Apple unveils completely redesigned iOS 7 with new user interface, new features

Apple today unveiled iOS 7, the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone, featuring a new user interface. iOS 7 is completely redesigned with subtle motion, an elegant color palette and distinct, functional layers that make it feel more alive. The typography has been refined for a cleaner, simpler look, and the use of translucency and motion makes even simple tasks more engaging. iOS 7 has hundreds of great new features, including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Safari, Siri and introduces iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on the music you listen to on iTunes.

“iOS 7 is the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, in the press release. “To create it, we brought together a team with a broad range of expertise from design to engineering. With what we’ve been able to achieve together, we see iOS 7 as an exciting new beginning.”

“There is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation — it’s about bringing order to complexity,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design, in the press release. “iOS 7 is a clear representation of these goals. It has a whole new structure that is coherent and applied across the entire system.”

iOS 7 is completely redesigned with an entirely new user interface, but will be instantly familiar to the hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users around the world. The new interface actually makes your phone appear bigger because everything is designed to take advantage of the entire screen. The redesigned fonts look amazing on the Retina display, creating even sharper text.

iOS 7 introduces Control Center. Now the controls you want to access quickly are all in one convenient place. With just one swipe from the bottom of your screen, you have access to controls for Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Do Not Disturb, and the ability to adjust screen brightness, pause or play a song, jump to the next track and stream your music with AirPlay. Control Center also gives you instant access to apps such as Clock, Camera, Calculator and the Flashlight.

With iOS 7, Notification Center is now available from the Lock screen so you can see all your notifications with a simple swipe, and the new Today feature in Notification Center gives you an at-a-glance view of your day with a summary of the important details such as weather, traffic, meetings and events.

With improved Multitasking in iOS 7, developers have the ability to enable any app to multitask in the background with a new API. Users have the ability to switch between their apps in a more visual and intuitive way, and iOS 7 pays attention to which apps you use most and automatically keeps your content up to date in the background.

AirDrop is an entirely new way to quickly and easily share content with people nearby. When you’ve got something you want to share, AirDrop shows you your contacts close by. Just select who you want to share with and AirDrop does the rest. AirDrop transfers are peer-to-peer so you can use it anywhere, without any network or set up required, and transfers are fully encrypted so your content is protected and private.

iPhones are used to take more photos around the world every day than any other camera, and with iOS 7 the new Camera app features filters so you can add real-time photo effects. The Camera app now includes a square camera option, and you can quickly and easily switch between your four cameras—video, photo, square and panorama—with just a swipe.

iOS 7 includes a redesigned Photos app that introduces Moments, a new way to automatically organize your photos and videos based on time and location. You can zoom out to see all your photos organized by Moments, Collections of Moments and Years. iOS 7 includes iCloud Photo Sharing, the easiest way to share just the photos you want with just the people you want. With iCloud® Photo Sharing, family and friends can contribute their own photos and videos to your shared photo streams, and the new Activity view displays updates from your shared streams all in one place.

Safari’s redesigned user interface lets you see more of your content—starting with full-screen browsing. The new smart search field helps simplify searching, and there’s a new view for your bookmarks and your Safari tabs. With iCloud Keychain, your passwords and credit card information are securely stored and available on all your devices, so navigating password protected sites or autofilling during transactions is simple and secure. Enhanced Parental Controls allow you to automatically block access to adult websites or only allow access to a specific set of permitted websites.

Siri sounds better than ever with new male and female voices and includes Twitter search integration, so you can ask Siri what people are saying on Twitter*. Siri also now has Wikipedia integration, providing access to the world’s most popular Internet reference site. Siri offers Bing web search within the app and the ability to change device settings and play back voicemail.

The Music app has a beautiful new design and includes the new iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service featuring over 200 stations and an incredible catalog of music from the iTunes Store®, combined with features only iTunes can deliver. iTunes Radio is the best way to discover new music. When you tune into iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac®, PC or Apple TV®, you’ll have access to stations inspired by the music you already listen to, Featured Stations curated by Apple and genre-focused stations that are personalized just for you. iTunes Radio evolves based on the music you play and download. The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalized your experience becomes. iTunes Radio also gives you access to exclusive “first listen” premieres from top selling artists, Siri integration plus the ability to buy anything you hear with just one tap.

With over 900,000 apps, the App Store is the world’s largest app marketplace. iOS 7 now features Popular Apps Near Me, a new way to find apps based on your current location, and iOS 7 will automatically keep your apps up to date. The App Store also comes with a new Kids category, allowing teachers and parents to easily discover apps for children by age.

