while surfing the web. So Apple made an API for that, and other high-demand background services, and has now created just-in-time multitasking to meet even more needs (see below). Likewise, when some people say they want a bigger screen, what they're saying is they want to see more content and have text at a bigger size. Deference and Text Kit solve both those problems on devices of all sizes.

Here's the new Lock screen, which shows the text, the translucency, and the physics-based wallpaper:

Speaking of which, the new default system font is Helvetica Neue, and it tends towards the ultra-thin at times. Why Apple didn't go with their own, custom system font is a mystery, and while Helvetica Neue looks beautiful at times, it can be hard to read as well. Luckily the same Text Kit system allows you to easily scale and thicken it if and as needed.

There are other problems too. The icons all reference the same grid now, one that seems drawn from Apple's hardware designs. They range from beautiful, like Photos, to unbalanced, like Safari, to background dependent, like Stocks and Voice Memos. Rumor has it they were specced out by the graphic design department instead of the human interaction department, something Jony Ive felt would bring fresh eyes and a new approach. It's triggered some legitimate criticism and some change aversion both. Over the last 3 months most of the icons have come to no longer bother me, but flat or not, few leap out at me as genuine improvements. Also, the glyphs are thin the point of looking fragile, and sometimes simplified to the point of non-obviousness.

Likewise, some of the interfaces are breathtakingly gorgeous to the degree that even now I can't stop starting at them. Everything from passcode entry to the dialer is palpably improved. Other interfaces, not so much. Particularly the status bar, which comes off as much cluttered and confusing now than at any point previously. Also, the cellular signal strength indicators, circles now instead of curved bars, convey the same information yet take up far more space.

Here's a look at Safari, which shows the deference of receding interface, but also the status bar and glyphs:

It feels like some of the key ideas of iOS 7 - clarity, deference, and depth - were taken a step too far in some places, to the point where they get in their own way. Maybe that's the way it works. Maybe it's what happens when you're sprinting so quickly towards something new and you can't decelerate fast enough after crossing the line.

Hopefully that gets pulled back and polished in future versions. It's hard changing something used and depended upon by hundreds of millions of people. Even with the massive changes in iOS 7, most major components remain spatially consistent. People familiar with where the phone icon was in iOS 6 will find it in exactly the same place in iOS 7.

The new buttons that look like naked text links on the web might confuse some people. The new location for Spotlight - swipe down on any Home screen - might frustrate those simply trying to find their apps and the new way to access video - swipe left on the Camera - might escape those simply trying to make a recording.

That'll change quickly. Shock, if any, will pass. This is better. It sets the stage for the future and since Apple seldom looks back, they'll drag the rest of us along with them. A week in, a month, a year, we'll look back at old versions of iOS the way we look back at old video games.

iOS 7 also looks fantastic on the iPad. It should. The original iOS was designed in a pre-iPad world and was retrofitted onto its bigger screen. This is the first iOS designed for the iPad. It's open. It's expansive. It fills the screen without spreading itself too thin. You could argue it looks even better on the iPad than iPhone.

Right before iOS 7 was announced, I asked what was next for human interface. With iOS 7, Apple answered.

iOS 7 Siri gets Wikipedia, Bing, Settings, Twitter, but doesn't get on-board

Siri sits on top of iOS as a secondary, natural language interface layer. A personal digital assistant big on personality and partnerships, but challenged in reliability, with iOS 7 Apple has continued to add new services while redesigning everything that's come before. Gone is the linen and beautifully rendered sports, movie, and other widgets, and in their places is the starker, cleaner, and more translucent treatment. It'll even fly in sample questions for you if you're not sure what to ask. The resulting look is sometimes hauntingly great, other times murkily bad.

The principal new element is a sound wave that harkens back to Siri's predecessor, Voice Control. It's a fun visual. Not as fun is the heaviness of the text, which looks out of place compared to the thinner treatment found in the rest of the interface. It does help usability, however, and more specifically, glance-ability, which is more important than consistency when it comes to how Siri is used.

Siri gets two new, high quality voices in iOS 7. One is male, the other female. They're not available in all languages yet, but it's just a matter of time. Having new voices was increasingly important for Apple. The original female Siri voice wasn't exclusive to Apple, and that was an odd choice to begin with, and something others could use to graft onto Apple's attention, and competitors could use to tease them. Hopefully these new voices are original, and Apple's alone.

New features include the ability to change Settings. While that's geek-centric and mirrors another new iOS 7 feature, Control Center, it's also welcome. Likewise Siri can now access more communications feature. Where previously Siri could find email and messages, and read messages, playing voice mail is a nice addition. So is the ability to find and show tweets. Hopefully Apple continues to expand on this until Siri can find, read, and otherwise access with all messaging on iOS.

New services include Wikipedia and Microsoft for Siri search, especially image search. Some might assume that it's just one more casualty in Apple and Google's cold war, but Siri has always been a partnership play and it's just as possible Microsoft offered Apple the best deal. What remains to be seen is how good the results are, because that's the only thing that really matters at the end of the day.

Siri has also become persistent. Previously if you left Siri for any reason and then came back, all your previous results were gone. Now you can simply scroll backwards and see search results, movie listings, and whatever else you recently called up. This might seem trivial, but it's incredibly useful.

What Apple hasn't added is any local, on-device functionality for Siri. Google's been doing this for a while, and it helps minimize network connections and backend servers as a point of failure. Basically, for any action that involves only the apps on the phone or tablet, for example, toggling a setting or adding a reminder, all voice parsing is done on the device. Only when a request needs to go online, like to check the web or check with a service, does it hit servers. Siri currently goes to the servers for everything, making it slower and subject to more failures than Google's voice tech.

Siri also didn't get was any of the predictive assistant services Google Now enjoys. Like Google on Android (and in more limited fashion in the Google Search app for iOS), Apple on iOS can aggregate all sorts of calendar, location, environmental, and social data, and can synthesize from it where we are, where we need to be, with whom, and under what conditions. Instead of waiting for us to ask, Siri could be providing it preemptively so we don't even need to ask.

Apple has shown they're doing a little bit of that with Notification Center's new Today screen, which will tell you the time (with traffic) to your next most likely location. Perhaps they'll evolve a system complementary to Siri, rather than a component of Siri, to handle predictive assistance. That's be a shame though, since Siri has that Pixar-like personality that helps make assistant services accessible.

Ideally, a predictive Siri would replace the current notifications on the Lock screen, and the Today screen. Either way, Google seems closer to the movie version of Tony Stark's Jarvis right now than Apple, and I hope that turns around, and soon.

iOS 7 Notification Center flirts with prediction, stays away from action

Notification Center could previously be pulled down from anywhere in iOS except the Lock screen. Now it can be pulled down from the Lock screen as well. Notification Center previously shared the linen texture indicative of the sub-layers below iOS. Now it shares the gaussian blur shader - smoked glass variant - indicative of the layers above. That makes it more consistent both visually and behaviorally. If privacy is a concern, however, Lock screen access can be disabled in Settings.

Because, like the rest of iOS 7, Notification Center uses the new physics engine, you can not only pull it down now but yank it and watch it collide with the bottom, bounce, and then settle into place. Fun. It also makes use of navigation gestures, in this case to move through three new, tabbed states: Today, All, and Missed.

All is similar to what Notification Center has shown since iOS 5, though the Weather and Stocks widgets have been moved to the new Today view, and the iOS 6 Tweet and Post to Facebook button are gone. Some might lament their loss, but they were out of place there. The wrong solution to a real problem. Unfortunately, no right solution has replaced them.

Missed is similar, but constrained to the last 24 hrs. How useful that is depends on the volume and type of your notifications. Labeling it "Missed", however, doesn't seem to accurately define its contents. "Recent" would be a better fit.

Today shows you the current day and date with a brief, written description of the current weather in your current location, and a written description of your next appointment. It can also tell you if current traffic conditions will impact your next trip. As visual representations of data go, it's non-optimal.

The written out weather and next appointment are a step backwards when it comes to glance-ability, if a step forwards in terms of informational density. The graphical weather widget was easier to take in a glance, but provided little more than "sunny" or "rainy". In a perfect world, Apple would find a way to balance both. Re-introduce a graphical element and keep the deeper text. Likewise with stocks, which used to scroll in one tidy widget, and now sprawls out row after row after row after row...

Integrating traffic information for frequent locations, on the other hand, is outstanding and hopefully only the first indication that Apple is heading towards a more Google Now-style implementation where they parse location, time, calendar, and every other metric they have at their disposal and present contextually appropriate, predictive alerts in Notification Center or in something even better that replaces it in the future. Hopefully the near future.

If you're not a fan of your phone tracking you, which is how it predicts where you want to go and when, you can disable Frequent Locations in Settings > Privacy > System Services. Privacy, like security, is at perpetual war with convenience.

Beneath the text you get a more elaborate, more graphical look at Calendar, Reminders, and Stocks, as well as another written out description, this time recapping what's coming up tomorrow. If you can make it down that far. Like in previous versions of iOS, you can turn off what shows up in Notification Center, and in the Today view specifically, and use Do Not Disturb to selectively make sure notifications don't become annoyances.

Unfortunately, Apple still hasn't added any gesture-based way to dismiss notifications. Other platforms have allowed you to swipe away notifications for a long time already. The immediacy of "tossing things away" is tough to beat. Hopefully Apple addresses this, because the tiny little X button is discoverable, but not very usable.

Apple has, however, added notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device, it will dismiss it on all devices, so you don't have to deal with the same alerts, again and again and again...

Perhaps the biggest omission in the whole system remains interactive notifications (sometimes called actionable notifications), which Apple just introduced for the Mac in OS X Mavericks but hasn't added to iOS. The ability to quickly respond to a message, reset a timer, or otherwise handle simple items without having to switch apps is even more necessary on mobile than on the desktop. Android has had them for while, so here's hoping OS X is just a precursor to the same or similar system on iOS, and sooner rather than later.

iOS 7 Control Center provides quick if not customizable access to toggles

Quick access to system-level toggles has been something every power user has wanted since the day the original iPhone shipped. Some 7 years later, Apple gives us Control Center. Like Notification Center, Control Center is a layer that you can slide over the main iOS interface, including the Lock screen if you so choose. It enjoys the same, bouncing, playful iOS 7 physics, and the same blur effect that mutes but doesn't entirely obliterate what's underneath. Unlike Notification Center, which comes from the top down, Control Center is activated by swiping up from beneath the screen, and rather than dark, smoked glass, it's given a light, frosted treatment.

That Control Center functions so much like Notification Center, and even uses similar nomenclature makes it easy to understand, even for non-power-users who haven't been lamenting its absence on iOS for years. It'll give the obsessive compulsive among us nearly instant access to toggles we probably ought not be toggling all the time, but it'll also give plenty of regular people a fast, easy way - and more obvious than the old fast app switcher controls - to get at things as simple as media controls and even a flashlight when they need them.

Control Center's top row provides handy on/off switches for commonly used settings like Airplane mode (which, when turned on, will turn off the cellular radio), the Wi-Fi radio, and the Bluetooth radio, as well as toggles for Do Not Disturb mode, and the portrait/landscape orientation lock. Black means off, white means on, and a brief bit of text will show up to confirm it so.

The next row is a brightness slider, from dark to light, then media controls that includes a positional scrubber, the title of the track/episode you're listening to or watching, the name of the album/series that track/episode is from, skip backwards or forwards buttons, pause/play, and a volume slider. If you tap the track title, you'll be taken to whichever app is currently playing the media, be it Music, Podcasts, or something else.

If available, AirDrop and AirPlay occupy the next row, and allow you to quickly access sheets with their individual options.

The bottom row consists of icons to toggle the LED flash-come-flashlight on or off, and variants of Clock, Calculator, and Camera icons for quickly accessing those apps.

The wedding cake design is serviceable and keeps all the controls organized while avoiding clutter. The toggles on the top look good, though some of the lines lower down are thin to the point of fragility. The only downside is that Control Center isn't customizable, at least not yet. If you'd rather have different toggles, like personal hotspot, or different fast app access, like Twitter, well that's your tough luck, at least for now.

But, baby steps. I once wrote that iOS wasn't meant for geeks, and while I still think that's generally true, with iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, Apple is now showing that they have more than enough love to go around.

iOS 7 Gesture navigation provides expert if inconsistent shortcuts

iOS 7 continues Apple's long history of gesture-based controls, some system-wide like the new swipe up from the bottom bezel to open Control Center, and some app (or multi-app) specific, like the new swipe right from the left bezel to travel back up the hierarchy Mail or Messages or the history in Safari, or the new toss to close apps in multitasking or tabs in Safari. There are also fantastic new "peek" gestures that let you pull left just a little bit to see individual time stamps in Messages, or pull down to turn a notification banner into the full-fledged Notification Center. Gesture controls can be tricky, however. If not direct they can be hard to discover, if not consistent they can be hard to habituate, and if not carefully considered they can collide and conflict with each other, both system-wide and app specific.

