Most of the changes in iOS 7 have to do with design, but many of the software features Apple did add are things Android owners have been enjoying for years. In fact, Android fans and bloggers began howling about all the copycat features as soon as Apple announced iOS 7.
They have a point.
Android evolved quickly, but Apple has taken a slow, cautious approach with iOS. It feels like Apple’s iOS team has buried their heads in the sand when it comes to making big improvements that people want. iOS 7 finally brings some of those features to the iPhone.
The most obvious is the Control Center, a panel that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen and lets you adjust basic settings like screen brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and airplane mode. It’s been one of the most-requested iOS features for years now, and you’ll finally get it with iOS 7.
There are other things: improved multitasking with apps, an assistant in the drop-down notifications menu that gives you an overview of the weather and events in your day’s calendar, and a feature called AirDrop that lets you wirelessly swap files between iPhones. All are really nice features, but they all copy Android in one form or another.
In the end, iOS 7 is an admission from Apple that it needs to catch up to all the great stuff owners of other smartphone platforms enjoy.
The iOS 7 is among the largest upgrades the OS has ever been given – not quite the game changer that the iPhone OS 2 and the App Store were, but it certainly took a lot of effort. It not only brings some key new features and a few cool system apps, but it also completely overhauls the user interface and tweaks the right things under the hood.
- Complete UI overhaul with adaptive colors and system-wide Back swipe gesture
- New system icons and folders, animated icons available
- System-wide parallax effect
- Dynamic wallpapers
- Control Center with toggles, multimedia controls and shortcuts
- Updated Notification Center with three tabs
- All apps multitasking with new card interface
- Updated Safari browser with unified search filed
- iTunes radio
- AirDrop file sharing
- Inclinometer within the Compass app
- Camera filters with live preview and new square mode
- New Photos app with better photo organization, picture editing
- Weather app with live weather animations
- Updated Maps with Night mode and Turn-by-Turn walking directions
- New Siri interface, new supported commands, new voices
- Contact Blacklist
- FaceTime audio
- Activation lock
- Automatic app update
- Cellular data usage breakdown
- Chinese-English, Italian, Korean and Dutch dictionaries
- iOS in the Car coming in 2014 in selected cars
- Very iTunes dependent for uploading files and multimedia
- No open file system means you often have to duplicate files
- Limited integration of 3rd party social networks and services
- No widgets
- Air Drop works only between selected iOS 7 or later running devices
- No lockscreen shortcuts (besides those in the Control Center)
- Very basic camera UI with limited features and settings
- Limited codecs support
- iTunes radio only works in the US
The changes are more cosmetic and iterative than they are record-breaking. Even with all the overhauled design that reskins practically every element with a gleaming-new interface. From what I’ve seen so far (including hands-on time with iOS 7 on an iPhone 5), we like the latest do more.
Below, you’ll find a list of the iOS 7 features that Apple focused on today, and next to that, a brief description of how that trait exists on Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry rivals (or at least one manufacturer’s take on said platform). Read on below for more detail about how iOS 7 stacks up.
|iOS 7||Android 4.2||Windows Phone 8||BlackBerry 10|
|Control Center||Yes, varies by phone-maker||No, settings
|System access settings|
|Notification center||Detailed notifications||Live tile
|BlackBerry Hub, badges|
|Multitasking preview||Recents list||Multitasking preview||Active Frames grid|
|Surfaced camera modes||Varies by Android skin||Third-party
|Video, Time Shift modes|
|Photos grouped by
|Albums, other filters||Albums, date||Albums, recent|
|Shared photo stream||Samsung Galaxy S4||Share one by one||Share one by one|
|Peer-to-peer sharing (AirDrop)||Android Beam (NFC)||Tap + Share (NFC)||NFC sharing|
|Unified browser bar||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Personalized radio/discovery||Google Play Music All Access||Nokia Music||Third-party app|
|Voice access to
|Samsung’s S Voice||No systems access||No systems access|
|Automatic app updates||Optional, by app||‘Update all’ option||Individual|
(iOS for cars)
|Driving mode/S Drive||Nokia Drive||Third-party apps|