Additional new iOS 7 features include:

• a new Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature that requires your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased;
• Night Mode in Maps that responds to ambient light when you use it in the dark;
• FaceTime audio for high quality calls over a data network;
• Notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device it is dismissed on all of your devices;
• Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking to prevent specific people from being able to contact you;
• Tencent Weibo support for users in China, a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary, and improved Chinese input including handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters;
• the ability for businesses to more efficiently deploy and manage iPhones and iPads; and
• enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.

The iOS 7 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at iOS 7 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation) this fall. Some features may not be available on all products.

*US English, French and German will be available with the launch of iOS 7. Additional languages will be added over time.

Source: Apple Inc.


    1. The bitching begins — indeed!

      The redesigned look is incredibly lacking and disappointing, steps backward and offers nothing new.

      Throwback to the 1970s school of linear Swiss school graphic design. Next time your in an airport, the rest room or parking graphics are more inspiring. Kidding partially, parallel example except Apple added the addition of optional colors in the background. Whoa Apple, what a revolutionary redesign step forward in 2013.

      I watched the presentation and a few comments stood out that irked me. Paraphrasing here folks, because my disgust is not worth the time to look up the full accurate quote and attribution.

      iOS 7 is a stunning new interface. Well Tim, agree on the functionality aspect but certainly not regarding the redesigned look. Winders 8 copycat design and I expected better from Apple, like 3D.

      USA TODAY had black and white icons (0.5 rapidograph lines) back at launch in September 1982. Evidenced today is a similar looking camera software icon in the presentation. Big minus, step back and not a plus.

      Another presenter said something like we ran out of leather and wood. Yeah, right. If the commodities market experienced a physical shortage that would be a another story. Pardon the literal thinking — simply haughty, self serving cover your arse BS excuse.

      Above (paraphrased) comment irked me the most. Condescending! Inaccurate! Misleading! We are not fools. Pixel displays have nothing to do with physical commodity inventory supplies of leather and wood. More misleading alternative reality, gee, what surprise.

      Apple LIBERAL colors on FULL DISPLAY TODAY. More than I have ever witnessed since the late 1970s. We know better than you. We don’t value focus groups or aggregate recommendations. We don’t offer you a choice. We ignore the vast majority of tastes other than our own, just like the media and government, and force our redesign on you and you better love it.

      Well, I don’t love it.

      Steve is rolling in his grave right now. The death of his signature approach to rich representational, understandable icons and design killed by modern art types for all time.

      Bland, bland, bland!

      Apples’ second biggest passing …

      1. Thank you for your opinion. Unlike some, you provided plenty of details, instead of simply rolling your eyes (in print). Myself having little in the way of ideology, I will reserve judgement until I have a chance to handle the technology. A picture of a picture is not a pure experience.

      2. Keep hating don’t worry 600 million don’t care about your wannabe intelligent criticism. You can’t see in others what you don’t see inside you. So sad. iOS 7 is simply gorgeous and you know it. Hahaha yet another hater.

        1. I’m wrong because I PREFER Steve Jobs TASTE IN ART over Jonny Ive? Fair enough.

          I’ll give you elegant. Agree some of the designs are simple and beautiful, but certainly not all.

          Camera, music, radio and recording icons — all throwbacks from last century, done before and available in clip art books, Zapf Dingbats or your local high school art class.

          Camera linear icon looks like a box model sold in the 1950s. The recording icon looks like a desk model microphone from the 1930s, only difference is the minimalist modern outline approach. And the music icon is as flat and uninspiring as one can set out to achieve.

          The modern art graphical look may also confuse some people, particularly the young and the old. Steve understood the importance of representation visual communication.

          Added functionality and ease of use certainly a huge step forward. The updated blast from the past look, not so much.

    1. you were just brainwashed no matter what apple releases, everything is brilliant? what a bullshit you are. iOS 7 looks really bad. it is combined windows phone with android.

      1. “iOS 7 looks really bad.”

        I noticed you have 1.5 stars out of five tallying 60 votes right now.

        Wake up voters, this is the worst Apple OS redesign in the modern era.

        I can’t believe anyone wants Apple to look/follow Windows and Android design.

        Think different: 3D, holographs and animation. Not linear flat lines from the 1930s, geez.

        1. “3D, holographs and animation”?? LOL! Maybe you want your iPhone to dance and sing, too!

          Me, I just like it to be functional — and there are some serious functional improvements in this upgrade.

          (And there is actual “3D” in iOS 7, in how it uses a parallax trick to make the icons appear to float above the wallpaper.)