For example, when Apple first introduced four-finger navigation gestures for the iPad, you could accidentally swipe your way out of Fruit Ninja and into Mail. Now, you can swipe up in Hue to try and manage your lights and end up with Control Center instead. You can disable Control Center from being accessible inside apps, but since not everyone will, developers have to assume it'll stay on, and cede basic gestures to Apple and the system.

Because the swipe-right gesture appears limited to certain apps, namely Mail and Messages, it won't collide with other apps already using that gesture. However, the way Apple is implementing the interface in iOS 7 in general, because of that gesture in Mail or Messages, could make other apps look odd. Especially ones that currently use the popular "hamburger button and basement sidebar" design (I'm looking at you Facebook, Google apps, etc.) Even if iOS doesn't stomp all over them, if they look wrong, or simply feel wrong on iOS 7, they may be forced to change and become more Mail or Messages-like. (And that might not be a bad thing.)

The good news is that all of these are direct manipulations. The bad news is that they're not all consistent or symmetrical. Direct manipulations are more easily discovered than abstract gesture controls (which iOS stays completely away from for everything but accessibility), but in order for them to be habituated they need to be consistent. Notification Center is the perfect example. Any time, from anywhere, you can swipe down and what happens is exactly what you expect to happen - it appears. Control Center is the same.

The sideways gestures are where iOS 7 starts running into problems. First, because they're only implemented in specific apps, they require the user to remember which apps include them. Worse, because they're implemented inconsistently and asymmetrically across apps, they require the user to remember what they do in each app. That's a high cognitive burden.

For example, in Safari - and in Photos, Calendar, Weather, and other apps before it - swiping from left to right takes you backwards through the sequence, and swiping right to left takes you forward. That's logical and symmetrical. Even Camera, where swiping changes modes, moves through the modes in sequence and remains consistent.

However, in Mail and Messages, swiping from left to right doesn't take you back through the sequence of messages, but up in the message hierarchy. You swipe back from message to message list to - in mail alone - message list box. Where it gets more challenging is swiping from right to left, because not only doesn't that take you forward through the sequence, it doesn't take you deeper into the hierarchy either. What it does is switch from direct manipulation to quasi-abtract command, revealing a destructive action - delete. That's not only asymmetrical (swiping different directions results in different behaviors), and inconsistent with other apps, it's a massive contextual change.

Photos can have hierarchies with albums, Calendar days with months, so there's some overlap, but Apple's recognizing that hierarchies in Messages and Mail are far more important in real-world use cases than they are in other apps, and re-assigning the gesture. They're also keeping it simple by not, for example, leaving a one finger swipe to move through sequences of messages and using a two-finger swipe to move back to the hierarchy. That's understandable and, in a world filled with trade-offs, sensible.

Switching from direct manipulation to go back to abstract command to delete is less understandable and sensible, but more a reflection of a legacy control Apple's been using since iOS 1 (iPhone OS 1.0).

Here are some examples, with the Mail gestures (back vs. delete) on the left, Safari gestures (back vs. forward) in the center, and downward swipe gesture on Home (Notification Center vs. Spotlight) on the right:

In a perfect world swiping from right to left from the edge would move you into whatever message your touching, while touching a message and holding would allow you to delete it, much like cards and tabs. Apple has used modal gestures before, for example an edit button that changes an upward movement from the general scroll gesture to a specific item re-arranging gesture. Likewise, swiping down from the bezel reveals Notification Center, but swiping down from the screen in Home reveals Spotlight search. It adds complexity but also functionality. Detect if the gesture started at or near the edge, and if so make it navigation. If not, if it started on the meaty part of an item in a list, make it editorial. It will require learning, but not much.

The most important thing is consistency. Unless and until a swipe takes you back in every app where there's something to go back to, it'll always be harder to remember and become habituated to. Unless and until a forward swipe does something in every app where there's a backward swipe, and there's something to forward to, likewise. Unless you can pull a pass up out of Passbook as easily as you can shove one down and back into the stack... You get the idea.

For gestures to succeed for the mainstream, they have to always be where they're expected, and always do as expected. With iOS 7, we're only part way there.

iOS 7 Multitasking made intelligent

Mobile multitasking is all about compromise. You either limit what can be done by apps, or you limit the battery life of the device running them. iOS has always been fantastic at multitasking. It was built on the same foundation as OS X, after all. The very first iPhone demo showed Steve Jobs start some music, fade into a phone call, jump out to check the web and email, jump back to the call, and then fade back to the music. The compromise then was no third-party apps, and post iOS 2.0 and the App Store, no multitasking for third-party apps.

iOS 4.0 brought multitasking to App Store apps, but compromised on who got access and what they could do. VoIP, navigation, and streaming audio were wide open, everything else tightly timed or still turned off. With iOS 7, Apple is trying to have their background and their battery life too, and they're using some very smart technology to do it. Instead of simply allowing persistent, pre-emptive multitasking like OS X does on the desktop, and like how some competitors do on mobile, Apple is recognizing that they have neither a power cable plugged into the wall, nor a desire to offload battery and task management to their customers, and they're using a dynamic, just-in-time system to try and get the best of both worlds. Here's how it works:

Intelligent scheduling lets apps you use frequently - for example, Facebook or Twitter if you check them near-constantly - to update frequently so whenever you launch them, they'll have all the latest information ready and waiting for you. Apps you use regularly but not frequently - for example, if you check the news when you wake up and before you go to sleep - can update just before you typically check them so they use less power but still have the information you want, when you want it.

Opportunism and coalescence let apps take advantage of circumstances to update efficiently as well. For example, apps can update during any of the very many times a day you unlock your device and the system is powered up. Apps that require it can update when your radio signal is strong and power requirements are at a minimum. And if and when something like GPS gets powered up for one app, other apps that need it can tag along for the ride and get their updates handled as well.

Where previously you'd get a push notification, go to the app, and then have to wait for the app to download the data, now push triggers prompt background updates so that the data is ready and waiting for you by the time the app opens. At least in theory. Developers can even send silent/invisible push triggers to wake up their apps for update, which greatly increases the usefulness.

With the iPhone 5s specifically, the M7 motion coprocessor will persistently track accelerometer, magnometer (digital compass), and gyroscope data without the need to power up the main processor. Apps can then pull the data, which essentially gives them full background access without the need to actually be open and consuming resources in the background.

This all works based on the concept of perception being reality. It doesn't really matter when an update happens as long as it happens before we see it. That's what makes just-in-time so much more efficient - and so much less wasteful - than all-the-time.

All of this sounds great in theory, but it remains to be seen how well it will work in practice, especially at first. As more and more developers integrate the new multitasking features, and Apple continues to improve the system, it should become better and better.

The new multitasking interface, however, is a huge improvement right now. The old fast app switcher was never a great solution. Apple tested other metaphors for iOS 4 before they settled on it, including something like OS X Expose, but Safari Pages, and more expressly, webOS cards, always felt like a better solution. Cards not only match the physicality of iOS 7 in general, they're something with which almost everyone is already familiar.

Not that it looks perfect yet. There's a Home card, for example, that might help ensure mainstream users aren't confused about how to find the Home screen, but there's already Home button for that. All Home does in card view is break the metaphor (how can the card view sit on top of Home when Home is in it?).

Unlike some other platforms, cards aren't kept "live". You can't watch a video play in card mode, for example, and it doesn't seem like websites update if you just sit there staring at Safari either. It's arguable live cards aren't necessary and not a great use of resources, but like constant blur filters they can be an impressive effect.

Also, in webOS, every instance of an app could have a card. For example, you could have multiple web pages open at the same time in card view, or multiple email message drafts ready and waiting. Multiple web pages would quickly over run the interface, however, and are better handled in Safari's rolodex. webOS used Stacks to organize sets of cards. Again, greater complexity, but greater functionality. Right now, simpler feels better.

Thankfully, Apple did duplicate the webOS method for closing apps. Instead of holding apps down until they jiggle, and then hitting the little X badge - which conflated the action with deleting apps from the Home screen - you simply touch and hold a card and then toss it up and away. You can also toss multiple cards away at once (up to three - the maximum shown on screen at any time). And no, there's still no option to "kill all apps", because you don't ever need to "kill all apps" even if sometimes it's a fast way to troubleshoot rogue processes.

In addition to the new card interface, Apple also retained the old fast app switcher's icons, placing them at the bottom of the cards. Cards capture static views from the apps they represent, but those representations might not immediately be recognizable. One mostly white page can be hard to differentiate from another mostly white pager. Icons are made to be recognizable, even at a glance. Cards and icons together provide for both greater information and faster recognition. Win. Win.

Back before iOS 6, I hoped for a better fast app switcher. With iOS 7, Apple delivered.

iOS 7 Camera gets real-time filters... and a square

Like much of iOS 7, the Camera app has gotten a complete makeover, but for the most part has remained spatially consistent with previous versions. The shutter button, flash button, camera-switch button, and photo thumbnail are all exactly where they used to be. Options has been replaced by a dedicated HDR button, however, panorama moved, and the grid toggle banished to Settings.

Moreover, the method for changing between still and video has changed. Instead of a binary switch, you can now swipe left from still to video camera, and also swipe right to get to the new square mode (cropped still), and right again to get to panorama. Taking the place of the old still/video switch is the new filters button. There's a real-time blur effect between each mode, of course, just for good measure.

On the iPhone 5s you also get an additional video camera - 120fps slow motion.

And you can set in and out points right in the Camera app.

Taking photos on iOS 7 in general is lightning fast. Gone is the old shutter closing animation, new is a fade-to-white-and-back so fast if you blink you might miss it. You can just tap, tap, tap, and take photo after photo after phone. Did I mention how fast it is? Even high-dynamic range (HDR) is noticeably faster, though still much slower than non-HDR photos.

if you hold your finger down on the shutter button it'll take continuos photos. On the iPhone 5s, you also get a proper burst mode that, Instead of overwhelming you with tens of photos per second, Apple leverages the new A7 to automagically choose and present the best ones, including the multiple highlights of an action shot, if available, yet still lets you dive into all the shots if you ever want to pick your own. That's a great example of providing primary level ease of use, and secondary level expanded use, and how these types of features should be done. By everyone.

The new filters apply to the still and square cameras. They don't apply to the video or panorama cameras. If you apply one, they're live and you'll see them in the preview the way they'll look when the photo is taken. They're subtle, as filters go. Mono, Tonal, Noir, Fade, Chrome, Process, Transfer, and Instant. There are three types of black and white, one desaturated, one over saturated, and and one each that tint towards blue, red, and green. Nothing blown out, nothing vignetted, and nothing overly dramatic.

Here's what the iOS 7 black and white filters look like when compared to the black and white filters from,Instagram, Google+, Twitter, and Camera Noir, in order:

There's no tilt-shift, no frame or border effects, and no sliders for controlling the amount of filtration. Depending on your tastes, that's either a huge negative, or a huge plus. I've wanted Apple to co-opt filtering for a while now, given how many other apps were piling on the feature. Whether this helps calm that down, or only spur it on further remains to be seen.

Alongside the new square mode, the new filters highlight the immense influence Instagram has had on mobile photography. I don't mind it at all. When not using Instagram I've still had the urge to square-cut photos anyway, and having to do it in post with the crop tool is less than elegant.

The new eye-candy, the new features are fine. It's the new speed that's killer.

iOS 7 Photos filter your life into years, collections, and moments

iOS 7: Photos automagically filters your life into collections, moments, and more

After 6 years and 6 versions of iOS, the trusty sunflower icon that's come to represent the Photos app has been retired and a new, more abstract, multi-color "flower" has taken its place. So has a completely new interface metaphor. Back in 2007, the ability to pinch-to-zoom photos was one of the major multitouch selling points of the original iPhone. Back in 2010, so was the ability to peek into stacks of photos on the iPad. What was once done by genius animation is now done by iOS 7's new physics engine. You can still swipe. You can still pinch. You can still peek (though it's a little clumsy right now). But after 6 years and 6 versions, Apple is also replacing the default view, the never-ending linear chronology of images known as the Camera Roll, with a new Photos view, divided in Years, Collections, and Moments, that automatically organizing your images based on time and location.

Moments divides up your photos more completely, introducing breaks for every major change in time or place. Photo thumbnails are roughly the same size as they were in the old Camera Roll, fitting four across in portrait mode.

