Apple is releasing its newest software update iOS7 Wednesday. Owners of iPhone 4 and later, Retina display iPads, iPad 2, and fifth-generation iPod touch will be able to download the update under the "settings" function of their devices or via iTunes.
The much anticipated software release, announced during Apple's September 10 release event that also unveiled the company's newest phones, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, has been met with as much glee as criticism. It is the first comprehensive change to the aesthetics of the user interface on the popular Apple devices. The neon-and-pastel coloring on drastically redesigned icons has been termed "flat" and "ugly" by some critics particularly upset by the Apple redesign. But these aesthetic elements are only skin deep. Check out these seven ways iOS7 can change your functional experience on an iPhone, iPod, or iPad.
Finally Apple has rethought the organization of Photos on iPhones and iPads to function more like the user-friendly iPhoto system on a mac computer. In iOS 7, pictures can be automatically organized based on when and where they were taken. They will be listed by location and date, making it easier to search for photos and keep memories organized. You can also organize them in "collections," grouping together, for example, memories from a vacation or a weekend event.
The calendar is greatly improved in iOS7. Previous iPhone calendars were difficult to use without a clearly defined hierarchy. The new calendar has a top-level year view that can easily transition to month and day functions with one tap. The day view is now the default, and the week calendar can be scrolled through by day. A list of the day's events can be visible at the top, while their time sequence can be expanded to view by the hour.
Apps can now run in the background, updating automatically. The drawback of this convenience is, of course, that background tasks will drain battery life. You will, however, be able to prioritize apps that you use more and choose which updates are most important.
Layering will be important on iOS 7. Certain key system functions such as notifications, control center, and Siri will be able to be temporarily superimposed on the user interface. A "Today" feature will offer an at-a-glance information center with daily updates such as the weather, your calendar, and stock updates.
You will finally be able to enable or disable cellular data use on an app-by-app basis. This can help people better meter their data use to adapt functions to better stick to specific data plans, and can help users avoid overages.
Safari's tab interface has been redesigned. You will now see a series of tilted, 3D views of open pages that are easier to flip through and rearrange. Safari's internet search bar is also now fully integrated directly into the address bar, making it easier to run searches by phone in one step.
Finally, you will be able to block unwanted calls and texts. This can be a life changing update for anyone avoiding a pesky ex-boyfriend or commercial caller. Phone numbers can be moved from blocked to unblocked for messages, calls, or facetime at ease under the updated Settings tab.