To kickoff Apple's WWDC conference yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives announced many new Apple products and services, including a really cool looking and super-fast version of the new Mac Pro computer. But today I want to focus on the new iOS 7 features that I think will be of the most interest to lawyers. There's a lot to like, and I am really looking forward to the release of iOS 7 later this year. (No date was provided, but I presume it will come out around the same time that the next version of the iPhone comes out — my guess is around September.) Here are the highlights:
- Comprehensive redesign of the user interface. The new interface looks flatter, but at the same time looks more three-dimensional because of the use of layers. For example, if you have a photograph on your home screen behind your app icons, as you tilt your device there is a parallax effect that makes the apps appear to move and float over your background photograph. The interface also uses a neat, thin font and the built-in apps seem to take better advantage of the full iPhone screen. It's tough to describe in words; click here to see pictures on Apple's website of the new design of iOS 7. iOS 7 will look very different from every prior version of iOS, and the new design seems to add a lot more functionality as well.
- When a developer comes out with an update to an app, the app will update automatically. No need to manually update apps.
- Control Center. In iOS 6 you often need to dig into the Settings app to flip a switch for something like WiFi, Airplane Mode, etc. In iOS 7, you will be able to swipe up from the bottom of the device to flip those common switches.
- And because of Siri improvements, you may not even need to use Control Center. Siri is more powerful in iOS 7, which includes, for example, the ability to just tell your iPhone to turn on Bluetooth or increase brightness. Siri also has an improved voice and is much smarter.
- AirDrop. If someone else in the room has an iPhone or iPad, you can easily and quickly share documents or photographs.
- If you use folders to organize apps and are frustrated by the limit of only 16 apps per folder on an iPhone 5 (or 12 apps in the iPhone 4S and earlier), iOS 7 will let you have multiple pages within a folder.
- In many apps you will be able to swipe your finger from the left towards the middle to go back to the prior screen in an app. This should make it faster to use critical apps like Mail.
- If you often switch between apps, you'll like the multitasking improvements. Apps that you use all the time are allowed to run pretty much all the time. And thanks to intelligent scheduling, apps that you frequently use at a certain time of the day (such as when you wake up) will be already running when you go to use them. The net effect should be to make everything more responsive and the apps more powerful. Plus, iOS 7 has a cool new interface for switching between apps that includes a preview of the app's screen, in addition to the icon.
- Safari. Safari looks vastly improved. You can have even more tabs open at once and there is a cool new 3D interface for flipping between tabbed webpages. Plus more of the screen is devoted to the webpage itself.
Just a few of those features would be great, having all of them is fantastic, and that's just the tip of the iceberg for iOS 7. Apple also has other new cool features such as new versions of the Camera and Photos apps, iTunes Radio to stream music (similar to Pandora), the ability to view annotations in PDF documents, enterprise improvements that will especially help some lawyers at medium and large firms such as single sign in and per-app VPN, etc. And yesterday, Apple only showed off the iOS 7 features that work on an iPhone; I'm sure there will be even more cool iPad-specific features in iOS 7.
iOS 7 will be a significant redesign for the iPhone and iPad, and we will all get a chance to use it in just a few months. I can't wait.