Apple customers can finally start downloading the new operating system software that the Californian tech giant described as “the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.”
The new system is being heralded as a way for Apple to gain a new lease of life. The company is aiming to gain a stronger foothold in the lucrative Chinese market, where Android handsets are currently much more popular.
The big question is, however, how loyal Apple fans will respond to the new design, which changes how everything looks and works.
It has been designed by British designer Sir Jonathan Ive, who was born in Chingford, London, and studied at Newcastle Polytechnic. When he introduced iOS 7 earlier this year, he said it would give the firm an “important new direction”.
The new system has a much cleaner, less retro, feel about it than its predecessors. And, the launch comes just a couple of days before Apple’s new flagship iPhone 5S and its cheaper iPhone 5C go on sale, meaning both will be working with iOS 7.
New software takes advantage of the iPhone’s entire screen in a way the previous system didn’t. It is seen as Apple’s attempt to compete with some of the larger Phablet-style handsets on the market like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, by creating the illusion of a larger screen, without actually increasing the size.
Text appears much sharper, adding to the appearance of a clean design, and operating is designed to be simper, with one central control centre, so you can adjust settings with just one swipe.
It works a bit like the jump bar on Android devices, meaning users get instant access to settings including the Airplane Mode and the Do Not Disturb function.
iOS 7 also comes with a new Today feature, designed to work like a diary or personal organiser, so you get an overview of what the day ahead is likely to bring, with weather and traffic information and details of any birthdays you need to remember or upcoming events and meetings.
The images feature has also been updated, so your photos and videos are put together depending on where and when you took them.
The new system could, however, prove unpopular with Apple fans who like the icons and controls they already have. But, Apple was accused of a lack of innovation and so will have felt the need to move with the times.
Some features may not work on all of Apple’s devices, particularly the older ones. But, those which support iOS 7 include the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad with retina display, iPad Mini and the iPod Touch 5th generation – along with, of course, Apple’s two new iPhones.
Apple owners are advised to make sure all their files are backed up using iTunes and iCloud before installing the new software, which can be found by going to Settings, General and Software Update.