It’s been a few days since Apple bestowed upon its loyal fandom the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7. While I still stick by my statement that there’s more flash than substance in this release (not that that’s a bad thing, necessarily), there are a few new things that I think are worthy to point out. In no particular order….
Timestamps on Text/iMessage
Apple has always been rather fuzzy with telling you when a text was sent or received. Unless it was the beginning of a new text, or there had been a significant gap in between, you were left without options. iOS 7 takes care of that issue. Simply hold a finger on any text bubble and drag to the left. Viola….timestamped for your review. No more arguing with your significant other about who sent what first. As for those numbers you think you’ve hidden under anonymous names…you’re on your own.
Control Center Toggles
Something feeling a little Windows Phone-ish to you? Then you must have flicked up from the bottom on any menu and accessed the Control Center. This long-missing feature of iOS is a welcome addition, allowing users to toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, etc, with the swipe of a finger. Personally, however, I find the Control Center apps, such as the calculator and flashlight, to be the most useful of the bunch. I do wish that these options were able to be customized to include most-used apps, for instance…but, I’ll take what I can get. Also featured in this menu is AirDrop, which allows for WiFi + Bluetooth sharing to friends, family, or just people you meet on the street. It’s Apple’s answer to the ‘bump’ feature available on Andriods; while not quite as futuristic, the functionality is essentially the same. You can set your own privacy level as well, so there’s little fear of someone sending you nudes if you aren’t looking for them (but, really, who isn’t??).
Given the success of Pandora and Rdio and Spotify and countless other apps over the past few years, combined with the sheer numbers of deals that Apple already has in place with record labels, I’ve always wondered why the company didn’t have a radio player in the past. Maybe they wanted the other apps to test the waters first; maybe they just never put 2 + 2 together…but neither of those sound like the company that gave us the iPod. So, let’s just say they were too busy for it. Now, with iOS 7, Apple has integrated music channels into the Music (or, iPod) app. This service comes pre-loaded with stock channels based on genre and/or artist, but users have the opportunity to create their own stations with their personal taste in mind. Out of the box, iTunes Radio is accessible on WiFi only, but this option can be changed to include Cellular in the Settings menu.
So, you’ve been using Marimba as your default since the second iPhone, and you’re sick to death of it, right? Well, head on over to the Settings app and check out all the new tunage Apple has provided. It’s rather a small thing, in hindsight…but, for a company that rarely breaks from the formula of ‘what works’, the new sounds are a welcome relief from the same old thing.
Additional Features to Note: Private Browsing for Safari has moved inside the app (where it belongs) instead of in the Settings menu…The clock app icon keeps real-time, even up to the second…Music controls from the lock screen have improved, giving users the ability to track through a song instead of just FF and Rewind…Dynamic Wallpapers have been introduced in iOS 7…