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iOS 7 Release: What iPhone Users Can Expect Starting Wednesday

By    |   Wednesday, 18 September 2013 11:48 AM

Wednesday is a big day for Apple users, with the release of the iOS 7 which will be a major overhaul for iPhones.

Apple first debuted its mobile OS in January 2007. Since then, the look of the iOS hasn’t changed much. The OS was due for a major upgrade.

Starting Wednesday, Apple will make its new software available for free for the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 models, the iPad 2 and later, the iPad Mini and the iPod Touch released last year, according to The Associated Press. It will also come with new phones, including the new 5C and 5S models out last Friday. Apple warns that not all features will be compatible with all older devices.

To get the new software, just respond to the prompt when it arrives on your device over the next week, or go to "Software Update" in the settings under "General" if you want it sooner.

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Here are the major enhancements:

New User Interface: The look and feel of the entire device is entirely different. Boy Genius Report’s Zach Epstein points out that “the look is flatter, the colors are brighter and many shapes have been smoothed out.” But the overall layout of the phone has not changed, so an iPhone user won’t have to relearn how to use the device.

Control Center: Instead of having to dig deep in Settings to make a change, the new Control Center is a user’s one-stop shop to change the screen’s brightness, set the phone on Airplane mode, connect to Wi-Fi, and more. It also contains shortcuts for frequently used apps like Camera, Calculator, and Clock. The Control Center is easily accessible: just swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access it.

AirDrop: AirDrop is a simple way for users to share files like photos, videos, contacts, and other files with nearby iPhones, like the app Bump did. AirDrop works with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But the feature isn’t compatible with Macs.

Multitasking: The iPhone's multi-tasking has always been fraught with problems, but now you should see much better performance, MoneyWatch’s Dave Johnson wrote. The overhauled multitasking feature allows apps to fully run in the background so apps like Facebook and Twitter can update notifications automatically without having to be open. But, as CNN Money’s Adrian Covert points out, it will be hard to tell how well this feature will work until app makers begin to support it.

Safari: The phone's Safari browser has been enhanced, especially the search feature. The separate search bar is gone, as it has been unified with the address field. The user can simply swipe to the left or right to go back or forward to the next webpage. All the tools along the bottom of the Safari app (back, forward, bookmark) have disappeared, giving the webpage more real estate on a user’s screen.

Camera: The camera app has been improved, with 9 new Instagram-like filters, better camera controls, and exclusive to the 5S and 5C, the new “burst” mode.

Photos: The Photos app allows users to sort images by time and place to make browsing easier. Also, iCloud Photo Sharing lets users share photo streams with other users who can comment on them.

Siri: The voice recognition software now comes with male and female voices. It also has more services built into it, like Wikipedia and Twitter, and can understand a broader range of commands. But it’s still no Google, as Covert points out, which can tell you to leave home earlier than usual because there's an accident on the freeway.

iTunes Radio: Like the music app Pandora, iTunes Radio allows users to stream music for free with ads mixed in between.

iCloud Keychain: Always forgetting your login names and passwords? This feature allows users to store this information, including credit card information, safely. Shopping online using Safari just got easier.

Bottom line: Most reviewers say the iOS 7 is a fine update that was much-needed, but Apple still has a long way to go before it’s at the top of it’s innovation game again.

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Wednesday is a big day for Apple users, with the release of the iOS 7 which will be a major overhaul for iPhones.
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Wednesday, 18 September 2013 11:48 AM
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