iOS 7 And iTunes iRadio: The Complete Video Walkthrough And Hands On

It's hard not to get excited about iOS 7. As Tim Cook said on stage during the keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday, the update re-imagines virtually the entire iPhone experience. And when it's released to the public later this year, iOS 7 will wow your pants off. In the meantime, here's a closer look at what it's capable of.

It's not just the updated user interface or redesigned app logos that make using iOS 7 such a thrill. It's everything really. Some things seem sort of flashy, like the supposedly somewhat three-dimensional new floating app icons, while the rest of the changes are stupid simple. The facelift is so dramatic that a lot of the native apps are almost unrecognizable, but once you get used to the new look, your thumb sort of takes over, naturally finding new swipe-and-go features everywhere from your inbox to the lock screen. Let's have a look at the highlights.

Multitasking Is a Breeze

Remember multitasking, the thing that Apple's never really done well? Apple's done it fantastically in this update. Basically, all of your apps can now use multitasking and are just a double tap of the Home button away. Instead of just seeing the icons of the apps that are running in the background like in previous iOS versions, iOS 7 actually lets you see what's currently happening in the app. All things considered, multitasking is about five times faster and 10 times prettier than it used to be.

Yes, it's reminiscent of what you'll find on Android and Windows Phone. So what? Better is better.

Mail Looks a Lot Like Mailbox

For the past few months, the third-party email client Mailbox has won a lot of praise for its gesture-based interface that enables users to clean up their inboxes more efficiently. Well, it looks like Apple was paying attention, because the new Mail app looks and performs a whole lot like Mailbox.

You no longer find the delete button by swiping a message to the right. Instead, you swipe to the left, where you can find the option to delete as well as the option to move a given email into another mailbox for action. Not all the Mailbox functionality is present here, at least not by default. You could easily set up new mailboxes for messages that need to be answered within 24 hours and those that can wait a week. If you're organised about checking them, Mail could offer a very Mailbox-like experience.

Music App Is a Blast

For many people, the iPhone is just as useful as a music player as it is a communication device. And accordingly, it seems like Apple spent a lot of time making sure the Music app was integrated smoothly into the rest of the new iOS. At the lock screen, the classic double tap on the Home button brings up the familiar controls for whatever music is playing. A swipe up from the bottom of the screen displays an entirely new dashboard with quick links to everything from AirDrop and AirPlay to the Calculator app and a new flashlight. You don't have to stop the music to use any of it.

Inside the Music app everything basically works the same. There is, however, a new interface for flipping through albums. Abandoning the old carousel-style cover view, turning the phone to landscape orientation will zoom out to a tiled view of all your albums. Tapping on an album will zoom in and display the songs on the album. It sounds like a simple upgrade because it is. And that's why it's so delightful to use.

iTunes Radio, on the other hand, is every bit the Pandora clone you might have expected it to be. Which is a little disappointing, but it's hard to be mad about something you'll never use.

Never Leave the Lockscreen

As just mentioned, there are a host of new options on the new lockscreen. Pulling down from the top of the screen reveals the Notification Center, with calendar events and stock prices taking priority by default. Instead of a long list of items, the new Notification Center shows you the next few hours of your day in calendar format and also offers some basic info about tomorrow. This means that you feel like you're getting a note from your personal assistant about your missed calls and your schedule instead of the pile of crumpled up Post-It notes that was the old Notification Center.

Pulling up from the bottom reveals what I'll call the Junk Drawer (above). It basically offers you instant access to the 13 things you might want to do quickly without unlocking your phone. In no particular order you can turn on aeroplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb and lock in landscape mode. You can adjust brightness and change the music. And just under the AirDrop and AirPlay options are four utilities: Flashlight, Alarm, Calculator and Camera. It's all so easy, you'll be left wondering if you ever need to unlock your phone.

Siri Still Sucks

Without devoting too many pixels to the specifics, let me just say that Siri is just as disappointing as always. For the most part. Siri is evidently smarter, though you'll have to actually use the service so that it can learn your voice and know how to answer basic requests. The virtual personal assistant is also more anti-Google, having abandoned the search pioneer to use Bing instead. The one thing that does seem kind of cool about the new Siri is the small suite of new features you get while driving. So when you ask "Siri how do I get home?" you'll actually get a straight answer.

Images Everywhere

The Photo and Video apps make it both easier and more fun to flip through and share photos with friends. Everything is automatically organised much like it is on previous versions of iOS, but the two-touch sharing options using AirPlay make everything better. This sharing drawer is available through the operating system.

Just like the rest of the app upgrades, it's obvious that Apple's trying to design the Photo and Video apps so that you'll want to use them more. And it works. You really will want to go back and surf through those old vacation photos on your phone because you can now do most of the things on your iPhone that you can do in iPhone. Along those lines, you've also got some new camera options in iOS 7, including an Instagram-friendly square crop option while shooting and some pretty rad photo filters. Apple clearly never wants you to leave its native apps for stuff made by others.

Picture: Michael Hession



    Cant wait. I was actually surprised at how great it looks.

    Or you know, just get an 4.0 - 4.2 Android phone.

      Nah. I bought a nexus 7 recently to see what i was missing. Took about half an hour to realize it was nothing. Hope i can sell it for a decent amount. Widgets and custom icons give you hard-ons? If so sure if not no thanks i'll be enjoying my iphone 5 with this come september.

        thats only because ios only finally just caught up in terms of features. of course your not missing anything

        gives us hardons because it had all these features since version 2 and didnt require 6 hardware and 7 software revisions to get here

    Starting using the beta this morning.

    Something I'm a little interested in regarding "dynamic" backgrounds. The dynamic backgrounds (for those not in the know) are the ones you see with a nice soft blue/prupleish background and a bunch of similarly coloured orbs floating around.

