iOS 7: First impressions

More Stories in this Series

FAQ: everything you need to know about iOS 7

What’s new with Safari?

Apple’s Web browser—which the company likes to point out is the most used browser for mobile devices—has some new tricks up its sleeve in iOS 7. There’s a entirely new minimalist interface: The search and URL fields have been merged into one, which will now suggest URLs, bookmarks, and search results as you type. In addition, your favorites are quickly and easily available from that screen, allowing you one-touch access to your bookmarked sites. And the interface disappears into the background as you scroll, giving you even more space with which to view your content.

A new tab interface lets you scroll more quickly through open pages (and continue scrolling down to iCloud Tabs); there are also the same continuous-scrolling Reading List and Shared Links features that will appear in OS X Mavericks. And iCloud Keychain, a new feature that syncs your passwords between your devices and even helps you generate new passwords, should work seamlessly Safari.

Wait, isn’t iTunes Radio basically Pandora?

More or less, yes. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t be plenty popular. As in Pandora, you can create stations based on a song, artist, or genre, then rate the songs as you go along, in case you want to hear more like that track, or never want to hear anything like that track again. You can also control the balance of your stations, determining whether they’re hit-heavy, favor new music discovery, or opt for a mix of the two. A history tab gives you a full list of all the songs you’ve listened to, just in case you can’t remember the name of that one track that had you grooving along.

But Apple’s new streaming service has the additional benefit of being closely tied in with the rest of the iTunes ecosystem, meaning that you can easily buy songs from the iTunes Store, directly from within iTunes Radio.

Is iTunes Radio the only change in the Music app?

Most of the rest of the changes are cosmetic, it seems, reflecting the new design aesthetic of iOS 7. Despite the extensive overhaul of iTunes on the Mac that Apple did last year, there didn’t seem to be much crossover to iOS—or, if there is, Apple didn’t hasn’t revealed it yet. In particular, there’s no indication that iTunes 11’s Up Next feature has jumped to Apple’s mobile platform.

The rest

Is Siri finally out of beta in iOS 7?

Siri: will it ever graduate from beta?

We don’t know. Apple’s virtual assistant didn’t get much screen time in Monday’s keynote, and what time it did have in the spotlight was relegated to discussing its new integration features, such as in-Siri results for Bing search, Wikipedia, and Twitter, as well as some new control features for things like iTunes radio. Siri’s also got new, high-quality voices (for the U.S. at the moment, but coming soon for other languages) and a fancy new interface—though it doesn’t yet have the live-transcription feature that Google recently showed of for its voice search.

Activation Lock: How does this make my iPhone more secure?

Activation Lock’s a system whereby a thief who attempts to disable Find My iPhone or wipe the phone won’t be able to do so without entering your Apple ID and password. While dedicated hackers may still be able to find a way around it, the hope seems to be that Activation Lock is enough of a deterrent that thieves will think twice before stealing iPhones to sell.

When will iOS in the Car be available? And for what cars?

At the moment, Apple says that a dozen car manufacturers—including Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Infiniti, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo, Acura, Opel, and Jaguar—have already signed on to provide support for the new iOS in the Car initiative, which will allow drivers to use the screen in their car to use certain iOS features, including navigation, phone, and entertainment.

So these are the only changes in iOS 7?

Hardly. the WWDC preview highlighted only 10 features, and Apple was even more stinting with details at its September 10 event. Still, one of the final slides during the iOS 7 sneak peek during WWDC hinted at many more changes—everything from system improvements to developer APIs. Our own Serenity Caldwell dug into some of the iOS 7 features Apple didn’t talk about during its WWDC keynote, and that’s a worthwhile read if you’d like greater depth on what Apple has planned for its mobile OS.

We’ve only mentioned a few of the major changes in iOS 7, and Apple likely has many more hidden up its corporate sleeve.

What’s still missing in iOS 7?

There are a few things we hoped iOS 7 would offer that it doesn’t yet. For example, the Maps app has no transit directions; Siri doesn’t feature live transcription, à la Google’s Voice search; Home screen organization doesn’t seem to have changed; you can’t apparently set third-party apps as defaults for tools like browsers or mail clients; there’s no Up Next feature in iTunes; and much more. But hey, that just means there’s room for improvement.

Product mentioned in this article

(1 items)

  • iOS 7

    iOS 7 sports a revolutionary new design, under-the-hood features like Control Center and card-based multitasking, and app updates.

Subscribe to the iOS Tips & Trends Newsletter

Comments