Collections are intelligent groupings of moments. They further coalesce a few places and dates that are close together. So a day that has a few places, or a place that covers a few days. The goal seems to be to break up the view into more easily glance-able chunks while still providing some general time and location data for context. The photo thumbnails are slightly smaller here, fitting ten across in portrait mode.

Years simply divides photos up by year. So, 2013, 2012, 2011. Location highlights are also shown. It's very literally a bird's eye view of your year in photos. And the photo thumbnails are tiny, fitting what looks like 32 across in portrait mode.

To help make up for the tiny size of thumbnails in Year and Collections views, Photos lets you touch your finger down on a photo to pop up a larger sized thumbnail for that photo. Moving your finger around switches between photos. This lets you more easily select a specific photo out of the much higher density of photos presented in some views.

The idea of using automatically generated metadata isn't anything new for Apple, but making them the primary point of entry is, and it's a change very much for the better. Rather than absolutely breaking sets up by time and place, however, Photos lets the coalesce together in right-sized sets. Too few, or too little, and even the new Collections and Moments lose utility. It's very clever.

What's not so clever is the use of iOS 7-standard white as the initial background color, especially on the single photo view. You can tap to get rid of it, and set the photo on far less visually competitive black, but then why have it to begin with?

Once in the single photo view, you can still Edit, Share, or Delete. Edit includes previously available functions like rotate, auto-enhance, red-eye removal, and crop, as well as the same new filters as the Camera app. Again, they're subtle.

Here's what they all look like, None, Mono, Tonal, Noir, Fade, Chrome, Process, Transfer, and Instant, in order:

The Places tab is gone, locations now accessible by tapping on a place name label. Shared is now the second tab, and the old, raw Camera Roll is now buried in the Albums tab along with My Photo Stream.

You can share using the Select button/text at the top right in most views, or entire moments or photos from moments can be shared using the Share button/text atop each individual moment in the Moments view. (Yes, that is a lot of Share buttons on the Moments view...)

Share sheets have been completely re-imagined. You can now swipe through and add more photos right from the share sheet. You can also share via the new iOS version of AirDrop, with integrated services like Messages, Mail, iCloud (Photo Stream), Twitter, and Facebook. Flickr is a new addition to supported services. You can also can still perform basic functions like copy, slideshow, AirPlay, assign to contact, use as wallpaper, and print. Their glyphs, unfortunately, are as thin and fragile-looking as the new iOS 7 design language dictates.

The ability to add extra photos right from the Share Sheet is fantastic, and saves having to cancel, add more, and share again. Much more efficient. Likewise, the horizontal scrolling in the additional photo selector, AirDrop, services, and functions selectors is both space efficient, and usable.

Given the iconic nature of the original iOS camera apps, iOS 7 had some big shoes to fill. It's done it, even if there are some sore spots that will take some time to wear in.

iOS 7 Photo Streams finally get truly social sharing

iOS 7 Photo Streams finally get truly social sharing

Apple is often criticized for not "getting" social and rightly so. Ping was a non-starter, Game Center has had growing pains, and the original Photo Stream was unidirectional sharing at best. With iOS 7, however, Apple has given Shared Photo Streams some much needed, and much better thought out, improvements. While technically part of the Photos app, the update is significant enough to warrant special attention.

You can add a photo - and now a video as well! - to Shared Photo Stream using the Share Sheet. The sheet itself has been redesigned, of course. No more paperclip renderings needed. You can still add a comment, however. The big difference is that once you've added a photo or album, the people you've shared it with can add additional photos of their own.

That's right. Apple's social photo sharing service can now actually share photos socially and multi-directionally!

You can see all your shared photos, and all the photos shared with you, along with comments and other social cruft, in the Shared tab of the Photos app. There's also a new landscape mode for faster swipe-based browsing. You can tap a photo to switch from the white to black background and remove said social cruft in either orientation.

The only limitation to the new Shared Photo Streams, the only anti-social aspect of Apple's social photo sharing, is that - like iMessage - it's bound to Apple devices. Perhaps one day Apple will add a Shared Photo Stream viewer to, replacing the old MobileMe Gallery viewer that used to live there, but that day is yet to come.

For now, as long as you and everyone you want to share with is using a Mac or iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, it'll work great. If you're using multiple platforms, or anyone you want to share with is using multiple or alternate platforms, Photo Streams could be onerous or even a non-starter. Given the popularity of Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, 500px, Path, and other services with great iOS support, however, no one will be hurting for options.

Like iTunes Radio, Reading List, the upcoming iCloud Keychain, and other iOS-exclusive features, Shared Photo Streams isn't aimed at everyone, and especially not at geeks. It's aimed at the mainstream who just want a simple, easy solution that gives base level functionality. And for them, all of the aforementioned services including Photo Stream, are the zero-effort starting points.

iOS 7 AirDrop lets you easily share your stuff, no bumping needed

With iOS 7, Apple's peer-to-peer, ad-hoc Wi-Fi file transfer protocol, AirDrop comes to the iPhone, iPod, and iPad. Originally introduced on the Mac with OS X 10.7 Lion, it was attached to the Finder to allow anyone to beam any file or folder to anyone else with in range. The iOS version doesn't have a user-facing filesystem to work such universal wonders with. In a perfect world it'd be hooked into my long-lusted-after and FilePicker system, but for now it's Control Center and Share Sheet bound.

AirDrop works with photos, videos, contacts, voice memos, passes, and anything else that can hook into the iOS sharing system. Once an item is selected, AirDrop will automatically detect any discoverable iOS 7 devices within Wi-Fi range and, if available, show you the contact picture of their owners. Tap one or more contacts to start the sharing process. Providing the detection process works like it's supposed to (try toggling Wi-Fi off and then back on if not), it really that simple. Tap, tap, tap. Share. Share. Share.

If someone tries to send you an item via AirDrop, you'll get a popup. Decline, and it'll go away. Accept and the item will transfer and then open for you in the appropriate app. You can choose to be discoverable to no one, to contacts only, or to everyone with iOS 7.

It works by creating an ad hoc point-to-point Wi-Fi connection between devices. You don't have to be on the same Wi-Fi network, just within range with Wi-Fi turned on. It doesn't use or need cellular networking (3G or LTE), and while there may be reasons to hope it eventually ties into Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, it doesn't do that yet either.

iOS 7 AirDrop also doesn't work with OS X AirDrop at present, which is perplexing given the shared branding. Hopefully that's coming soon. Probably not coming soon is near-field communications (NFC). Apple hasn't seen fit to include an NFC radio in any iOS device, and has gone out of their way to make fun of how competitors have implemented NFC-dependant features.

At the end of the day, NFC is a chipset not a feature set, and nothing any human should ever concern themselves with. Does a device do what it needs to do for you is the question. If it does, then who cares what chipset it is or isn't using. If it doesn't, then who cares what chipset it is or isn't using.

The ability to exchange small binary blobs without the need to physically bump phones, however, is compelling. PalmOS used to do it over infrared, and it was tedious and frustrating, but it was the future. Point-to-point Wi-Fi is way better than infrared and NFC both. BT LE might be as well. Maybe some day the distance limitation will be overcome and any contact we have, anywhere online, will be immediately available for... WarpDrop?

iOS 7 Safari amps up search, tabs, sharing, reading, and more!

Safari is one of the most important apps on iOS, and so it's not surprising it gets one of the biggest redesigns in iOS 7. The gateway to the web on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, Apple finally gives it a unified search bar, along with some slick new social features, a better reading list, and an all-new, all awesome new tab interface that really shows off the new design language of iOS 7.

Page rendering is fast, as you'd expect. Thanks to the ongoing browser wars, the WebKit HTML rendering and Nitro JavaScript rendering engines show no signs of slowing down. Neither do mobile processors. iOS 7 Safari flies on an iPhone 5. The new gesture navigation is perhaps best implemented here as well. You swipe from left to right to go back in your page history, from right to left to go forward. The direct manipulation is near-perfect and the pages are layered to make it visually obvious what's happening. More of this please.

Unified smart search fields - omnibar if you're retro - means what used to be two separate boxes - URL address and search - in iOS 6 are now combined together in iOS 7. It's something desktop Safari did a while ago, and browsers like Chrome and Firefox have been doing for longer still. I'm still not a huge fan of unified address and search fields in general - I never saw the need for the URLs I type in to be parsed by the company who made the browser. Even if they separate fully formed URLs from search terms at the interface level, there are all sorts of opportunities for user errors that spawn searches, and they don't need any more data from me - and on me - than they get already. However, they're convenient in a lot of ways as well, and it looks like they're truly, fully the new normal now. Safari Reader integration - a text-row glyph to the left of the unified search bar on sites where it's usable - is also well done.

The idea of the unified field minimizing and controls disappearing when you scroll down, and maximizing and reappearing again when you scroll back up again is great. Sometimes you just want to hit something now, now, now and having to stop and remember to scroll up a ways to trigger their return can be frustrating. Letting a single tap on the screen call back controls would be a good compromise, since that's a common behavior in iOS already.

Tapping into the unified smart search field lets you enter a URL or search term, and also gives you a grid of your favorite sites or bookmark folders. When you start typing in the unified smart search field, you get shown the top hits for that term, results from Google (or whatever your default search engine is set to), as well as results from Bookmarks and History, and Find on Page results for the text string as well.

The Bookmark button opens up a tabbed interface that starts off with the traditional list of your bookmarks.

The next tab, represented by a reading glasses glyph, is for Reading List. As the name suggests it shows you pages you've saved to Safari Reading list on iOS or OS X. You can toggle between Show All and Show Unread. You can swipe to delete items from your reading list, as always. Best of all, you can scroll continuously through articles without having to go back to the reading list. At the bottom of each article is an "Up Next:" footer that, if you scroll past it, seamlessly pulls up the next article in the list. It's excellent.

The third tab, represented by an @ symbol, is for Shared Links. It uses the built-in iOS Twitter integration to parse out and present links shared by the people you follow. If you're interested in things to read, but don't want to wade through chit-chat, photos, and other material, this is your view. If you have multiple accounts, you'll be shown items from all of them. Unfortunately, there's no de-duplication yet, so if you follow the same people from multiple accounts, you'll get multiple copies of the same items in the list. Tapping on the tweet takes you to the article, and the tweet remains shown on the top so you don't forget the context and who shared it. Just as with Reading List, when you get to the bottom of one article, there's a footer you can scroll past to go straight onto the next. Also excellent.

The new Tab browser is epic. It shows off everything that's great about iOS 7, including the new physics engine that allows for the rolodex metaphor, the parallax effect that allows for "peaking" at what's behind things, the direct manipulation that allows for intuitive re-ordering and removal, and the absolute delight of the experience in general. It's just so well done, it makes me incredibly eager to see what this type of interface work can lead to in the future. Layering iCloud tabs at the bottom works great as well, though the lack of a tab limit means they could take a moment or two to scroll down to them.

One of my favorite new features is a Privacy toggle right at the bottom of both the smart search, bookmarks, and tab views. Easy access to privacy mode means you don't have to switch to the separate Settings app to toggle it any more. If there are web sites you'd rather not have tracking you, but others that require tracking to provide a service (say vs. it can save you considerable back-and-forth time. Hopefully we'll eventually be able to have private tabs co-existing with non-private tabs at the same time.

iCloud Keychain, a way to manage, sync, and generate passwords for websites in Safari, was originally included in the iOS 7 feature set, and in the betas, but isn't included in the release version. It's possible Apple is waiting on OS X Mavericks to ship before enabling it on iOS 7. Either way, here's how Apple described it:

Safari is one of the most important apps on iOS, so it's great to see it getting so much attention, and such good attention.

iOS 7 App Store gets location-based popularity, goes kid-friendly

iOS 7 preview: App Store gets nearer, kid friendlier

The App Store debuted with iOS 2 (iPhone OS 2), and over the years added genius recommendations, card-based search, and more. Now, in addition to a complete visual make-over in iOS 7, it's also getting in on the location game with Apps Near Me, and finally - yes, finally - adding a kids category for children of all ages.

The App Store, like the rest of iOS 7, has a completely new look and new, native-esque speed. There's a new Kids category, which is subdivided by age range (i.e. 6-8) to make it easier for parents to find appropriate apps for their children. That's great to see. The whole category system in general, however, seems ripe for innovation and hopefully Apple will step on the gas in improving that as well.

