Apple to release iOS 7 on September 18

As you’ll no doubt be aware Apple is currently hosting an iPhone event at its Cupertino, Calif.-based home. Like all Apple events, proceedings started with an impressive figure -- Apple will ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month -- and then after a brief look at the free iTunes Festival, we got a recap of what the next version of Apple's mobile operating system has to offer us.

The Jony Ive designed iOS 7 has a flatter, functional design and the skeumorphism -- faux wooden bookshelves, green felt and the like -- is no more. The icons have been redesigned, the typeface changed, and there’s new pallet of colors. Siri has been massively improved too. Apple also engineered iOS 7 to take full advantage of the advanced 64-bit technologies in the iPhone 5s, including the native 64-bit kernel, libraries and drivers. The built-in apps have been re-engineered for 64-bit as well.

In total there are over 200 new features, including:

  • Control Center -- Which gives users quick access to the controls they want in one convenient place with just one swipe from the bottom of the screen;
  • Notification Center -- Now available from the Lock screen so users can see all their notifications with a simple swipe. The new Today feature provides an at-a-glance view of the day with a summary of the important details such as weather, traffic, meetings and events;
  • Improved Multitasking -- Gives users the ability to switch between their apps in a more visual and intuitive way, and iOS 7 pays attention to which apps are used most and automatically keeps content up to date in the background;
  • AirDrop -- A new way to quickly and easily share content with people nearby;
  • New Camera app filters -- Let users add real-time photo effects, a square camera option, and users can quickly and easily switch between your four cameras -- video, photo, square and panorama -- with just a swipe;
  • A redesigned Photos app -- Introduces Moments, a new way to automatically organize photos and videos based on time and location;
  • Full-screen browsing with Safari’s new redesigned user interface -- The new smart search field helps simplify searching, and there’s a new view for bookmarks and Safari tabs;
  • Siri with new male and female voices -- Also Twitter search integration, Wikipedia integration and Bing web searching within the app;
  • iTunes Radio -- A free Internet radio service featuring over 200 stations and a catalog of music from the iTunes Store.

It’s the biggest change to the operating system since iOS first launched. Or as Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple, claimed while demoing it: "Downloading iOS 7 is like getting an all-new device. One that's so much more useful and elegant than ever before".

We’ve all known iOS7 was coming, but what we didn’t know was exactly when and now we do. Apple will be pushing out the update on September 18 -- so just over a week away.

Will it be compatible with your iOS device? It depends how new it is. Apple says it will be available for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini, and 5th gen iPod touch.

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