As expected, Apple announced a new version of iOS at WWDC 2013 in the form of iOS 7, an update that it says is the biggest update to iOS since the debut of the iPhone many years ago. Apple announced quite a bit on stage including new features, overhauled applications, and more. But what are the most important things to know about the upcoming iOS 7 release?
In the past, Apple has used its annual World Wide Developers Conference, also known as WWDC, to showcase its new software. The past two WWDCs were focused on both iOS and OS X and they gave not only developers, but consumers, a sneak peek at what to expect from the software when they are finalized and released to consumers later in the year.
At WWDC 2011, we saw Apple show off parts of iOS 5 before delivering it alongside the iPhone 4S in October. At last year’s WWDC, Apple showcased pieces of iOS 6 before announcing, and releasing it alongside its current iPhone, the iPhone 5. This year was no different as Apple took the stage and showcased its brand new software, iOS 7.
iOS 7, as described by Apple, is going to be the biggest update to the iOS software since the introduction of the original iPhone, all the way back in 2007. On paper, it looks like it might be telling the truth. The update appears to be a complete overhaul of Apple’s older software complete with a new look and redesigned core applications.
Things like Multitasking and Music have been overhauled and new features like AirDrop and iTunes Radio have been introduced to back up the features that were already baked inside iOS already. Apple showed off quite a bit of iOS 7 on stage and besides showing off what is new, it announced and alluded to some extremely important information that consumers should know about in regards to iOS 7.
That said, here are the five things that consumers should know about iOS 7, its release date, its features, and more.
iOS 7 Release in Fall
While Apple may have shown off iOS 7, its new design and many of its new features today at WWDC, it also delivered the all important information about its release date. Of course, because this is WWDC and not an iPhone event, we didn’t expect a specific release date and we didn’t get one.
Instead, Apple announced that it will be releasing iOS 7 sometime in the fall which means that it will be coming at some point between September and November. That means that owners of current devices like the iPhone 5, will be stuck on iOS 6 until at least September.
Fortunately, September is the earliest month in the fall and right now, it’s the rumored launch date for the iOS 7 update’s companion, the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5S is heavily rumored for September and given that the iPhone 5 arrive in September, we imagine that an iOS 7 release date and a iPhone 5S release date will emerge during that month.
You Can Get iOS 7 Beta Right Now
Many people won’t have to wait until September, October or November to get their hands on iOS 7, well, at least part of it. Apple announced today that it has opened up the iOS 7 beta for developers, meaning those in the developer program will be free to tinker with the update and its features starting today.
Signing up for the developer program will cost $99 annually. For those that don’t want to spend that kind of cash, but want to take advantage of iOS 7 early, can sign up through a number of other places in order to make that happen.
Our favorite is IMZDL which offers nearly instant UDID registration and which will set your iPhone or iPad up with access to the iOS 7 beta. As we’ve noted, there are other services out there that offer this very same thing but in our experience, IMZDL is a safe, sure fire way to get a device set up with beta access without signing up for the developer program.
Keep in mind, this won’t be the full iOS 7 update that arrives later on this year and given that it’s a beta, it could definitely have some bugs on board.
iOS 7 Features Missing at WWDC
Indeed, the iOS 7 beta isn’t going to be the full version of iOS that is released to consumers this fall. Instead, it’s an early preview of some of the features that will be arriving for the iPhone and iPad. Apple has, more than likely, saved other features for the iOS 7 release announcement later on this year, features that won’t show up in the beta.
Some of those features will likely be for the iPhone 5S, Apple’s next version of the iPhone, that is said to be coming out later this year, likely alongside the iOS 7 update. As it did with Siri and the iPhone 4S, it’s likely that Apple has saved at least one unique feature that it will use to help promote the iPhone 5S.
Smart money will bet on something having to do with a fingerprint scanner, something that is heavily rumored to be coming embedded in the device’s home button. It’s also possible that the device could have something else entirely, unknown outside of Apple.
It’s also entirely possible that the iPhone 5S won’t have any new software features but even if that’s the case, there are surely some features that Apple has saved for the final, Gold Master release of iOS 7.
Devices May Not Get Full Update
We’ve already heard that the iPad 1, iPhone 3GS and below and iPod touch fourth-generation and below will not be getting iOS 7. This is obviously devastating news, particularly for iPhone 3GS owners who are currently on iOS 6. That said, even owners who will be getting iOS 7 in the future aren’t safe from feature cuts.
Buried inside Apple’s iOS 7 splash page are two sentences that spell out potential doom for those who are in possession of devices like the iPad 2 and iPhone 4.
Features are subject to change. Not all features are available on all devices.
This is not anything new. Apple always has a disclaimer like this on its iOS page. But what does it mean for iOS 7? Well, it means that older devices like the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 could see iOS 7 updates that arrive without some of the advertised features. As of right now, we only know of one feature that won’t be coming to older devices.
Apple announced that Airdrop will only be coming to iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini, and iPod touch only. Older devices will unfortunately be left out of the file sharing fun. We don’t expect this to be the only feature that is taken from older devices as Apple likes to slash software in order to give consumers incentive to latch onto newer devices. There are also performance issues to consider as well.
While many eyes were focused on the fancy new user interface and overhauled features, maybe the biggest feature that Apple announced for iOS 7 has to do with security.
It’s no secret that Apple devices are frequently stolen, only to be re-sold on third-party marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay. Thieves, prior to iOS 7, are able to shut off Find my iPhone and completely wipe the contents of a smartphone in order to sell it to unknowing customers.
In iOS 7, Apple has announced that the software will block new activation requests, meaning, the device will be attached to an Apple ID. Should a thief decide to turn off Find my iPhone and try and wipe the device, they won’t be able to reactivate it for use.
This is huge as it will not only protect device owners from sensitive information being stolen and distributed, but it also should help to cut down on the rampant Apple thefts that have plagued cities like San Francisco and New York City.