iOS goes flat: Apple changes looks with iOS 7

The next release of Apple’s mobile platform will brighter, more contrasty, and sport a completely refreshed look, as Apple used its Worldwide Developer Conference to show its new vision for iOS.

“iOS 7 is the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering.

“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.”

Coming to devices across Apple’s portable i-line-up, iOS 7 is a re-imagining of how the operating system should look and where it should travel to, removing the skeuomorphic look that previously dominated and mimicked real-life objects, replacing it with a slick interface that you’d expect a new device to have.

The visuals are cleaner, the 3D icons are gone, and the interface looks even bigger and works the screen better. Designed for Apple’s Retina-based devices – and thus only working on products from the iPhone 4 and up – the text is sharper than ever with new fonts taking advantage of the pixel aspect ratio, so your eyes don’t have to adjust as much.

iOS 7 is more than just a fresh coat of paint and a new design style, with a quick swipe from the bottom of the screen bringing up the “Control Centre,” which allows you to change tracks, switch off features, stream to AirPlay, send files over AirDrop, and run the camera quickly.

In way, this feature reminds us of Android’s drop-down notification bar, except at the other end: the bottom, not Android’s use at the top.

More features are included in iOS 7, including a new photos app that offers you the ability to organise your photos based on location and time shot, and share them over the iCloud. Safari has been redesigned with full-screen browsing in mind, while the camera offers several filters and four camera modes that can be switched with a simple swipe.

In fact, the “swipe” gesture is something Apple is using a lot of in this version, even throwing it in on the redesigned lock screen, with the gesture giving you information as to what’s happening in the day, like your own personal assistant.

Siri will also now have either a male or a female voice, and iTunes Radio will be included in the Music app, with this service offering a similar “define your own radio” experience like Pandora, just through iTunes. No Australian release for iTunes Radio is known at this time, however.

The new lockscreen on the left, a new menu in the middle, and control centre on the right.

Also included in the update is tighter integration for cars from 2014 (though not all of them), a live wallpaper that takes advantage of the handset’s accelerometer, synchronised notifications across all devices using your iTunes login, FaceTime audio calls, and a Night Mode that offers better lighting when using an iDevice in the dark.

As for when this is coming, expect it anywhere between August and October, as this is slated for America’s autumn, where we’ll see it on the iPhone 4 and above, iPad 2 and above, iPod Touch (fifth generation) and the iPad Mini.