    The "further away" the orbs, the more out of focus, and the closer the orbs, the more they move when you move your phone - essentially the principles of depth of field being artificially recreated.

    My question - is Jobs' (and Apple's) interest in the Lytro camera technology eventually going to lead to dynamic images and or backgrounds? Giving us a new dynamic and immersive visual experience.

      That orb effect is actually a photography technique called Bokeh.

      And yes, it is really cool!

        I wouldn't really call it a "technique". And out of general curiosity, why did you feel need to explain that? I'm not being an ass or anything, just wondering why. It wasn't necessary for the context of the comment and would have gone over the heads of most users.

          It wasn't a need, and I wasn't trying to be condescending. I just figured that if he liked the effect he might like to know the name of it too.

          I always loved that effect and when I found out that it had a name years ago I went bokeh crazy for a while. Personally, I would consider bokeh a technique, whether through photography or reproduced digitally because both require skill and can produce some really beautiful results.

    Actually really looking forward to this, might finally be worth losing my jailbreak for good seeing as the main reason I did it was to get settings toggles in the notification centre. Always thought it would be nice to be able to do that without playing around and voiding warranty.

    still don't understand the hate for siri ... it works well for me. they've added some cool things such as "show me my emails from Dave" and it shows you a list. you can listen to siri dictate them or just press on one in the list. same with messages. i mean it works really acurately for setting reminders and calendar appointments .. which bit still sux? I asked siri how old tom jones was and siri read the answer and provided extra information and links to tap into. for me, siri is a big A+. I wouldn't use calendar or reminders without it.
    I'm not sure if i'm imagining it, but have maps received extra information? the street names show at quite a wide zoom. there's also a scale that wasn't there previously.
    The icons look terrible. shame they changed them. The most interesting thing will be the way it handles background processes and pre-loading once apps are written for iOS7. There's a lot of promise there.

    iOS Jellybean?

      grasping at straws my friend. Can android be made to look identical? Yes but this is definitely prettier

        All your picture has done is make me think Windows phone actually looks better than the rest. iOS 7 would be at the bottom in my opinion, don't like those flat icons at all.

    I love it but it looks too much like Android, the will probably be sued..

    I do not understand how people like the new icons. They just seem so... inconsistent and retro.

    From the video it seems quite responsive too, which is encouraging. Looking forward to trying it out.

      The first beta isn't quite as snappy as 6.1.3. It's not bad but it's obviously a first cut and has the occasional bug as you'd expect. Not buggy like WP8 buggy but not perfect.

        I didnt realise there were any bugs in WP8, I havent come across any on my Lumia 920. What phone did you use when you found all of these bugs?

          I had a 920 from December till march. The bugs are many. I find it hard to believe u haven't had any problems. Internet forums are full of issues. If yours has been perfect, you've been very lucky. I really like wp8 but it'll take time.

    I installed it on my iPhone 4 this morning. It's a bit laggy, and a lot of the visual effects are disabled on it (like the floating desktop and blurred bar at the bottom, interesting though the "junk drawer" has the blur though)

    I installed it on my iPhone 5 last night. (Was jailbroken). A few points.

    - bit laggy sometimes but it is beta 1. Being that it mostly runs very well for a beta.

    - Keyboard always shows capital letters even when typing in lower case. Hard for passwords.

    - folders don't do the cool zoom thing if they are in the dock.

    - Wifi played up for me this morning but seems good this arvo after forgetting networks and re joining

    I used to have a rooted nexus 4 as my primary phone and this iPhone 5 as a backup but even after only one day on iOS 7 beta my SIM card is now in the iPhone. Yep a lot of the features are straight from android but they are done so much better in iOS 7. Love it!

      "- Keyboard always shows capital letters even when typing in lower case. Hard for passwords."

      Hasn't that always been the case?

        I think your right, I guess the slightly greyer arrow for upper case is just less obvious on iOS 7 than on previous versions with the blue/highlighted look. Just getting used to something new i guess. Still gotta say this is a great OS and the fact that it's beta 1 and this good is unbelievable.

    why is the new lock screen identical to an android 4.0+ device i always thought apple were innovators not copy artists oh well at least they chose one of androids good features

    Definitely looks preeetty. Apple designers are definitely still ahead of the curve

    There is one thing I spotted that in my opinion wasn't fixed. The keyboard should change the case of the whole keyboard depending if your lowercase or uppercase. I have always found when using a clients iPhone to setup their email or whatever my thumb is over the shift button and I cant see what case I am without moving it out of the way.

    Still the best keyboard I ever used on any phone was my old JASJAR.

    Either way it all looks nice and as long as its not like a former iOS update that turned everyone's iPhone 3G into a useless brick that could barely answer calls, people will feel like they have a new phone.

      Doubt it all the reports so far are that it runs fantastic on a 4. They did release the features that won't be present with older models. Fortunately i own a 5. I definitely would like the airdrop feature

    Love the new look and functionality but I can't stand double tapping the home button. It's so clunky and annoying. Tap too slow or too fast and you don't get where you need. I wonder why don't they don't adopt something similar to Android devices where you have a touch sensitive home and back button or options to customize shortcuts to features.

    To all those comparing smartphones: you've gotta choose one, so make your choice and STFU. I was expecting more from the iphone 5 but straight out of the box, it's a gorgeous phone. I'm NOT a fan of the power-hungry AND "precious" Apple Corporation though and so jailbroke my phone as soon as I could and now I love love love EVERYTHING about it. No need for any updates as it now looks and behaves exactly as I (the person who paid money for it) want.

    Not a bad video on it but this hands on gives a lot better overview I reckon

    Wait you try and I will see!!!!!

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

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