Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference began in California yesterday, and as with previous events, a grand keynote presentation opened the show. Amongst other business, Apple revealed the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, to rapturous applause, as it looks like no other version before it.
The ground-up redesign has been supervised by Apple’s well-known hardware design guru Jony Ive, who has been responsible for many of Apple’s most amazing looking devices, and his love of minimalism shines through in iOS 7. Instead of wood, leather and green felt, the software is now full of white space, black text, solid blocks of colour and clean, uncluttered interfaces.
While everything has been changed – all the icons are different, the weather app is now animated and full screen, a series of dots have replaced the reception bars, for example – Apple has worked hard to keep the OS familiar, easing the transition for all of us. Gesture controls are more important in iOS 7, with directional swipes bringing in menus and allowing users to move from screen to screen inside apps.
Apple also introduced several new features, such as AirDrop, which uses peer-to-peer Wi-Fi for quick and easy file sharing between friends, Control Center for fast access to important controls – it appears with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen – and iTunes Radio, a streaming music service which will initially only be available in America.
The first beta version of iOS 7 has been made available to developers today, but the public will have to wait until the autumn before the software is officially released. When it does arrive, you’ll need an iPhone 4 or later, an iPad 2 or later, a new iPod Touch or an iPad Mini to run it.