The new Popular Near Me tab shows you location-based recommendations, so, for example, if you're at the ball game, or shopping, or at a popular tourist trap, you can see what apps other people are finding useful while there. I really don't care what apps other people are using on my street, but I might care what apps other people are using at a specific venue or attraction. Still, of all the things Apple could have spent time on when it comes to the App Store discoverability...

iOS is tied into social now, why not start some advanced matching based on my friends, or what other people on the entire network have that's similar to me but not yet owned by me. Also, the search-results-as-cards metaphor has somehow survived another year. Again, ripe for innovation.

We do, however, get Wish Lists.

The App Store can now also be set to automatically update apps when new versions become available. Automatic updates will be great for me. No more firing up an iPad and seeing 65 updates pending, and then me having to wait as they update. There's always the chance of a bad update, but there's probably more chance of a needful update not being done. Net positive? Still, for those who don't want them, or don't want them absent a roll-back mechanism, they can be turned off in Settings.

When you download an app from within the App Store, you get a small, round, almost iTunes music preview-style icon that lights up, draws a thinker circle around itself, and offers you a handy stop button at its center to pause the install if needed. If you exit the App Store, you'll see a really slick animation of the Jony Ive icon grid getting filled with a faded icon, and then a circle that lights up like a radar-sweep inside it. Updated apps get a small blue dot to the left of their name so you know they've been updated at a glance. The dot disappears after you launch them for the first time, post-update.

If you're using an iPhone 5s, you can have Touch ID authenticate the iTunes transaction instead of typing in your password, if you prefer.

If you're downloading over 3G or LTE, the limit has been raised to 100MB. That's not just for the App Store, but all cellular downloads. Plan your data usage accordingly.

iOS 7 FaceTime audio disrupts voice calls, Contact Blocking disrupts stalker calls

iOS 7 preview: FaceTime audio for when you want to be heard but not seen

Apple's FaceTime is a built-in way for anyone on a recent iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Mac to quickly, easily make and receive video calls. It's been a boon to long distance families and relationships, traveling lovers and parents, and those who use sign language alike. Sometimes, however, you're just not dressed, styled, or simply in the mood to be seen. While there's always been a workaround to kill the FaceTime camera, with iOS 7 Apple is, at long last, making FaceTime Audio its own, proper thing.

To put it in perspective, FaceTime audio is doing to voice calls what iMessage did to SMS and MMS - taking the carrier out of the loop. Unfortunately, just like FaceTime Video at launch, Apple's not allowed to run FaceTime Audio over the cellular network yet. That means Wi-Fi only for now. But my goodness the sound quality! People actually sound like people! Everyone I've tested it with has been amazed at how great it sounds. Apple's just put a VoIP phone into the hands of every iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad user on the planet. And more importantly, once that comes with all the great calling systems iOS 7 has to offer. Yeah.

Apple is also adding the ability to block people from reaching - especially disturbing or otherwise harassing - you via the phone, FaceTime, and Messages. One of the downsides of the constant connectivity we enjoy on the iPhone is constant availability, and while it's annoying when people we know expect us to respond 2/47, it's even more annoying when wrong numbers or malicious people can reach us all day, every day.

Last year, with iOS 6, Apple added a Do Not Disturb feature to prevent iPhones, iPads, and iPods from buzzing, beeping, and otherwise going off when we were trying to sleep, rest, or otherwise enjoy some gadget-free time. However, it was a general and temporal system, so you could turn everything off for a certain period, not specific people persistently, or forever. Blocking seems to handle that second, incredibly important part.

You can access your blocked list via Settings, and the list exists in, and is identical in, Phone, Messages, and FaceTime Settings, so it doesn't matter which one you use. Adding a person to the blocked list adds all their phone numbers and FaceTime and iMessage-associated email addresses to the block list. You can edit the list to remove one or all of the telephone numbers and email addresses afterwards.

There's been no explanation of how exactly blocking works yet, but in our tests it seems to prevent any blocked contact from reaching us on any iOS 7 device. It won't block contacts from reaching you on devices that don't run iOS 7, including non-Apple devices (i.e. if you take your SIM card out of your iPhone and stick it in an Android phone).

As someone who's had FAX machines dial my number over and over again, repeated wrong numbers, and even enjoyed carrier telemarketers-gone-wild calling to pitch me dozens and dozens of times a week, I've got a finger hovering over the the block hammer already. Come at me, bozos.

iOS 7 security locks down activation, mics, fingerprints, and more

iOS 7 preview: Activation lock aims to keep out the crooks

Find my iPhone - also referred to as Find my iPod or Find my iPad on those devices - has always been a great way to help you find your phone or tablet under a sofa, in another room, or even at a restaurant, coffee shop, theater, or similar public place. It's been great for lost devices. Stolen devices, not so much. Now, with iOS 7, Apple is addressing theft with what they hope is a powerful new deterrent - activation lock.

There's a Lost Mode which track down your iOS device and shows its approximate location on a map, much as it always had. There are also handy buttons to enter Lost Mode, and well as to play a sound and to remotely wipe the device. What's more, if a thief wants to try and disable Find my iPhone, or wipe the phone to disable tracking, activation lock will force them to enter your Apple ID and password first, and if not entered, prevent any software tampering with the tracking.

That goes for anyone as well. If you plug your iPhone into iTunes and hit Restore, it'll tell you to turn off Find my iPhone - which requires you to enter your Apple ID password - before proceeding. Likewise, it'll ask you on the device if you want to trust the computer it's connecting to.

iPhones and iPads are valuable targets for criminals and activation lock looks like a good way to make the devices less attractive. While it probably won't do much to slow down crooks who want to grab iPhones and iPads for parts, anyone hoping to resell a functional device now has to worry about circumventing activation lock as well.

Use of the microphone is now regulated by Privacy Settings, which is a great addition. Also, as mentioned under Notification Center (above), so is Frequent Locations. Furthermore, Personal Hotspot now generates stronger default passwords.

One thing to take into consideration is that iOS 7 is also more convenient than past versions, including offering Notification Center and Control Center access on the Lock screen. Siri, which previously had Lock screen access, now also gains access to Settings, like Control Center. That means, for example, someone could put your device in Airplane Mode even without knowing your Passcode or having your Touch ID fingerprint. If that concerns you, you can disable Lock screen access in Settings.

If you have an iPhone 5s, you also get Touch ID. By far the most mainstream friendly biometric authentication technology, with the Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor, you can unlock your iPhone 5s without the need to enter a passcode, and authorize iTunes account purchases without the need to enter a password.

In the perpetual battle between security and convenience, where many people would rather go without a passcode or strong password than fuss with anything complicated on mobile, Apple's Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor aims to do for authentication what iCloud did for backup and restore - make it easy enough that people will actually use it.

It also sets Apple up as an authentication provider, and in a way that doesn't require you to broadcast your real name the way FaceBook and Google do. It uses the secure enclave on the new Apple A7 chipset to make sure fingerprint data can't be taken off the device, a capacitive scanner to make sure only your real, live finger can activate it, can handle up to 5 different fingerprints per person or group of persons, but also absolutely identifies you as the person doing whatever you're doing.

iOS 7 offers big improvements for big business

iOS 7 preview: Enterprise enhancements means more for big business

iOS 7 continues Apple's tradition of consistently improving and extending Enterprise support for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Previous years introduced such basic, core functionality as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and hardware encryptions.This year offers more specific additions that, never-the-less, might make a big difference to big business, both those who manage devices in IT, and who use them, in corporations and SMB (small and medium sized businesses) alike.

Open in Management allows IT to control which apps can open which documents/attachments. For example, if you get a work PDF, your company can make sure only their approved app can open that PDF. They can also make sure that, if you get personal document, you can't open it in the company's app. Though it doesn't sound anywhere nearly as encompassing as something like BlackBerry Balance, it does sound like a good start towards compartmentalizing corporate and personal data.

Per-app VPN lets IT to control VPN access for corporate apps and data, while excluding non-corporate/personal apps and data from the tunnel. That means, for example, you can connect to the company internet securely, but your private web browsing doesn't go through HQ...

App Store license management changes the way apps purchased in volume work. Previously, companies could buy a ton of apps and basically give them to their employees. But, if an employee transferred or left, and no longer needed the app, they kept it anyway and the company had to buy it again. Now, the company can retain ownership, revoke an app from an employee that no longer needs it, and give it to another employee who does. It also keeps both the company's account, and the employees iTunes account separate and distinct, so install and re-download work on device, but control remains with IT.

Apple has made Mobile Device Management (MDM) faster with iOS 7 as well. Company-controlled devices can be enrolled automatically, configured with settings and policies more quickly, and get iPhones and iPads in user hands more easily. Over-the-air (OTA) supervision has likewise been improved. New MDM configuration options also allow third-party solutions greater functionality under iOS 7, including app management, custom fonts, accessibility options, AirPrint, and even AirPlay destinations. So, basically, more can be managed on-device by the remote administrator.

Single sign-on (SSO) means people can log in to their enterprise accounts once, and have that login work for all their enterprise and App Store apps. (Think login into Twitter on iOS and having all Twitter apps authorize based on that login.)

Third-party app data protection uses the existing iOS Passcode lock (and perhaps Touch ID?) to secure corporate data, encrypting it with a strong, unique key. That means IT doesn't have to worry about securing data separately. If an iPhone or iPad is rebooted, the encryption is enabled until the passcode is entered.

Caching Server 2, part of OS X Mavericks Server, means people don't have to go all the way to iTunes - to the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store - to get updates and new content. It's all waiting for them on the in-house system.

And, of course, all the improvements made to the rest of iOS 7 will make life for enterprise users easier and better as well.

iOS 7 SpriteKit, UI Dynamics, and inter-app audio

iOS 7 preview: Inter-App Audio isn't contracts or intents, but is a start

At the beginning of this review, I mentioned how it almost feels like you play iOS 7 as much as you use it. The original iPhone's interface required OpenGL support to such a level that it eventually birthed a mobile gaming empire. iOS 7's physics and particle engine seems poised to take all of this not only to the next level, but to the next generation. The reason for that is as simple as it is spectacular - Apple's taken everything they used to make iOS 7's engine and bundled it together into not only a new set of UI dynamics for app developers, and Sprite Kit for game developers.

That means developers and designers get a lot of really good stuff "for free" that used to have to be custom made, or brought in independently from something like Box2D, if at all. Existing projects can throw away code and let the new APIs take its place, and new developers can just include it from the get go, adding effects they might not have been able to do on their own.

Making high quality interactions in iOS 6 and older versions sounded tough and tedious, animating more than modeling, and building even a few types really well was really difficult. iOS 7 and technology like UI Dynamics removes that burden. Designers and developers can dream up the perfect interactions for their apps, and iOS 7 will help make it a reality.

Neither the new UI Dynamics or Sprite Kit are customer-facing feature. Neither was a 10 tentpoles Apple's senior vice-president of software, Craig Federighi, spent any time on during the WWDC 2013 keynote or iPhone event. However, he did show off every delightful ricochet in Notification Center, every bounce in Messages, every flip, every spin, every zoom, every parallax, every pan, and every bit of interactive awesomeness that the new physics engine enables.

Once again Apple is providing amazing frameworks that'll allow for even more amazing apps down the road. 3 months post-iOS 7 launch, 6 month, 1 year... They could fundamentally change the nature of the apps we use every day. It's something that could be transformative. Again.

It's not everything though. At least not yet. Full-on inter-app communications -- similar to Android's intents or Windows Phone's contracts -- were high up on many geek's iOS 7 must-have list, yet nothing of the sort was announced by Apple at WWDC 2013. Well, almost nothing. Apple has added inter-app communications to iPhone and iPad, they've just restricted to one very specific type: Inter-App Audio.

It means apps like Apple's GarageBand and third-party apps will be able to pass around audio files, which means artists and producers will be able to create even better work. It means... it's at least a beginning.

iOS 7 adds support for Game Controllers and iBeacons

iOS 7 preview: Accessory support for iBeacons, game controllers, and more!

Accessory makers are getting some great new features in iOS 7 as well, and that means, presuming they take them and run with them, we'll be getting great new accessories that tie into our location, that let us get our game on, and that make our existing speakers, keyboards, and more work better than ever.

Games are, in part, defined by the control schemes available to them. Pong was fantastic with paddles. Modern real-time strategy games can benefit from a full-on PC keyboard. By going beyond the touch screen, and allowing not only accessory makers to create MFi (Made for iOS-device) controllers for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but developers to create games that take advantage of them, it'll open up a whole new category of games.

It's also a step towards the future Guy English spoke about on Talk Mobile 2013, where we can walk into a living room, drop our phones on a table, pick up a controller, AirPlay to a big screen TV, and displace the current consoles. It's a step towards the mobile devices becoming mobile brains, and adapting to different environments. (Imagine Nintendo bundling Mario or Zelda for iOS with a custom controller...) Now the manufacturers and developers have to start delivering on that future, today.

