On June 10, 2013, iOS 7 Beta 1 was announced and released to registered developers in the iOS Developer Program after the WWDC keynote speech, supporting the iPhone 4 onwards, and the iPod Touch (5th generation). iOS 7 Beta 2 was released to developers on June 24, 2013, adding support for the iPad 2 onwards, and the iPad Mini. On September 10, 2013, at their iPhone event, Apple announced that iOS 7 would be publicly released on September 18, 2013, for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The Golden Master of iOS 7 was released shortly after the event.
On March 10, 2014, Apple released iOS 7.1 to the public, this was the first significant update to the OS since it was launched in September 2013. The update landed almost 5 months since the first beta of 7.1 was made available to developers. Many improvements were made to the OS including, performance enhancements, UI tweaks and Siri enhancements. iOS 7.1 was also the first update which allowed people who were running a beta version of the OS to update over the air to the final release.
iOS 7 was unveiled during the opening keynote of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 10, 2013. Billed as the "biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone," the most noticeable change was an overhaul of the user interface. In a promotional video shown during the keynote, Ive described the update as "bringing order to complexity," highlighting features such as refined typography, new icons, translucency, layering, physics, and gyroscope-driven parallaxing as some of the major changes to the design. The design of iOS 7 noticeably departs from skeuomorphic elements such as green felt in Game Center, wood in Newsstand, and leather in Calendar, in favor of flat graphic design with a multi-plane 2.5Dstructure.
iOS 7.1 brought many further design tweaks. The iOS keyboard has new Shift/Backspace key highlights, the slide-to-power-off UI has been redesigned, the Phone app has a new-look dialer, and the Icons for Phone, Messages and FaceTime apps have less vibrant colors. It also added support for CarPlay for select iPhone models.
The App Store provides more search options by age range and introduces a new section called Near Me, which allows the user to find out which apps are popular in their area. The App Store also supports automatic app updates. Prior to iOS 7, the user had to initiate the update process.
The new camera interface supports the three previous photo modes (video, photo, and panoramic photo) as well as a new square photo mode. iOS 7 also offers live photo filter previewing with nine filters to choose from, as well as a new Burst mode, and 120 fps video recording (on supported devices).
The Control Center display is available by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. It provides access to settings such as airplane mode and brightness, media controls, AirPlay and AirDrop, and shortcuts to several apps including a built-in flashlight, clock, calculator, and camera. Other functions offered are the ability to turn on or off Bluetooth, and Do Not Disturb; lock the screen’s orientation; play, pause, or skip a song, and see what is playing; connect to AirPlay-enabled devices; and quickly access the clock, calculator, and camera apps. Users also have access to AirDrop, previously only available on Macs and newly added in iOS 7, as a method of transferring files between iOS devices.
Along with user interface changes, the Music app also integrates Apple's iTunes Radio service, which is a free, ad-supported service available to all iTunes users, featuring Siri integration on iOS. Users are able to skip tracks, customize stations, and purchase the station's songs from the iTunes Store. Users can also search through their history of previous songs. The number of track skips are limited like Pandora Radio's service.ITunes Match subscribers will be able to use an ad-free version of the service. The service has pre-loaded stations, including a playlist of trending songs on Twitter. The service also generates a radio station based on input like a single artist with songs by them and others similar. The service's selection is expected to learn the user's preferences from input whether the user likes or dislikes the track.
Currently, iTunes Radio is available only in the U.S. and Australia, but Apple has announced plans to offer the service in other countries at a later date. The service is only available for iTunes, iOS, and Apple TV platforms.
iOS 7 builds on the limited multitasking introduced in iOS 4 and provides full multitasking for all apps. The multitasking layer also provides for background updating of apps, and previews of all running apps. The new Multitasking dock in iOS now shows a screenshot of the whole app rather than just the icon.
CarPlay (formerly iOS in the Car), released as part of iOS 7.1, uses Siri integration in selected car models to offer eyes-free and hands-free satellite navigation, phone, music and messages integration through the car's screen. CarPlay currently supports iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 5S.
There are seven dynamic wallpapers included in the operating system. All seven have "bubble" designs with different colors. The bubbles in the wallpapers move based on the device's accelerometers and gyroscope. Static wallpapers now move with the gyroscope in an effect called Parallax.
Safari in iOS 7 integrates the smart search field first used in Safari 6 for OS X and Mavericks' iCloud implementation of iCloud Keychain. Other changes include infinite tabs, parental controls, and improvements to Twitter sharing and Reading List. The tab area has also been rearranged to look at the tabs from above rather than a paged front-on view. Siri features a new translucent redesign to match the rest of the system, new male and female voices, greater control over system settings, and Twitter, Wikipedia, Bing, and Photos integration. The trusted devices feature alerts the user when they connect their iOS device to a new Mac/PC by asking them if they trust the current computer. This feature is meant to prevent iOS devices from being compromised by potentially malicious software on computers or charging devices. Other changes mentioned, but not fully featured in the keynote, include audio-only calling with the new FaceTime Audio, Notification Center syncing and availability from the lock-screen, Tencent Weibo integration, Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0, OS-level call blocking, app-specific virtual private networking (VPN), and activation locking through Find My iPhone.
iOS 7 has received generally mixed reviews. The Nielsen Norman Group compiled a thorough User-Experience appraisal in which they summarize, "Flat design hides calls to action, and swiping around the edges can interfere with carousels and scrolling."David Pogue of The New York Times however, praised iOS 7, saying that users will become accustomed to the dramatically changed interface, and will come to enjoy the utilitarian and additional Siri features. He also noted that iOS 7 was the biggest change in the current generation of iOS devices, not the iPhone 5S and 5C. Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch stated that although "iOS 7 will be a dramatic change from the iOS many users already know and love, but on balance it’s an update packed with plenty of new features that make using Apple’s mobile devices easier and more enjoyable".
The adoption rate of iOS 7 was reported to be as high as 35% after one day. By September 22, iOS 7 was installed on more than 200 million devices, which Apple claimed was "the fastest software update in history". Shortly after release, some users reported the ability to bypass their device's passcode requirement and access certain information, which Apple fixed with the 7.0.2 update.
A thread on the Apple online forum received attention from the media in late September 2013 after a number of users reported feeling nauseated after experiencing the animations of the new operating system. George Kikano of Case Medical Center stated that the new "parallax" function of iOS 7 is causing the symptoms in some users, and not the animations as previously thought.
However, many critics noted the influence of competing mobile platforms on the design and functionality of iOS 7. Of note were the use of concepts from Android and Windows Phone, such as a similarly minimal and typographic design, Control Center being an equivalent to similar settings toggles on the notification shade of Android, a similar multitasking menu to WebOS, and even the design of the Weather app being almost identical to those on Windows 8 and HTC Sense. Sascha Segan of PC Magazine stated that "Apple's brilliance is in putting the pieces together and marketing them. Apple's developer APIs and its history of making money for developers still reigns supreme—there's less piracy than on Android, and a bigger audience and more design flexibility than on Windows Phone."
Flat design and move away from skeuomorphism in general (exceptions exist - for a move towards more skeuomorphism, see for example the Countdown with a new skeuomorphic 3D animation of a spinning wheel).
^ abcdefghijklmCue, Eddy; Cook, Tim; Federighi, Craig; Ive, Jony; et al. (June 10, 2013). WWDC 2013 Keynote. Moscone West, San Francisco, California: Apple Inc. Event occurs at c.1h 25min, to end. Retrieved June 12, 2013.