Apple delivered the iOS 7 beta 4 release today and it is a big update, delivering a collection of new features that could make it into the final version that arrives this fall.
The IOS 7 beta 4 download is available for the iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and iPod touch as on over the air update and as a download in the Apple Developer Center.
Apple is beta testing iOS 7 for a fall release, allowing developers to test the new operating system for bugs, for how easy the new version of iOS is to use and to prepare their apps for iOS 7 this fall. The $99 Apple Developer Program offers early access to this, but there are also users paying $8 to get iOS 7 now without developing for Apple.
It appears that the iOS 7 beta 4 focuses on several new iOS 7 features and tweaks to the way IOS 7 looks and allows users to control it. Below are 10 of the new iOS 7 beta 4 features that stand out.
Slide in Notification Center
The iOS 7 Notification Center now lets users slide to the left or right to switch between the new Today, All and Missed categories in iOS 7. This is much more intuitive than tapping at the top and easier to use. This likely means Apple is not planning to let users swipe to clear notifications like Android does.
New Lock Screen
The iOS 7 lock screen features an arrow for slide to unlock, clearing up confusion created by the original lock screen which showed arrows pointing up or down for the Control Center and Notification Center. The new lock screen replaces those with a single flat bar at the top and bottom of the screen.
New Call Screen
The iOS 7 incoming call screen features a new look with clearer buttons to answer or decline a call as well as new designs for buttons to set a reminder or send a message and cancel the call.
Searching on the iPhone is different including Spotlight, Notes and in other locations. The cancel button clears the last search which is handy as iOS 7 did not clear the previous search immediately. This allows users to clear everything without hitting a small ‘x’ in the search field or holding backspace.
New Camera App
The iPhone camera app gets a facelift in the iOS 7 beta 4. The HDR setting is now on the edge of the screen instead of right above the shutter where turning it on or off could easily change focus.
The focus identifier is now yellow, instead of white. Users will also see a new listing for iOS 7 camera filters including names.
New Airplay Settings
Overall AirPlay remains the same as it was in earlier versions of iOS 7, but the iOS 7 AirPlay menu includes new icons for Airplay speakers. Users still access AirPlay through the Control Center.
Ask Siri Questions
In iOS 7 beta 4 Siri gains a new feature that many users will appreciate. Siri can now answer questions beyond what the weather is like. Users can now ask Siri how much gas is, questions about calories, dates, famous people and other items and get answers on-screen and read back without the need to go to a web browser. Asking similar questions on iOS 6 pushes the user to Safari.
The iOS 7 beta 4 introduces notifications for uploads finishing. The new notification is in the Notification Center Settings with a generic iOS 7 icon. This is likely something app developers can tap into or a built-in notification for using Facebook, Flickr, Vimeo and Twitter integration.
A small, but important feature is the return of Shuffle All songs in the latest iOS 7 beta. Tapping this will shuffle a user’s full iTunes library with one tap. Users that have a well-curated library will enjoy this one-tap mix.
iOS 7 beta 4 is the latest version of Apple’s new operating system which should arrive this fall. Leaks point to several more iOS 7 betas before the official release arrives for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners and on the new iPhone.