The same holds true for iBeacons. Their success or failure depends on more than just Apple, but on enough places deploying them for them to become meaningful. Micro-location requires micro-locators, small, Bluetooth 4.0 LE devices that are placed in homes, offices, schools, or other places in order to create a navigation system something like GPS (global positioning satellites) but in an indoor, decidedly terrestrial way.

The interaction between an iOS device and an iBeacon could turn off a light when you leave a room, or on a coffee maker when you enter a house. It could help you find your way to a meeting in a building you've never been to before, or your way along a hiking trail for the first time. It could help a child who requires visual assistance get to their class on time, or a group of children making their way through a science exhibit. It could make transactions possible without the need for additional radios like NFC.

Again, if they're deployed in sufficient quantities. I'm not sure if the technology or its implementation is specific to Apple, but if it is, and if it's iOS only, than that might curtail wide-scale deployments which require a service with cross-platform support (like GPS). Hopefully iBeacons are a type of micro locator that works with general micro locator technology, and bolster accessibility.

iOS 7 also handles on-device Wi-Fi accessory setup, and it's a sign that we're increasingly moving to a mobile first, or mobile only world for some, where the post-PC is no-PC and iPhones and iPads need to be able to handle things all on their own. Using your iPhone to automagically setup your Apple TV is an example of another NFC-style technology BT LE and Wi-Fi can do all on their own. It'll be interesting to see where, and how far, Apple can take it next.

Battery life and performance

How to fix battery life issues with iOS 7

Battery life and performance for me on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4s, and on the iPad 4 and iPad mini have been excellent. There was an initial hick-up after new installations, which could be the result of re-indexing or some other short-term overhead, but day-in, day-out I've been getting as good a battery life and performance on iOS 7 as I got on iOS 6.x.

iPhone 4 and iPad 3 performance hasn't been as good. Both were first generation Retina display devices, and the tax on the graphics processing unit (GPU) was already heavy. Still, being able to run iOS 7 apps will be incredibly important going forward, so updating might become a necessity, as might upgrading to newer hardware that runs iOS 7 better.

iOS 7 and the new beginning

Everything you need to know about Apple's upcoming iOS 7, including a completely new design language, new multitasking, new controls, new apps, and more!

When BlackBerry 10 launched earlier this year, it made iOS the oldest of the modern major mobile operating systems. webOS, Android, Windows Phone all launched after Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone in 2007. (Some well after.) iOS, which had started the smartphone revolution, was facing a world where it was no longer revolutionary, and it was unclear what, if anything, Apple would or even could do about it. After all, it's difficult if not impossible to change course when hundreds of millions of customers are being dragged behind them.

But that's what Apple does. They ditch floppies. They ditch PowerPC chips. They reorganize their executive teams, shake up the very people who got them to where they were, and they radically change course months into their product cycle. In short, instead of dragging legacy, they get out and push the future.

It's messy. And iOS 7 is still messy around the edges. I've been using it since June, through all the betas, on all my main devices. I know from its messy. But it's also damn good. Excellent even. It's computationally expensive in a way that will be non-trivial for the competition to match, especially when paired with the equally forward-thinking new Apple A7 and Apple M7 chipsets in the iPhone 5s. That's good for us, because when competition is hardest, the results are the best. Case in point:

After the iPhone in 2007 and webOS in 2009, I wondered often and out loud what would be next. It's this. iOS 7 is what's next.