    2. No complaints from me either. I used to keep an app called Bloom on my first page just because I liked the simplistic beauty of its app icon. iOS7 reminds me of that app. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. Not everybody is going to be pleased, but how could this possibly be a step backward?

    3. Impressive improvements to the look and feel of the iPhone. Looks fresh and new. Even more intuitive and yet still sensible to not change the function in radical ways. I can’t wait for the update.

      1. That being said, a serif font would be much easier to read.

        Also, both iPhoto Sharing and iRadio initially strike me as pathetic teaser services that attempt to get the user to pay a subscription. This is NOT the business model that this Apple user will ever support. We already pay outrageous service fees for the privilege of carrying iPhones, why does Apple and others now think that we want to pay a monthly fee to hear music we’ve already paid for? The WHOLE POINT of the original iPod was to legally purchase music once so you never had to listen to broadcast ads, buy crappy filler songs, or subscribe to a service. What the @#$%^& does Apple stand for anymore?

        1. I think you’re completely missing a whole bunch of points here.
          iRadio is streaming music BASED on what you already have in iTunes, not WHAT you have in iTunes, in order to open you up to new stuff. Of course, the idea is to encourage you to buy new music, but a subscription service? I don’t see it, you might as well listen to Spotify.
          And who would be forcing you to use it? Do you see Apple holding a gun to your head, making you turn it on?
          The whole bloody point of the iPod still exists, nobody is stopping you from buying downloads, buying or borrowing CD’s and ripping them into iTunes, nobody’s forcing you to listen to crappy filler music or ads.
          I doubt very much if I’ll be using iRadio, streaming audio is too wasteful of my available bandwidth, even if I could get a signal consistently strong enough to make it worth while, so I’ll carry on listening to the 155Gb of music in iTunes and on my iPod, the way Apple designed it to be used.
          Just like you can.

        2. The original iPod, iTunes, and the iTunes store has now been around about a decade. Much has changed in that decade, and my personal story is a good example of that change.

          When Jobs said, “People want to own their music, and they don’t want to pay a subscription” I said, “Yeah!” I couldn’t understand my buddy paying $10/mo for Rhapsody that he could only listen to on the PC on his desk. It made no sense.

          Enter ubiquitous Wi-Fi, the iPhone, and high-quality streaming. Now, for the same $120 I used to spend on 10 CD’s, I get a YEAR of Spotify, only I can listen to damn near anything I want, whenever I want, at my desk, in the car, on my Macs, on my iOS devices, and on my Onkyo AV receiver, all with ever ripping a single disc.

          Times change. Technology changes. People’s attitudes change. Sorry, but iRadio makes a lot of sense.

          1. ecrabb, iRadio only makes sense if you have ubiquitous, high-speed, always available network coverage, that has unlimited data. Now, you might have it on your planet, but I can assure you, for the rest of us inhabiting more mundane corners of Planet Earth, such a thing can only be dreamed of.
            My phone network, like all bar one, only allows 1Gb of data/month; that will give you a week’s worth of streaming audio when listening for four or five hours a day. That’s if you have a strong enough signal in the first place, which is highly unlikely outside of a city. And as for free wifi, forget it.
            If you can find free wifi hotspots, they cover such small areas as to make them worthless, unless you happen to be sat near one, and they force you to register and log on every time you connect, which is a pain in the ass.
            That’s living in the real world, not some fanciful dream.
            My old iP4 has a ‘3’ SIM in it, the only network that offers unlimited data. In my town, if I get more than two bars of 3G signal, I consider that to be a bonus; how on earth would iRadio benefit the vast proportion of the population who aren’t blessed with the networks and data allowances necessary to be able to use the service?

            1. A sensible analysis of the big picture, Rorschach. That may be why Apple didn’t trumpet the service but stood it in a forest of other features. Only in a near future (or on a planet) with adequate bandwidth for all would this be a big selling point. I interpret it as Apple daring to explore possible new revenue streams yet again, this time through audio ads. If it comes to nothing, they’ll trot out something else next product cycle.

      1. Judging from the diversity of comments, it would seem that the flash point for some is so high that they are immune to the sparks thrown off by Apple, and more’s the pity. Anything even slightly new is interesting to normally constituted brains, yet worthy only of contemptuous yawns to jaded tavern regulars. I tend to herd with those who are addicted to surprise, delight, and hope in contrast to to the stable of grizzled veterans who have been there, done that, and don’t remember.

        1. This is where I herd.

          “An old bull and a young bull are on top of a hill, looking down at a herd of cows.

