And so it’s here at last. iOS 7 was revealed last night in front of a huge audience at Apple’s WWDC event in San Francisco.
The revamped operating system certainly doesn’t disappoint on first viewing, with a completely new design language and some neat new features and design tweaks that we can’t wait to get our hands on.
So, what are the main functions you need to know all about? Here’s our pick of the seven key features.
1 Multitasking for all apps
This is a huge draw, meaning all apps can now run in the background on iOS.
The demo was particularly impressive, but for us the key thing is the change in how multitasking itself now looks.
Rather than simple icons along the bottom of the screen, a live version of every app that’s open appears on screen when you double tap the home button.
To open the app you want, just scroll across and tap. It’s Android-like in its conception, but its implementation is pure Apple.
2 Control Centre
The lack of easy Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and location toggling has been a major failing in iOS for years.
This new feature, available throughout iOS 7 by simply scrolling up on the screen, lets you turn on airplane mode, tinker with music you’re currently listening to, change clock and alarm settings and even use your iPhone as a torch.
Again, it’s a feature Android has packed for ages, but has a uniquely Apple sensibility.
3 Improved Notifications Centre
Apple’s notifications offering is a million miles better than it was a couple of years ago.
But the latest update to Notification Centre really feels like it’s brought iOS up to speed with rival mobile operating systems.
It’s now available from the lock screen, a major oversight in iOS 6.
The ‘Today’ feature, with details on meetings, events and weather is pretty much Apple’s version of Google Now, though.
4 Camera and Photo app overhaul
Apple’s iOS camera had a game changing update with the iPhone 5 last year.
But this new tweak, with an overhauled UI, square picture-taking options and Instagram-style filters gives it an even greater edge than before.
The new Photo app sorts photos using Geo-tagging and time stamping tech to arrange images in so-called ‘Moments’, which can be zoomed in and out to see greater or less detail.
It means the end to one continuous, impossible-to-handle Camera Roll, a marker of older versions of iOS.
5 Safari amped up
Safari has felt naff compared to Google Chrome for a very long time now.
The iOS 7 edition, however, offers much sharper tabbed browsing.
You can open unlimited tabs, flick through pages from top to bottom and see them easily, without having to go through the cumbersome process currently involved in iOS. But again, think Chrome, and you get the idea.
6 Messaging and email reborn
Messaging and email in iOS have been almost the same since 2007.
There’s a major departure here, with the opportunity to pull the screen across to access all conversations while tapping out a missive.
The Mail app is pure Mailbox, with scrolling to delete and archive material as you wish. A complete and much welcome change.
7 Music with iTunes Radio
The streaming service everyone’s been talking about is here.
Called iTunes Radio, it works via the music app and lets you listen to a specially crafted radio station depending on the tracks you’re playing at the time.
There’s also access to specially crafted stations made by Apple.
In all, it feels a bit like a ‘me too’ proposition, with Nokia Music, Spotify, Rdio and Pandora all offering similar services.