And most importantly, it's just the beginning.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • To me iOS 7 is a more "grown up" look for Apple. And I love it. And so does a lot of others. Twitter will be blowing up when it is released.
  • 1. I can't see myself going back Sent from the iMore App
  • Never. I love it. I was hoping the jailbreak nation will release some new and different tweaks to even better the new iOS experience.
  • You apple fanboys make me laugh. IOS 7 is buggy, boring, a step backwards. Still missing many, many Android features. Stop drinking the koolaid. I have had 3 iphones, but this upgrade to 7 will make me switch to Android or Windows. Steve Jobs Rest in Peace, you company is heading down the drain (for a second time without you)
  • Well, it´s your opinion and it´s a false one. Wish you good luck with Android and especially with Windows Phone. U will need it ;)
  • Android has had a flat interface for years, my mothers Samsung has had a moving and 3d effect for years. Two of the iOS 7's graphic interface's highest selling points... That android has had sense before jobs died. I happened to have enjoyed the highly textured appearance of the older iOS. Am I demanding to deny you your flat look? Nope. What I do ask, is that you join us in demanding that apple empower we the users to choose between the two themes. Wouldn't that be more of an innovation? A company who empowers its users to choose between radically different interface design ideas? Maybe even to create our own?
  • The first bug I've seen so far in iOS 7 is with auto-app update. It is broken. I installed iOS 7 and went into the app store and saw that I had 22 updates. I then remembered that they added the "auto update" feature so I said I would use it. As soon as you open the App store, you'll get a notification bubble that says "Do you want to turn on auto updates?". I selected yes and then my entire update list was empty. It said all my apps were up to date. I found that odd immediately. Sure enough, none of the apps were updated and now I don't know how to fix this. If I'm going to update any of the apps I have to look for them one by one in the app store and then hit update. Kinda blows... praying to God Apple releases a fix soon.
  • Really? I've had on since I got the GM version and it works fine. I mean I might have to manually update and app or 2, but its nothing major. I'll get a notification saying my app or apps have been updated. And yesterday and today I have been getting a lot because app companies are releasing there new updates for iOS 7.
  • Yeah Apple won't let you ;-)
  • I got the GM version a few days back and using it regualry, it is great. Its not a complete blind side change, but it is nice. There will need to be some speed updates released. For example, unlocking the phone. I HATE how long it takes. I find myself clicking the unlock button a few times. Just minor things, nothing major.
  • iOS is not good on iPHone 4S :(
  • It is a lot of things but I wouldn't call it a "grown up" look. Notes app, compass app, and the horrid neon green of text messages are all either ugly or difficult to read. I hope they don't give iBooks the same treatment as they did the Note app or I can't see myself buying another iBook. That being said, there ARE a lot of great changes. I love the frosted glass look and it reminds me a lot of Aero theme from Windows 7. I also a lot of the under-the-hood changes. I just can't stand the graphical changes.
  • It has more of a mature look. Apple needed to change the theme up, the old way was getting kind of bland. And iOS 7 is strictly a theme update. iOS 8 will have new features and things like that. And also i believe OSX will get a iOS 7 type theme update next year.
  • No part of this is makes sense.
  • Nothing mature about throwing paint at a wall and saying it is mature. Using every variety of color in the color wheel, is how a child paints, using textures and just enough color to make the texture pop out is how an adult paints. Do I want to deny you your... Rainbow of color? No, so join me in demanding that apple empower us both to choose our own themes. Choose between your brightly colorful theme and my darker, textured theme. Better yet, enable us to mix and match, to make the device truly our own.
  • I agree... There are some good features... but there's just no way I could look at the mess of the colour palette and the cartoon garbage of the icon set every day. Nice features...but crap design. It's a potentially good OS ruined
  • you cant stand the graphical changes but you like the frosted look which is a graphical change... i would agree some of the colors i'd like darker. but overall i have to agree with the original post of being more grown up. this is a much more mature styling, more elegant than before. i'd like some tweaks, as you said the neon green icons i would tone down a bit. but these are minor issues that i'll just hope they change at some point. they dont ruin any experience for me.
  • I had the exact opposite impression. When I first upgraded my ipad I thought "How, this looks like it was designed for a five year old". Their is just something off with the color palette IMO that makes it look a little too cartoonish.
  • I agree and I think a large part of it is the gradients, followed by the fact that almost everything is stark white with bright colors. Sometimes, especially when reading, a more muted color palette is nice. The old style was to make the software look real. The new style appears to be almost a gradient version of windows phone 8 rather than a re-imagining. I think iOS 7 is a lot of form over function, but I am very tied into the ecosystem and, for now at least, iOS has the best app selection.
  • I know what you mean. I think there should be a dark and light theme for which ever color iPhone you have. Also I think we will get use to everything. I have over the last week, and the more I use iOS 7 the better it gets.
  • I love that idea! Maybe I'll get my wish in iOS 8. There is just too much damn, stark white right now.
  • Speaking as a costumer, my job is not to get use to anything... It is the job of the creator to sell me something I instantly like and am willing to trade my money for. If I must be convinced that this product is better, it best be able to cook, clean my house and up after my dog. Otherwise it isn't going to be bought. I didn't need someone to tell me that I would get use to the ios5 or 6, yet I would need to be brain washed to even remotely like iOS 7's graphics. As to its other features? Almost all of them can be found in android. So the phone doesn't stand out, not half as much as what is necessary to spend the money on the iPhone. It's lost it's identity, and now it must prostitute itself like all the rest.
  • Actually it looks more unprofessional and has a touch of preteen girl to it. The bright pastels and whites just give it a very off putting look. I haven't seen this bright of green used on anything since the MS Paint default palette. They need to tone down the bright pastel colors and darken the whites. It is just too much in it's current state.
  • I've been saying the exact opposite. It resembles a Fisher Price replica of an iPhone for a child. The colors , desktop icons ... Very childlike. I've been on the phone all day for 2 days. Slow to nothing at all loading pages on iPad 2... My calendars that are shared with someone are on the phone... Missing on iPad. ( cloud is on) notes are missing . Apps remained on phone... Over 75 are missing on iPad . We tried to reinstall from PC backup... They won't. Many I payed for.
    I will be purchasing a used iPad with IOS 6 along with a used phone that hasn't been upgraded. 48 hours is more time than I want to put into trying to make these devices work again. Apple is sending me a new phone and IPad replacement. They will get sold ASAP to finance my used ones I'll purchase. iPad 2's that have not been upgraded to IOS 7 are right now selling on eBay for $1000.00!!!!!
  • I wish it will be for car...
    I know this site for kids,,,it is a iPad and Iphone friendly user too...check this out!
  • Anxiously waiting for the update. I wish they could've kept the weather widget though so i can swipe down to look at it or on the lock screen.
  • They did. It's just in text now, instead of icons.
  • Hmm. Is there something I have to check or enable? I still don't see anything weather related Edit: noticed I have to turn it on in location services. Wish I can keep that off since it might drain the battery
  • Same here and it's not listed under notifications in settings
  • Seems like it only shows with the weather location service on
  • The battery drain thing is not an issue - my battery use is consistent with what it was on iOS6 - and I've been running all the betas... try it for a week - I don't think you'll notice any appreciable difference in battery life.
  • THANK YOU! That was driving me nuts! I couldn't figure out why I couldn't see the Weather in notifications.
  • Not really. The old widget had a 5 day forecast and you could digest the info much more quickly. Writing out the weather for the current day is a step backward in my opinion.
  • Agreed. With iOS 6 I can know what I am doing at a glance, with the iOS 7, I must glance and then stare for a moment or more. This is totally unacceptable. Also without defined buttons, all the line art, and white space, the phone appears to be something from a bad 1970s science fiction movie.
  • It is there. Hit the home button then swipe down from the top. Easy peasy.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me iOS7 has a more feminine look. That said, I do appreciate the other changes.
  • The look of the phone has a lot to do with the background selection - try a darker background.
  • A darker background definitely helped for me, at least on the home screen. I'm adjusting better now ;-) Unfortunately there are some apps (iMessages, Photos, Settings) where there is just too much white... and nothing I can do about it.
  • While Beauty is in the eye if the beholder, I have yet to meet more than 2/6 people (not counting myself) who like this new graphic interface. 5/6 of those people who I counted, are female, one offered to buy my iOS 6 phone. I will not part with it. What needs to happen is that we the users need to demand that Apple empower us to choose between their "elegance/simplicity" and the texture based appearance.
  • anyone got the update yet today?
  • iOS updates usually drop around 1pm eastern/10am pacific here in the USA. Seems likely Apple will stick to that timeframe this go-round. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yeah, was just hoping for a little earlier this time :-)...guess not. After a few million start the download (~700 MB maybe?), the interwebs will overheat this afternoon anyway.
  • When can i get the update? Cant wait!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Sometime today - keep checking.
  • Likely not before 1PM Easter Time in the US...
  • hi jenna all is programing its v nice but only one is dificullt io7 secuirety issues i cloud becuse same time pepol did not now apple id in already runing in i cloud and unforchnalty i phone go to formate condition and its normal person its a big lose yhe mobile is stop working and no easy sloution
    have a soultion io7 and mobile 5s ?
  • Hope you didn't get caught up in all the hype. I was really disappointed. Apple apparently decided to make the iPhone and all things capable instrument and to accommodate the firmware eliminated many of the graphic bells and whistles that became the Apple hallmark
  • Okay Rene, tell the truth. You just wanted to beat Phil's word count on the Moto X review, didn't you? :-)
  • Not fair, I only have to do this a few times a year. He has to do it every day!
  • First of all, "He has to do it every day!", that was hilarious. And second, the review was great. Much appreciated Rene.
  • Rene thanks for a great review. As an andoid user I'm usually on AC but I wanted to check out iOS7 and see what the competition has to offer. Your review was exhaustive and informative.
  • I do love a fresh coat of pain.
  • Fraudian slap!
  • "It's available as a free update to anyone using an iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, or iPhone, " iPhone 5
  • I am in no rush at all to update my iPhone 4 or my iPad mini.....
  • Every screen of every app has been given a fresh coat of pain, from Calendar to Notes to Reminders. Every. One. Pain? Lol.
  • An unnecessary degradation of what WAS a pretty nice app
  • iPod touch 6? Please edit. It's the iPod touch 5.
  • Holy crap! That's one hell of a review! I might even get around to reading it this weekend or something.... ;-)
  • Still waiting on mine but I think I'll update it once I get home cause I don't see it available for me yet
  • Wow, Rene & team, that's one excellent review!! Thank you.
  • Wow, is this a blog post or a book? :o
    Well, I'm just gonna see for myself instead of reading all this, no offense.. ;)
  • I'm only part way through this, but so far, this is my favorite typo: "Every screen of every app has been given a fresh coat of pain,"
  • ok.. holy cr@p thats a lot of new stuff....
  • Thanks for the truly in-depth review, Rene. Looking forward to update my iPad with 7 soon, despite what Peter Cohen said. I had installed the latest beta and found that almost all of my apps do work functionally nice with iOS7, if not aesthetically.
  • does anyone know what game that is on the screen when Rene talks about controller connectivity?
  • I have been running iOS7 beta for so long I forgot how boring iOS6 was. Providing screenshots of iOS6 vs iOS7 jogged my memory and confirmed how much of an improvement iOS7 is. Who cares who copied who? I downloaded the GM version last night and absolutely love it.
  • By the time you finish reading the review you could safely install iOS 8 (not 7). It's lengthy, but covers deeply. I will have to use it before commenting on your thoughts about the new gesture based navigation system I think. Recent updates from apple both software and hardware, I have a feeling like they are laying the foundation for something big to come. With iOS 7 and iPhone 5S it seems a solid one.
  • I'm hoping its integration with iOS "ITC" (in the car).
  • I am hoping the ground work apple is laying, has more to do with a reset for a truly innovative idea... Empower the user to edit, modify and change the themes ourselves. That would get me to buy the iOS 8 when it comes out, until then... I will either consider jail breaking the iOS 8 or android. Why? Because as it stands, there are no major differences that justify the cost of a iPhone.
  • Well done review, typical thorough work by Rene Ritchie!
  • This was excellent. I love a good, in depth review and I even learned a thing or two I didn't know before.
  • iOS7 User Guides in iBookStore:
  • "setting up as a new device is typically the best way to get the best performance." But don't you lose all of your data this way? Any way to recover it after you set it up as new?
  • I assume that the physics engine is ran on the CPU but it seems like it would be good to have an upgraded M7 processor in the future to handle that. Great review btw, very well written.
  • Fantastic review. SO thorough. I will say the best line for me was "Come at me Bozos" because OMG the faxes and cold calls. I hate it.
  • Awesome work Rene! I'm enjoying reading this as I wait for the update. Very in depth!
  • Wow what a great review, and a lot of info to!
  • This will be Apple's new Coke, they trashed every single detail that made iOS great, and replaced it with.... Nothing... Just blank white space, with some ugly pastel/neon text here and there.. Nobody outside of the Internet fanboy world likes this atrocious crap they've cobbled together.
  • You're still singing that song... and it's off tune... were I as displeased as you appear to be, I'd be more productive with my time - finding a platform that meets my needs, and not carping about how I dislike the platform in a forum for the platform I dislike so. Maybe I'm weird....
  • ++++++1
  • It's ironic that you choose to tell me to find a more productive use of my time when you spend a LOT of time carping about those that disagree with you. If people were silent about everything they disliked in this world it would be a terrible place. And instead of having a discussion about Apple's latest OS, talking about how it can be improved, it's always thew same reactionary response, "if you don't like it leave". My iPhone meets my current needs just fine, and I do not want to find a different one, tried Android and came back. Again, iOS needed a thorough update, not just a new coat of paint, I wasn't expecting them to add a few features, leave out so much low hanging fruit, take away others, and just dip the entire OS in bleach. I was expecting a updated and beautiful design, the kind of design Apple is known for. This guy said it well.. "While there seems to be much to like in Apple's upcoming iOS 7, the verdict from the design community is in: the new GUI is inconsistent, while the icons and color palette are... well, perhaps the words "baffling" and "inexcusable" are a polite way to paraphrase the white-hot heat emanating from a community that has long been a core user of Apple technology, as well as one of its staunchest defenders. It should be pointed out that what was shown during Apple's presentation on Monday is not cast in stone, so there is hope that the icon color scheme — best described as that of a twelve-year-girl's bedroom viewed while under the influence of mind-altering drugs — can yet be brought back to the realm of the tolerable. And a rethinking of some of the wackier icons would also not be remiss, as well as the font choice of Helvetica Neue Light." To me, iOS 7's ui and stock apps looks unfinished, blinding and sterile, soulless and bland. Like a blueprint or a pencil sketch, not a finished design. Coming from what many considered one of the best design companies in the world has people wondering what is going on. In the days of incredibly powerful mobile CPU's and GPU's, and retina screens, apple's decision to make a detail free, text on plain white background operating system is taking us back to 1983, and it's what finally has so many people thinking of switching platforms. iOS was never polarizing, it was liked universally. I was planning on buying a iPad mini with the retina display when it comes out, now I'm not so sure, I wanted to have everything seamlessly sync between my iPhone, my Mac, and my iPad, but I just can't stand looking at ugly all day. Maybe I'm just part of a dying breed that values good design, but then the huge amount of complaints about the new look of iOS gives me hope.
  • We display our displeasure, so that it is known and that the next device pleases us. If we did not care about apple, we would not speak out at all, and simply move onto another platform that better enables us to modify the appearance or other things we take displeasure to. If apple truly desires innovation, they must surrender control to the user and watch what true innovation is.
