iOS 7 release date, news and features
UPDATED All the latest details on Apple's refreshed mobile operating system.
Apple has launched the all-new iOS 7, featuring a radically overhauled interface, new Control Center, transparent animations and more.
The new system is available to download now on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, the iPad 2, iPad third and fourth generation, the iPad mini and the iPod touch fifth generation, likely due to some of the more powerful needs of the new OS.
iOS 7 also ships on the brand new iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, the latest incarnations to seep out of the Cupertino-based firm.
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The last major update, dubbed iOS 6, for Apple's mobile devices was mostly hit, but there was a big Maps-shaped miss.
Lots of people were rightly angry about Apple ditching Google data, but beyond that mis-step there were things to like: a more useful Siri (App launching plus the recognition that a world exists outside of the USA), shared Photo Streams, handy Phone app controls such as 'send to voicemail', and major improvements to Mail, Safari, accessibility and the Camera app.
However, with the new iOS 7 update we've been given the all-new interface, as well as new ways to control the phone and make sure that you don't have to worry about fumbling around in the dark for the torch.
It's interesting to note there was nothing about Apple Maps on the iOS being improved, although it did state that its 'developers have been making great improvements to Maps' as well as bringing new features - as well as mapping information being pushed directly to iDevices from a larger Mac or MacBook.
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iOS 7 release date
At the iPhone5S and 5C launch event, Apple announced that the iOS 7 release date was September 18 for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.
In terms of other devices, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4 will all be getting the shiny new iOS 7, as will the iPod 5th generation.
It's been in beta for developers for a while, so there should be plenty of apps on the way to boot.
iOS 7 design
A greater synergy between hardware and software design is something Apple is looking to achieve as it moves towards iOS 7.
We saw the most overt 'leak' of iOS 7 from Apple-loving site 9to5 Mac before the launch, and it looks like it was bang on the money with the render it created from the preview it was shown.
In reality, we saw a heavily-overhauled new operating system, one that bore more than a few similarities to Nokia's MeeGo in colour and layout. For instance, the icons have been given a more 'rounded' feel, as well as being given a colour overhaul.
The font has also been tweaked as well, with some fancy-looking schematics showing how some things have been changed height wise... although it does look pretty similar though.
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Control Center is now a pervasive part of the whole ecosystem, allowing users to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to control everything from the Airplane Mode to the integrated Flashlight. Music is still available in this screen, while you can also control the brightness on screen without having to exit the app.
This isn't the most novel of systems, and was already in place when it comes to music and brightness control; but at least now it looks much nicer and there's a torch/flashlight to play with as well.
The notifications bar is now a full-screen affair, and will also be available on the lock screen, meaning you won't need to wander around through the redesigned number pad any more to see who wants to play some boring game with you.
The lock screen has been updated to make it cleaner with less clutter, removing the step by step instructions to actually getting into your phone.
There's a similar experience to be had on the iPad. Everything looks a lot more flat, and older apps draw in information from iTunes online in order to get the flatter version of icons.
iOS 7 features
Apple decided that while there were a large number of enhancements to get excited by in the new release of the software, there were ten that it wanted to get properly excited over and tell the world about.
While the design was overhauled, the internal bits and pieces were something of a more incremental upgrade, but one that showed Apple was looking to the future in its battle against Android.
Control Center is one of the big ones, as it now allows you to control the main guts of the phone; swiping up from anywhere on your iPhone or iPad will bring up the new hub for loads of options no matter where you are.
It's been given the same translucent sheen as with most of the iOS 7 updates, but gives a lot of space up to the music player and brightness controls, as well as making AirDrop and AirPlay the stars of the show at the bottom.
The camera app has been given something of an overhaul - there's not a lot of extra functionality added in, more a change on the layout taking things to a simplier, swipe-friendly interface which has a few more options than on iOS 6.
You do get some extra features in the shape of various lens shapes including square and panorama elements to lay over the top of your snaps in iOS 7, while live photo filters let you see what your subject will look like in a multitude of effects before you even hit the shutter key.
There's also a zoom feature enabled in the video mode too, which will work in the same way as photos do: namely, just pinching on the screen while shooting full HD video will get closer to the subject.