Described as “the biggest change ever since the introduction of iPhone,” iOS 7 brings notable changes in its user interface and background capabilities. It was introduced at Apple's WWDC in June, but end users have to wait until sometime this fall to get it.
That doesn’t mean app creators should sit on their hands until then, of course. Developers have been working with beta versions of iOS 7 for months, and apps that are compatible with the update right out of the gate will have a significant advantage.
While the design of iOS 7 is often described as “flat,” it’s only really the top layer that looks that way. Backgrounds and wallpaper actually seem to be set farther back; when the phone moves, the background shifts subtly, giving the impression that the app icons are painted on a glass window.
Well-documented new features include the Control Center for quick access to controls and apps, multitasking for switching between apps and background processing, new filters for the camera, a simplified way to share files called AirDrop, iTunes Radio, and iOS in the Car. Other new functionality is a bit more hidden, however. Tapping into these features could really set an app apart.
Head Gesture Control: This feature lets you control your Apple device, not just with hands, but with your head. Various head gestures like left head movement and right head movement can cycle through icons, activate Siri, or return to the home screen. The feature is specifically designed for people with certain disabilities, but can be useful as an alternative for anyone.
Inter-App Audio: Although the “sandbox” approach improves security by keeping apps from directly influencing other apps, it does place limits on using multiple apps at once. For music-making, at least, Inter-App Audio enables communication between sound and MIDI control apps.
iBeacon support: Devices with Bluetooth Low Energy capabilities can act as iBeacons, objects that are recognized as being nearby. An iPhone or iPad can then be used as a game controller, interact with trail markers, and sync with medical tools.
New Maps features: Maps will soon have a new interface as well. The night mode uses a darker background for better visibility and a full-screen mode uses every millimeter of an iPhone or iPad display. Also, fuller system integration shares information between Maps and Mail, Contacts, and Calendar, so an address or appointment is instantly viewable on a map.
Wishlist: Already available in the desktop iTunes software, Wishlist lets you manage your app needs without actually spending much. If you find a desirable app but can’t or don’t want to buy it at that point, a few taps adds it to a list. Free apps and apps you already own can’t be added, though that may change in the future.
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Zco Corporation is a custom software company with headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA specializing in mobile app development, enterprise software, and 3D animation.
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