  • That and every design professional I know. They think that what Apple has done is amazing. I love it but what do I know. I'm just one of those internet fanboys.
  • Several design professionals I have spoken with didn't like it. Or to be more precise, didn't like the new icons. Me personally, I like some changes and hate others. Redbeard was right about the blank white space. The notes app is particularly bad and I hope they allow us to one day set a different default for Siri to use. I look forward to when the 5s is jailbroken and I am able to reskin iOS.
  • Newsstand is another good example, along with the dialer. Newsstand in iOS 6 looked great, incredible attention to detail, in iOS 7 it's just an ugly whitish-Gray gradient with the words Newsstand and store at the bottom in what looks to be random spots. It looks like somebody didn't even try, like it was whipped up in 5 minutes by an intern. Same goes for the dialer, a horrid bunch of circles with neon green on a blank white background. Jony Ive is crazy, the technology doesn't "get out of the way", the blinding white everywhere, and confusing thin text everywhere gets in the way because you no longer can just quickly glance at the screen and hit a clearly defined button. Many people are reporting having to squint and figure out what is just text, and what is an actionable button. It's the same reason those ugly white faced gauge clusters in cars didn't last long, it didn't make the background "get out of the way", it made the damn things harder to read!
  • Agreed. As a graphic designer, and a user. You do not blame the detail for holding back the product, you blame yourself for not adapting the product to the detail. No one can justify the need to change icons, and say that they interfered with the phone operating correctly. The new 3d effect does more to slow the phone down, than a detailed image. This is why I demand apple innovates by stepping back and handing we the users the controls to alter and define the look of the phone. Innovate through empowerment.
  • Like who? Every graphic designer I've seen comment on iOS 7 has said it's a amateurish, childish, garish look.
  • I do UI design. iOS 7 is poor design period. Poor UI, poor color theory, just horrible. There - you now know a design professional who is now considering upgrading his iPhone 4 to an HTC because iOS 7 sucks so bad.
  • Its been released!!
  • At 12:55 pm EST I checked my phone and got a message that an update was available. Downloading now.
  • What The!!! you need 3.1 GB free to install it???
  • Says it needs 2.9 Gb on my iPad too. That's a lot of storagevforvan OS.
  • Not really. A 32GB iPad mini or iPhone 5 out of the box only showed around 28GB of available space factory new. And considering this overwrites & replaces the entire existing OS from iOS 6 with 7, it's closer to a tit for tat trade.
  • Awesome review, Rene. It's usually the little things that I love about major OS updates. You pointed out one I hadn't noticed, but was wishing for for a long time; the pull to the left to reveal timestamps in Messages. Love it! In iOS 6 it was Mail finally leaving me alone when I opened it underground, in the subway.
  • Not comprehensive enough. JUST KIDDING! Fantastic review. Just to be sure, is the public release the same build as the GM Seed for developers last week? Also, I think the hard recovery mode is still bound by the Activation Lock. I remember actually downgrading back down to iOS 6.1.4 during the iOS 7 beta phase and I was surprised that I couldn’t activate it without the original iTunes account it was tied to.
  • It's the same (11A465)
  • I'm unable to update my 5th generation iPod touch to iOS 7. It keeps saying "Software Update Failed: An error occurred downloading iOS 7.0"
  • My iPad update keeps failing. anyone else having proplems with the iPad?
  • My iPad is downloading it fine but my iPod keeps failing.
  • Nice! :) Anyone know why the falied attemps keep happening?
  • oh, i dont know, it could be due to the fact that millions upon millions of people are all trying to update their iPhones, iPads and iPods at the exact same time and killing Apples update/activation servers. just a guess
  • Wait, I'm not the only one..... Silly of me
  • Up and running! Took just under 40 minutes and so far it's gorgeous. Can't wait to see what it's like on my 5s on Friday
  • Great job on the review Rene. I'm upgrading right now mainly because of all great new features, specially the new security options. Nevertheless I feel that all this transparency and moving-bouncing is mostly useless, do not add any usefulness to the experience, and only serves to tax the hardware, which could be performing much better, and its a calculated way to induce iPhone 4/4s users to upgrade. This the Vista version of iOS, and on that occasion Microsoft forced those upgrades but had to take a lot of the useless eye candy off of Win 7 which performed much better than its predecessor. I can already see the reviews of iOS 9, when all this motion mumbo-jumbo gets tuned down, everybody saying how much better the new iOS performs, how much faster anf fluid it is without those useless graphical distractions.
  • Well said..... totally agree.
  • If I update my iPad, then sell it, of course, I will wipe it first. How will the new owner be able to register their Apple ID on it?
  • Wow... This update is taking forever! Obviously a huge one... so it will take as long as it takes. I also updated iTunes on my PC and got a message that my carrier has additional updates that need to be installed on the iPhone (5). My carrier is T-Mobile, so I suspect it has to do with the radio and LTE.
  • If you have a 16GB iPad, it's not going to happen unless you delete some apps. It wants 2.9GB OF FREE SPACE to install. Is that how much storage the OS needs for storage or just what it needs for installation?
  • Just needs it to download and install.
  • Excellent review!
  • " Update Failed". Reboot. "Update Failed". What's going on??
  • have it now on my phone... not a big fan of the new calendar/weekly view, I don't think there's a way to change it to monthly view like before where you see the whole month at the top and that day's events at the bottom listed out (unless I'm completely missing it). Can someone recommend a good Calendar app where the montly view is available? Thanks!!
  • does anyone know if ios 7 allows you to lock individual apps? That is the only thing holding me back I am jb on ios 6 and i love iProtect which allows me to lock individual apps
  • "Update unavailable" after download and in the "Verifying Update" portion of the install. I guess everyone in the world is downloading this update right now. A bit more server capacity, Apple?
  • Mine is saying the same thing.
  • 5 min in, the new design is nice, but the colour scheme isn't well thought out. Most of the active backgrounds make text and folders on the home screen harder to read.
  • > iOS 7 represents nothing more nor less than a radical rethinking of mainstream multitouch interface. I have no idea what you're talking about with this comment. How is this a radical rethink? I wouldn't even attach the label "radical rethink" to something that's wildly different, like Windows Phone. The phone works exactly the same as before. Things look different...but that's almost it.
  • I agreed, there is nothing radical here. Apple borrowed lots of great features from other platforms, put on a fresh coat of paint and called it iOS 7.
    I even see features that were available on a 2 year old BB playbook.
  • Each to their own but i cant help think my iphone home screen now represents a childs toy!! Once in apps such as notes and calendar i think its an improvement but the home screen icons and new colours just say cheap for want of a better word...Thankfully i only use my iphone 5 for music now as jumped the iphone ship a while ago and not looked back since. For me android is far superior and there are far better phones on the market.... but like i said, each to their own.
  • I am having the opposite problem many have had -- I cannot turn location services ON. It is right there in Privacy -> Location Services, but the toggle is completely nonresponsive. Am I missing some other element I had to set first?
  • Does anyone know how iOS 7 performs on the iPad 3rd gen or the iPad Mini? I'm unsure about updated because I read the GM was sometimes slow and unresponsive on those devices.
  • So far I'm diggin 7. I really like the flick to kill apps. I like the animation when a note is deleted very cool. Overall look is nice especially with a black wallpaper. Can't wait to get a Space Gray 5s. So I guess we won't be saying " I got 2,3,or 4 bars anymore. It will be dots. " How many dots ya got"
  • "Update Unavailable". REALLY, APPLE? Maybe you should invest some of those billions in more data centers so that we can download this fricken update before buying a new iPhone 5C on Friday???
  • Excellent review.
  • I seem to be missing airplay? Is anyone else missing it, also?
  • Awesome Review!!! Very impressive amount of work. We started a twitter account to post new and changed items. It is based on people in our office asking us questions. I am sure we will get to everything once our families start asking!
  • Disregard last comment. I had to reset my network. Airplay is up and working.
  • Love it. Love it. Love it!
  • It only decided to install in my 4S after I turned off WiFi. No idea why. Will try it on my iPad 2 soon.
  • Updated to iOS7 and all is as predicted except for one thing. I went on the "Find my Friends" app from Apple and what did I see. Faux leather stitching! Ooops.
  • Interesting. Figured out how to close open apps. I like the new interface. To each his/her own. It's finally installing on my iPad 2. Looking forward to getting my 5C on Friday. Way to go Apple!!
  • I've got "control center" set to open. I'm swiping from the bottom and it's not opening. What am I doing wrong? I've gotten it to open a couple of times but I have to be at the absolute bottom edge of the display. Not easy. Still think I may not be doing it right, or did something wrong.
  • It does seem like a trick getting it to open sometimes. Especially with a case on the phone.
  • Just installed iOS 7 on my iPad 2 very very nice. It took a while for the update to verify but I finally got through. I remember the same thing happening when I updated the iPad to iOS 6.
  • Excellent review, Rene, very thorough and thoughtful. Much respect... I'm getting a better idea now of how Apple didn't just put a new coat of paint on an old OS; it really is very new in many ways. Lots of great improvements and expanded functionality (I'm loving that Control Center, that's something I always wanted as a former iPhone 4 user). I'm intrigued by the fingerprint scanner because I'd love to eliminate the need to remember all my various passwords, which I tend to forget all too often. It would just be one of those nice little things that make life that much easier. I'm actually using an Android phone now (Nexus 4) and I'm mostly happy with it but I have to admit that Apple have done an impressive job on the 5S and iOS 7, and I really like most of what I'm seeing in iOS 7. Honestly, I'm a little tempted to get a 32GB space grey 5S myself.
  • I've now been using this for the better part of the day on my iPhone 5 & iPad Mini & my 3 kids have been using it on their iPad Mini's as well once they got home from school. I'm liking it more than I thought I would. Yes the look is different but it'll grow on me for sure until the glossy candy coating of iOS 6 & all previous versions are but a memory to discuss over remember when stories. The funny thing is I was in some ways fumbling around looking for the hidden features & bonus gems buried in the OS (I like to discover these tricks myself for the instant delight it provides if only one time), & my kids immediately began to find all the hidden tricks with out even knowing. It just seemed to come natural to them in a way I had to figure out for myself. Apple seems to get that part of design far better than any other tech company & it shows. An overall nice & comprehensive review that once again proves that iMore is the Jewel of the Mobile Nations cap & where the truly intelligent thought provoking conversation & stories happen. Good work Rene & all involved!
  • Deleting has become a 3-step process now instead of 2. At least in Messages, to delete a message, you first have to click "Edit", then click the red dot, which brings up the actual delete button that you click to delete the message. The ability to swipe a message to get the Delete button has been removed. A big step backwards in usability imo.
  • iOS 7 uses more battery on the 4S than iOS 5 or iOS 6. Must be all of the little animations and such. It's easier to bring up the Control Center on my iPad 2 than on my 4S for some reason.
  • Actually uses less battery on my 4S, but I highly recommend disabling the background stuff. The Frequent Locations constantly pings GPS, that is a biggie. If you want, you can disable background app updates, but I like it too much to do that. Back in June I Googled to find an article on the net all the little things you can turn off to increase battery life. You can also, in Settings / Cellular determine which apps utilize cellular network data, and turn off the ones you don't want to use up cellular data. In Privacy you can set up app access to various phone hardware like camera, mic, Location Services (GPS), etc. By fine-tuning, you can get better battery life.
  • Wonderful review. Great job Rene.
  • Thanks for the review!! I haven't updated my iPhone 5 yet. I'll wait for the jailbreak. But I am planning on getting the 5S on Friday!! Rene, are you going to line up at the Fairview Pointe-Claire store as well?
  • I really like iOS 7. I think it was a brilliant move for Apple to release it today and make it hard to get. That no doubt, stoked demand for the 5S even more. Hope it isn't short stocked for those of you who are getting it. I'm after the 5C and will enjoy trading in my 4S to get it. Can't wait to hear what the iPad Mini 2 is going to be like.
  • How is it hard to get?
  • I downloaded it at pretty much prime time, 7pm PST, and it zipped on the hotel network. 1.5GB in about 20 minutes. Everyone else I know who updated, no problems, from west to east coast of US. Perhaps they have a filter for Dark_Blu, if it's you, they throttle? ;-)
  • Apparently burst mode for the camera app also applicable to my iphone 5.
  • To say I'm ticked off is an understatement. Apple is forcing developers to choose between development time, app size, current support and legacy support. Most current good apps have backwards compatibility back to iOS4 or 5. With this update, Apple has said "in one day, we have decided you will either update to iOS 7 or you will get NO MORE UPDATES from the apps you like unless they fork it into iOS7 onwards, and legacy, or somehow don't update their app for iOS7. BULLCRAP. The take away from this is simple - if you have iOS 6 and choose not to upgrade, Apple has smacked you across the face and said NO APP UPDATES FOR YOU. But here's the consolation prize -- you get to have the "last compatible version". OH BOY, the last supported version of an app I bought or need, instead of giving the developers an all-in-one-solution they've said "either keep your app legacy compatible or update it to use the new features that everyone else will be using". But if Instagram decides "we want an iOS7 version" all users of iOS6 (jailbreakers anyone? people who hate upgrading -- like most people I know STILL on iOS5) no longer have the real opportunity to get legacy support from devs who will be forced to choose. Seriously Apple, BAD FORM. No work on your part you could have made it possible to include legacy support in "built for iOS7 apps" but naturally you didn't. Thanks
  • The iOS apps are more cohesive but the app icons look a bit "youthful". In addition my multi-tasking won't let me multi-task. It just goes back to whatever app I am currently using, not even giving me the option to select. I can scroll, but it just zooms back in. iPad 2. Edit: never mind, double click home button. Lol. But how is Siri still not available? Guess I'll stick to Google.
  • The new iOS is not going to magically enable Siri on devices that were not supported before. iPad 2 doesn't have the processing power (as iPhone 4, iPod 4, etc.) to process Siri commands effectively, and so Apple made the choice to disable that feature on those devices. Like Rene says, I am hoping with true 64-bit, they will leverage that to do on-board command recognition, although I don't know how that will affect battery life.
  • I was under the impression that the iPad 2 had the same internals as the 4s. Yet Siri is still not on board with the 5s. That doesn't make much sense to me, only the fact that there is no way to keep all the information needed to give any positive results without a web connection.
  • That is not true, as people have been jailbreaking and enabling Siri on iPhone 4 without any ill effects. The presence or absence of Siri is purely a marketing decision designed to induce users to upgrade their phones. Apple needs people to buy new phones, and not to hold on to them for more than two years. That is how you get those " most successful iPhone" remarks on keynotes.
  • Then apple must do two things. First make the phone much cheaper, second empower me to alter its appearance. I work and go to college. I do not have 300 usd to buy a new phone every other year. So either they reduce the price to 150usd or I keep my phone until it dies. As a graphic artist, I cannot stomach the new graphical interface. And if empowered to make themes and other changes, (bonus points if I can sell them on the apple store) I could justify the cost by making money. (Apple makes money by the fee each sale generates) By empowering me, everyone wins. We users can have a phone we like, apple makes more money and sales go up. I see no down side. Apple can also solve theme related costumer support calls by adding a default setting that returns the phone to a default theme.
  • If by youthful, you mean infantile - yes.
  • “Letting a single tap on the screen call back controls would be a good compromise, since that's a common behavior in iOS already.” Tap either the top or bottom of the screen to bring back the safari controls. A simple flick down in the middle of the screen brings the controls back too. Thank you for this excellent review of iOS 7
  • Beast. That's a ton of work dude. Props! "...iOS 7 is still messy around the edges."
    ^ The only review of iOS 7 without rose colored glasses. I agree iOS 7 is great in many ways but 'messy' aptly describes the missteps Apple made [1 pixel icons in apps? seriously?]. Props for honesty.
