Apple is expected to release the next major update to its mobile operating system - iOS 7, in early September, with the final build to developers anticipated for September 5 and the public release September 10 (these dates are not confirmed).
Right now, though, app developers—and anyone willing to pay $99 to register to become an app developer, can get their hands on the beta, known as iOS 7 beta 6, right now.
Here’s a primer on exactly what we know about iOS 7 so far.
A few new gestures are present in iOS 7, as well. You can swipe up from the bottom of the screen for Control Center, pull down on the home screen for Spotlight, and swipe upward on an app while in the multitasking interface to force-quit an app.
The new features also await users:
- Multitasking: Apple has revamped multitasking completely.
- Control Center:Through this feature, you can enable or disable Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Do Not Disturb; adjust the volume and brightness; pause or play music; enable AirDrop and AirPlay; and quickly access your camera’s LED light (for use as a flashlight), timer, calculator, and camera.
- AirDrop: When you want to share images and files with friends nearby, just make sure they have AirDrop enabled.
- Notification Center:The notifications clearinghouse of iOS 6 gets an upgrade in iOS 7 with a new Today view that collects information about your current day, as well as a new Missed pane that provides a list of any notifications you haven’t yet reviewed.
- Find My iPhone:There is some good news in the form of updates to Find My iPhone.Activation Lock is a new iOS 7 feature that forces would-be thieves to enter your iCloud name and password if they wish to erase and reactivate the lost iOS device. And even after you’ve erased your device, your custom Find My iPhone lost message still displays on the screen.
While Siri’s interface has changed, now users have two voices to pick from—male or female—and those voices have dramatically improved speech processing. Siri also now uses Bing search instead of Google; those results display in-line, though, and you can also search Wikipedia and Twitter. Tasks that Siri already handled to some extent have been improved, as well: Apple notes that the assistant can now return calls, play your voicemail, and control iTunes Radio, with more abilities rumored to await you when you finally get your hands on iOS 7.
The Camera app looks to have been both redesigned and beefed up in iOS 7. On the Photos app side, you have a whole new way of displaying images. The app now sorts your pictures into Years, Collections, and Moments, with collections of images appearing as a mosaic of thumbnails.
iCloud Shared Streams (née Shared Photo Streams) will let multiple people contribute items to the collection, and those people can add both images and video to the stream.
The biggest changes in Safari are its new unified smart search field, a minimized interface, new swipe gestures to go back and forward, a new tabs view, shared links, and quicker access to private browsing. Also hidden inside Safari is iCloud’s new iCloud Keychain feature, which allows you to store your saved passwords and credit card numbers, and also generate (and save) random passwords for new accounts.
iTunes Radio—built into the new Music app in iOS 7. Its lets you stream songs from featured stations and from those you create. You can tune your stations by giving iTunes Radio feedback on individual songs and on your stations themselves, and you can purchase any song currently playing for your library, if you don’t already own it. Unfortunately, the service will be available only in the United States at launch.
The App Store of iOS 7 will offer automatic updates for your applications on Wi-Fi or cellular. The App Store also replaces the Genius button with the Apps Near Me feature, allowing you to see what’s popular in your area, and adds a new Kids category (based on age) for parents to peruse.
iOS 7, paired with vehicles from certain auto manufacturers, will automatically pop up on your car’s dashboard screen and offer a commute summary, calling support, music controls, Maps navigation, and voice support for sending and receiving messages.