Siri, Mail, Weather, Messages, Other Features & Availability
Apple's personal voice assistant, Siri takes on a modernized look, complete with new sounds and enhanced capabilities. There is a more natural speech pattern in both male and female voice for French and German languages. Apple states that support for additional languages will come in the near future.
Siri can now carry out more tasks such as increasing the screen brightness, turning on Bluetooth and playing voicemails. It is also integrated with more services such as Bing's web search results, Twitter and Wikipedia.
The Mail app sees minor changes to its interface. In iOS 7, it focuses more on text and photos, which gives you the ability to view full screen images within the app. It also makes use of swipe gestures to move them to trash or reveal more options such as move to other folders.
The weather app in iOS 7 becomes more dynamic as it shows live weather elements. For example, if a particular location is experiencing a tropical storm, lightning will flash across the screen. Swiping left will change the location, city or country and its corresponding weather. Use a pinch gesture to get an overview of the weather forecast in multiple locations.
The Messages interface is given a major revamp, with a blue and white interface that is very different from the green chat bubbles in iOS 6. It utilizes a swipe-right gesture to go from individual messages to an overview of the messages, which is similar to what BlackBerry implemented for its BlackBerry 10 Hub.
One particular feature, Activation Lock, was singled out during the conference for a more elaborate explanation. Activation Lock is essentially designed to deter thefts of iOS devices. Its new feature includes the need to have an Apple ID and password to access and turn off Find My iPhone or to wipe a device. Even if the device is totally wiped, the Apple ID and password are still required to reactivate the device.
iOS 7 is now available as a beta on the iPhone for developers. iPad support will be coming at a later date. It will be available for consumers this fall, and the following iOS devices are eligible for upgrade to iOS 7:
- iPhone 4 and later
- iPad 2 and later
- iPad mini
- iPod touch (5th generation)