  • There's already a gesture for notifications. There's a little bar underneath any one that you have. Swipe up and it's gone. Sent from the iMore App
  • I was hoping is was not as ugly as I seen online. Yuk, it is. Steve Jobs poured his life in making gadgets that we love and is easy to use. I think that Tim (not having any vision of his own) let Ives take the lead and Ives made changes so he can put his "stamp" on the OS. Bad idea. What Ives has for hardware beauty he loses in software. By far this is the ugliest set of icons I ever seen. I wish I can go back to IOS 6. Rene has some good insights but his fanboyness will leave him blind when it comes to making a subjective opinion. The Windows phone plain icons are also flat and boring but the live tiles at least has some use. Ives has left the "windows" open for android and Microsoft to make gains after the thrill is gone. Don't get me wrong, Apple will make a ton from iPhone 5s (5c is a waste), but the days when the iPhone was King is gone, hopefully it won't end up like the Joker.
  • You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and welcome to it! Change to something we are comfortable with, especially total rebuild, is not something Humans are prone to dislike. Ask yourself, if you had never seen an iPhone before, but were seeing it for the first time now, what would you think? If you read my post below, I at first thought it was really ugly (on Beta 1). They have refined the interface a bit since Beta 1, but it took me all of 2 days of using it to turn the dislike into total love. After 3 months, I *hate* looking at iOS 6. I had to grit my teeth to use my wife's phone. So, I'm glad you expressed your opinion, but I believe you will be in the minority.
  • "but I believe you will be in the minority." I would not count on that. I think Apple fans will love any horrible design just because it came from Apple, but most people are not diehard fans and will prefer the old one. I know I do, it is more beautiful and more useful.
  • Thanks Jay, you are one of the minority, most fanboys would have ripped my head off blindly following Apple wherever it goes. I just think that after Steve they lost their way. I have seen Steve on his keynotes and Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs.
  • Good design is when you like something at a glance. It is how car salesmen get you to buy a gas hog. They make it look nicer, place it in a honored position where all other cars seem to look toward or point toward that hog. Innovation would be if apple empowered me to choose my themes, to design the interface. This can be done with a iPad, laptop or desktop... Or even in the phone itself. As for the features and improvements to the phone itself? I expect a new device to have these things by default. Needless to say, car sales men hate me, because I see right through the sales pitch they give me.
  • Totally agree with you, JLNoll. And every time someone tells me "You'll get used to it." I reply that I'm used to the one I have, so why should I suffer through this mess only to have to go through it again when iOS8 comes out? I kept my old Android 9 months after my contract expired so I could get the iPhone 5 when it launched. If i had known they were going to "Windowize" it, I never would have switched.
  • I going to take my iphone to Apple and ask them to make it IOS 6 again. What do you think they will do? Apple has a take or leave it attitude and I would leave it if they would give me back my $399 that I paid for the phone. Day 2 and I still think IOS 7 is 80% ugly. I should just go get a windows phone and have ugly but more useful icons. I bet SJ is rolling over in his grave to see the shambles that Cook and Co has made. The iphone 5c is DOA
  • I meant objective not subjective, sorry.
  • iOS 7 you're so beautiful! I can't get off my hand in my iPad. Lol
  • I'm really facing a problem now because I can't purchase anything on the App Store anymore. Right now I'm in turkey and when I updated the App Store changed to the Turkish one and when I try to purchase anything it says my account is not in the Turkish store and I should first switch to the U.S store which I have no idea how to go about. Because of that I can't update my apps either. Can anyone help by telling me how to switch to the U.S store
  • Wrong place to post, vallivullu. You should post on the Apple Support forums at, use your Apple ID to log in. Also you can try calling iTunes Support, but I don't have that direct number, only AppleCare's main number at +1 800-275-2273 - they should be able to get you the proper contact number for iTunes Support.
  • Great review. There is so much to absorb in IOS7, so this will definitely be helpful.
  • Spelling Nazi here: "the parallax effect that allows for "peaking" at what's behind things," should be "peeking". Other than that, a great review.
  • On June 10, I updated my phone to iOS 7. By June 12, even with all the crashing, there was no going back! It's impossible to give up the improvements, and quite fun to enjoy the new graphical effects. And 2 days is what it took me to overcome my initial distaste, and have it blossom into true appreciation for the simplicity of the graphical design. Will the rest of non-geekdom accept it? Of course. Is it as groundbreaking as you suggest in your article, Rene? Definitely. Again, iDevice is an industry leader, and not necessarily in the way we the public asked for - again, quintessentially Apple, they have a piercing vision through all the hubbub, into the future of what we want and need.
  • This probably seems silly and overall I love the new look of iOS 7, but how can my wife and I get the yellow notes w/lines back without going back to iOS 6?
  • You can't, you are now trapped by the poisoned apple and must find a new application or jail break the phone.
  • so... Notification Sync isn't working on my iOS devices.
  • not possible to attach files in reply to email messages? no thanks, will stick to my bb
  • never had a problem doing that. what kinda file are you trying to attach?
  • Weather does not show up in notification center. Location services are on. Hmmmm
  • Rene, i heard that video zooming and burst mode is available in all iOS 7 compatible devices except iPhone 4 & iPad 2, asking this b'cos i've seen videos in youtube where people are able to take burst mode pics and video zooming in iPhone 5 & iPod touch 5, is that true
  • Once again Renee gives the most in depth, and detailed review of iOS. I loved how he included videos on most of the reviewed areas. Thanks Renee, you are hands down the best when it comes to anything Apple.
  • Group Emailing!?!?!?! I wonder why this is not available as an option?
  • it is. same as before.
  • Sweet. Someone got Android working on an iPhone?
  • I just finished reading the review and I'm exhausted! I can't imagine how much work that was to write.
  • Anyone having problems with their wallpapers??? It seems to resize the image and enlarged it without the ability to shrink it or have it in its original size. I now cannot have my same wallpapers because it cuts off most of the pic... I hope this is just a bug. If not... That's a major FAIL.
  • So the icons are all flat but the interface is three-dimensional? I've said it before and I'll say it again; this theme is like putting a Ford Pinto shell on a Ferrari.
  • Using the iOS 7 I can tell it still not 100% or maybe it's cause I have an iPhone 5 but I'm sure apple will be improving the iOS along the way but for now pretty good and loving it
  • Rene wrote "Perhaps one day Apple will add a Shared Photo Stream viewer to, replacing the old MobileMe Gallery viewer that used to live there, but that day is yet to come." Uh, it has it. Has since Photo Streams came out. Click on the "People" button on a shared Photo Stream, and it will allow you to "Share Link" if you make it a Public Website (e.g., Viewable even on Windows and Linux platforms -- you canplay slideshows, view fullscreen, even download copies of the photos.
  • I updated to ios7 what does that cloud thingy mean in the App Store ?
  • Oddly enough,my 6 year old son is buzzing through IOS7 like there's no tomorrow!!
  • Since updating to iOS 7, my iPhone 5 will not "Auto Lock" even after setting the time limit to various durations. I just set the phone down or put it in my pocket and come back to it 5/10/15/30 minutes later and it's right where I left off. I've done a hard and soft reset, turn pass code off and on, even use the home button out of Apps to default home screen. No luck. Major battery drain too.
    Any ideas?
  • Great article, really thorough and detailed. I feel like I know iOS 7 already and I haven't deal with it yet. Thank you very much.
  • Wow, IOS7 is as ugly as I thought it would be. Really gay looking. There is also a spelling correction bug in messages, aka IT DOES NOT WORK!
  • Am I the only one who's missing the swipe function in the music app to go back to the previous screen when you're on the 'now playing' screen ? Or am I just too distracted from the other changes to find how to do it now ?! ^^' And somehow I have the feeling that sometimes there are weird (colored) big dots on 2/3 of the screen and the lower part looks fine (is just white)? And especially only to look at spot search causes me an headache, anyone else experiences this problem ? And I also just noticed that you can't access the playlists anymore when you're adding songs to another playlist ?!
  • Ok, you have to swipe from the end of the display on left side, it doesn't work if you try to swipe from the middle to the right. But the feature to see the whole name/information of a song by holding seems to be gone .
  • theres a part there that says that theres still no gesture to get rid of notifications, but actually there is. in IOS 6 it was just a matter of swiping to the left and thats it. In IOS 7 you just have to tilt it downwards after you see the notification on the upper bar, as in you want to swipe down but you just tilt it a little bit.
  • It's taking a bit of getting used to, but I expect it will grow on me. It's definitely rough around the edges in a number of places, but what's most impressive to me is what they managed to achieve in r a very short space of time - not only a new visual appearance and UI engine, but new APIs, 200+ new features and numerous fixes. If this is what they can do while reinventing the UI at the same time, iOS 8 will really shine.
  • A worthwhile article for iMore to do now would be an analysis of the ways (if any) that iOS7 slows down or otherwise compromises the performance of the 4S and 5.
  • What's behind the scenes may well be an improvement - however Apple took a perfectly professional graphic user interface and turned it into a second rate cartoon; no depth, no pizzaz, just blah...
    I can't wait to restore IOS 6 and loose this piece of unprofessional graphics. Makes me ashamed to pull out my IPhone so others can see the face of the current Apple IOS. Definitely a second rate GUI and one not worthy of the APPLE name, a name build on graphic excellence. I'd rather live without the additional capabilities than live with the current GUI. Hope others find it equally offensive and Apple get's the message. What's behind the scenes looks impressive, but no one sees that - what we, and others, see is the Graphic User Interface and that sirs and ladies is less and a sterling Apple effort. A nice cartoon, a nice attempt at making a commercial product dull and unimpressive/unimposing. Apple figured out to to embarrass themselves and it's called IPS7 GUI. Well done Apple
  • Well said
  • I love the new UI -- to my eyes it is elegant and clean and simple. Not everything is perfect -- I don't love the Contacts icon, for example, or the whooshing in of the icons at launch -- but the overall impression is modern and beautiful. I know taste is subjective by its nature, but I don't get the criticisms. I think this will be a hit and the negativity will fade very quickly after people have adjusted to the differences. And this is not to mention the many functional improvements and new features. Well done, Apple.
  • The criticism comes from the fact that many do not like elegance as it is being defined by simplicity. I know I cannot stand flat and uniformity. I want to glance at my screen at in a moment, know what to click on for what I want. This is something that doesn't happen with a flat, and uniform user interface. Further, apple had made attention to detail and realism its trade mark... A trade mark they have now tossed out of the window. This now forces apple to compete with all other brands which appear exactly the same. A uninspiring dock at the bottom, a background that moves (my mother's android has had that for years), multi tasking? Yep, android does that too. Bottom line is, the iOS 7 has lost what made it stand above the rest. It must now step down and show off more skin to be bought, or hope for a influx of a new market. This won't happen as apples smart phones are already sold globally and are over priced when compared to the cheaper android.
  • Very solid, in-depth review. One picky spelling error: peeking not peaking.
  • The one thing I really don't like about iOS 7 is how the home screen handles contrast against light backgrounds. I use emoji to label many of my folders, but instead of always looking like it should: blacks out the emoji against a lighter background like it does with text, leaving essentially a blacked-out emoji:
  • So far, I am really enjoying iOS 7. I really love the expanded Siri integration. It is so much more efficient to ask Siri to open specific apps and settings instead of having to hunt them down... It would be absolutely wonderful if Siri had more onboard support for those moments when I'm out of network range/service.
    I really like so many of the "little things" such as the animations of icons zooming into relative positions, the level meter animation in the album listing of songs in "Music", heck, even the slide-in transition animation between the "All Articles" menu and the article(s) in the iMore app makes me smile a little bit more.
    Control Center is great. I really appreciate the convenience of this feature.
    The new alert and ring tones... Dynamic wallpapers... iTunes (movie & TV) content streaming... More thorough cellular data reporting... The clean, frosted transparencies in the GUI... iTunes Kids... Safari... Photos... I could go on, really. Great job Apple. Thumbs up. The only things I could've asked for would be tighter, more encompassing Parental Controls, such as a passcode lock on "Settings", and I would've loved to see the ability to clear out cached data from the Documents and Data of any app on my [our] iOS device(s).
  • I cannot limit the email messages to latest 50/100 in ios 7 since I've configured 4 mail boxes and my 16gb ipad is eating all my memory. If someone had this issue & has the remedy let me know :).
    The old feature till ios 6 was great. Clearly ios 6 was good then the new ios 7 :( . I hate the flat design & also previously I could have deleted the background apps so quickly just by tapping , but now I need to swap to clear all the multi-tasked app which takes a lot of time and labour to clear big the deck. There is a time lag in setting the background image takes a lot of time ,that was not a difficult previously on ios 6. Lastly the safari has got rid of searching in the web page for a particular word in ios 7 which was a very useful feature in ios6. I've ipad version 3 with wifi+gsm & running ios7.
  • i've never heard someone saying that having to double click, hold down an icon, hit a little X over and over on each individual icon was faster than just double clicking and swiping them away, especially when you can do 2 or 3 at a time with the swipe. the lag is probably from the upgrade, should do a clean install. lastly safari has NOT got rid of searching the web page for a word. its still there same as it was. goto the top search bar, type a word, scroll down and select find on page.
  • Well, Gorp, thinking about the iPad, you now have to cover a lot more real estate to close your apps(The main screen as opposed to the app bar at the bottom) and move your hand in two different axes (swipe left/right to find/swipe up to close/down to swipe left/right again). Arguably, the iPhone screen is smaller, but still has the double movement. And while you CAN swipe two or even three at once, that's ONLY if they're right next to each other. So, yes, pressing a little x to close is more ergonomic than the new way. Any intelligent designer would have considered the user experience first and laughed at this revision, so apparently Ive and Company are only interested in press and awards, and not the actual people who use the devices.
  • The thing that keeps coming to my mind is that this all happened Since November when the management shake up took place? What are they going to do now that those changes are all in place and they are firing on all cylinders?!?! Wish they would do smaller releases every 6 months so I wouldn't need to wait a whole year to find out!
  • Since I've updated my os my browser and video streaming is slow as molasis.
  • I downloaded in my iPad 3 in Greece. Fast download, no probem there.
    A general is ugly, heavy and slow. 1) i do not like at all the colours and the fact that you cannot change them.
    2) it is really heavy. When you are returning to home screen via multitasking it is going frame by frame, no more the nice continues visual effect of iOS 6.
    3) typing has become an issue. Even now that i am typing these words, the letters stuck, you continue typing and then all of them appear, like typing in word in a pc that has almost no available memory.
    4) in all websites, there in no smooth scroll down any more. It is stucking, going like it has a hick up and annoyingly slow. Thank you for the additional features...but in day to day...crap.
  • you should try a clean install, totally reset it and install. it shouldnt be choppy, but a fresh install is always better than an upgrade, if something god currupt while the upgrade it can cause slow downs like that.
  • That is exactly what I wanted to say, changing form one language to another was totally a huge problem!! iOS 7 might not look as bad in iPhones, but I can tell that it looks super ugly and shows no good taste at all!
  • the more i use this new os, the more and more it grows on me and i love it.
    i just now found out i can swipe to left in text messages and see a time stamp, finally, on EVERY message. the more little things i find like that, the more of a smile it brings to my face.
  • I've been using it since the GM version. Features aside, iOS 6 looks like crap now.
  • i agree, looking at a device like my old ipod that cant get ios 7, the whole look of ios 6 feels like your jumping back a decade now, and i liked how ios 6 looked. so i guess that says something about how much iOS 7 has grown on me.
  • iOS 7 is pretty as mud !!!
  • Initial change was a