With WWDC 2013 just around the corner, all eyes are on Apple and its plans for its upcoming iOS 7 software update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. While the company has yet to reveal specifics, there are several important things that consumers should know ahead of Apple’s Monday launch of its new iOS 7 software.
Last year, at WWDC 2012, Apple announced iOS 6, its current operating system that replaced iOS 5 and arrived alongside the company’s current-generation iPhone, the iPhone 5. In September, the software was released to owners of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and almost immediately, the company came under fire for its flawed Apple Maps service that replaced Google Maps after a number of years.
iOS 6 also saw several major issues arise in the the months after its release, particularly with the iOS 6.1 update which not only brought 3G connectivity issues but a battery drain bug that emerged for Exchange users. We also saw the software plagued with a couple of security issues that while not devastating, were still a nuisance for iOS users.
While bugs are a part of any mobile software, the Maps situation led to the dismissal of Scott Forstall, the company’s iOS head, who had become a familiar face on stage at Apple events, particularly at WWDC. In his place, Apple installed Craig Federighi to oversee iOS and as we soon learned, Apple’s design chief Jony Ive has taken an influential role in the development of iOS 7 as well.
What this means for iOS 7 isn’t entirely clear at this point, though there are hints, the thought of major changes has be cause for anticipation for current and future iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners.
In the build up to WWDC, details in regards to iOS 7 have emerged though much of Apple’s new mobile software remains shrouded in secrecy. Even though we don’t have all of the details, it’s still easy to draw some conclusions in regards to iOS 7, its features and release date.
Here, we take a look at five things to know about iOS 7, pre-launch.
iOS 7 Release Won’t Come Soon
Yes, iOS 7 is likely on the way at WWDC 2013 but that doesn’t mean that a release will be coming any time soon. In fact, current and future iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners should temper their expectations and expect the iOS 7 release date to land on a date far off in the distance.
For one, rumors indicate that the iPhone 5S, Apple’s next iPhone and the device which will likely launch alongside iOS 7, isn’t coming until September. This isn’t set in stone but with Apple CEO Tim Cook professing Apple products for the fall rather than the summer, all signs point to an iPhone 5S launch later in the year.
Maybe more telling is the fact that we haven’t seen an iOS 7 beta emerge. In the past, final releases of iOS software come around 60-90 days after the release of the first beta. With no iOS 7 beta to speak of, we don’t expect the software to emerge at any point in the near future with September being a much more likely candidate for an arrival.
New Look All But Confirmed
For years now, iOS has, for the most part, looked the same. With iOS 6, we saw the introduction of some new colors but for the most part, it has kept the same textures and design. With Scott Forstall out, rumors have suggested that iOS 7 will finally get a major design overhaul, one that has been influenced by Jony Ive himself.
While iOS 7 in its entirety has yet to emerge, rumors and leaks point to a flatter design being possible. The design is said to be in flux but at this point, it’s safe to expect a new look from iOS 7.
Rumors out of 9to5Mac suggest that Apple will push out the leather, felt and linen textures in the operating system and in core apps, in favor of black and white elements. The core system apps are said to share a similar look and the home screen is said to be flatter than before. This iOS 7 concept video from SimplyZesty shows off what a flatter iOS design could look like.
Of course, a new look isn’t guaranteed, but with leaks and clues emerging, pointing to a different look, consumers who are invested in iOS or are thinking of taking the plunge should know that iOS 7 is more than likely going to boast a different design from iOS 6 and its predecessors.
New Features, Unique for iPhone 5S
A new look likely won’t be the only thing new about iOS 7. No, Apple, as it always does, will more than likely load it up with new features and improvements to older features, culminating in a list of new features that should go into the hundreds.
Apple boasted that the last two iOS updates had more than 200 new features along for the ride, some of them big, some of them small. Of course, there will likely only be a handful that consumers care about but that likely won’t stop Apple from boasting about the many new features of iOS 7.
Exactly what those features are is unclear at the moment. There are rumors that Apple will be replacing the old lock screen with a more modern take, that it will include Notification Center toggles and widgets, and that it could come with an AirDrop feature that could negate the need for NFC.
One thing that consumers should also know is that the iPhone 5S will more than likely have some unique software, not found on any other devices. This is how Apple separated the iPhone 4S from the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4 didn’t get Siri, and we expect the company to do something unique with the iPhone 5S as well.
Rumors suggest that it could have a fingerprint sensor which would likely mean some type of unique software and it could mean that the ‘S’ in iPhone 5S stands for security.
Limited Features for Some
Know that the iPhone 5S will likely come with a unique software feature or two, but also know that iOS 7 will more than likely be limited for other devices, particularly older ones.
As we saw with the iPhone 3GS and iOS 6, Apple cut many of the big time features out of the picture. Whether this was a performance decision or a way to push its other phones isn’t clear but expect more of the same from iOS 7.
At this point, the iPhone 3GS, given how old it is, may not get iOS 7 at all and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a limited version of iOS 7 arrived on devices like the iPad 2 and iPhone 4.
You Can Try iOS 7 Early for a Price
Average users should know that the iOS 7 will available early though it will come with a price.
IMZDL, one of the biggest names in iOS betas and device registration, closed up shop late last year but have made a triumphant return ahead of the iOS 7 launch. IMZDL will allow iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to pay $8 to register their device so they can take part in the iOS 7 beta program, just like a developer would.
The iOS 7 beta won’t be for all users as apps likely won’t work and betas have expiration dates, but for those that wish to get their hands on the software early, IMZDL is a trustworthy and fairly cheap way of doing so.
As we’ve pointed out, there is no guarantee that Apple will roll out an iOS 7 beta on June 10th after the iOS 7 launch, but the odds of an arrival soon after its announcement are very good.