          The young bull taunts, “Hey old man, how about we run down this hill and fuck a couple of those cows.”

          The old bull replies, “I have a better idea son; I’ll just walk down the hill and fuck um all.”

          “I think the moral of the joke is that you can’t let young bulls decide who you are.”

          I have never used the F-word commenting here on MDN and have no plans to change.

          My point is to discount experienced senior citizens as grizzled tavern veterans that don’t remember is not always the case.

          Correct, some don’t remember (Alzheimer’s). To label ALL seniors in the same vein is short-sighted absent the long view.

          Aging, everyone is doing it. Your timeless response is nothing new. The youth of the world always knows better, flips off the older generation, until they get old and see and think differently … 🙂

          1. Funny, I thought the older generation was doing the flipping off. In any case, my diatribe was directed at the attitude expressed by some, not all, veterans. I had hoped that would be obvious, but I erred with the caricature I drew. The “been there, etc.” bit I once saw on a man’s cap in Virginia. Remembered it right enough, as that man had the gumption to make fun of himself.

            By the way, that blog you linked to is a charmer. It’ll shock my younger sister, that should be delicious. Thanks for your attention.

    1. Yes, it has been crazy. My first attempt at downloading iOS7 beta (which just finished) was corrupt as well.

      I’m trying again right now, but if this one also comes down a corrupt image, I’ll wait until it calms down a little.

        1. As an update – cannot get iOS7 to activate. The UDID of the iPhone 5 I am attempting to upgrade is already registered in my Dev portal.

          There are three pages of other devs saying that they are also having the problem, so it looks like I won’t be playing with iOS7 until tomorrow. 🙁

          I guess the servers are just getting slammed. I could have sworn that Apple had built a fairly large data center somewhere… maybe I imagined it. 😀

  1. I really like it.

    The UI looks nice now, but though I can understand the MS comparison, this Ive took it to a new level. A little too much pure white for me, but a lot of other really nice touches that are more meaningful.

    Aside from just the look, Ive has also made everything a little easier by increasing the depth of integration. Sweet.

    I also like the new features.

  2. I can’t possibly understand how anyone thinks this is a better look than the current iOS. Note to Apple: if I wanted a Windows phone, I would buy one….SMH

  3. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I loved everything I saw, including that new multi-tasking pane which I’ve wanted for years. And the new, more organic Siri finally sounds like a real person. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Jony, you really delivered this time.

    1. This should finish off the hysterical criticism of Apple for their neglect of “true multitasking.”

      Apple was shrewd in waiting to deliver “true multitasking” until they had better power management and battery technology. “We will sell no wine before its time.”

  4. Wow! Looks washed out, no punch, something I’d expect on a Droid or from Microsoft. Miss Scott yet? I do! Tim Cook’s liberal political agenda offended 50% of the country, now this? Maybe it’s a brilliant and intuitive interface, but it looks like crap. Give me color, contrast and graphical simplicity–not a washed out, feminized design with limited appeal! Wow, they really managed to screw up a masterpiece! Shame!

    1. It is like HTC, not an iPhone any more. Plus, control center went overboard with complexity, which is should only optional. Steven Jobs would never allow that. Transparent backgrounds make them muddy; and, along with thin Android-like font, it makes whole design too thin and, yes, low contrast.

      1. What the hell are you talking about? I’m looking more forward to Control Center than anything else. One simple way to get to the play/pause controls, no matter what state my iPhone is in? Sign me up for that!


  5. It looks like a cross between Microsoft and Android… It makes me afraid… However it does have Apples sense baked into it… Hmmm… Gotta use it to tell

  6. I hate auto-updates of apps. Updates to many apps frequently screw things up or worse, take out functionality that was there before. I used to be able to see the reviews to see if the update is a stable version before I downloaded it. Now I won’t be able to and will be at the mercy of developers. Ugh.

      1. Yeah, that was funny. I had intended to only watch part of the hearings but couldn’t stop watching. Watch the entire thing. It was fascinating. Tim Cook held up very well. Sen. Levin was embarrassing. Unbelievably embarrassing.

        1. Apple had the cojones to show up for that hearing; others declined. My takeaway from it is that there are even more weasels and deluded, useless old men in the Senate than at any point since the Buchanan administration.

        1. Yes you did. And now the Senator can have his apps updated automatically without pestering him, even as the NSA appropriates his location, contacts, and habit patterns.

    1. Forgot about Control Center when thinking about the presentation. Man there’s just so much, they really cleaned house and gave us a whole bunch of features we’ve always wanted. Everything is better.

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