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Hands-on with iOS 7 – first thoughts and impressions

Sections: Features, Hands On / First Looks, iPhone, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

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ios 7 features

After months of betas, rumors, and colorful updates, Apple’s iOS 7 has finally been released to the public, and it seems the public is receiving it pretty well. Shortly after iOS 7 was released, New York City seemed to be abuzz with talk of Apple’s latest iOS update. I spotted a few high school students asking about the software while some friends explained how it worked, and even several people on the subway talking about updating later tonight.

I downloaded iOS 7 to my iPhone 4S. It took about 15-20 minutes to download to iTunes, and then installed in about 5-6 minutes. Right away, I noticed that the OS was much snappier and whole than some of the betas the company released, but hasn’t changed from the GM seed Apple seeded to developers a few days ago. Even though iOS 7 will run much more smoothly on the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c, Apple has done a pretty good job of developing the software to run well on both the iPhone 4S (A5 chip) and the iPhone 4 (A4 chip).

Apple’s iOS 7 brings a number of new features to the iPhone, including Control Center, a new Notification Center, and entirely redesigned stock app icons. This is the biggest update that iOS has ever seen in its history, and Tim Cook has called it “The biggest change to iOS since the original iPhone.” One change I’ve noticed from the betas is a new screen following installation of iOS 7, which prompts users to set a passcode on their device. This was an option present in the beta versions of iOS 7, though with the introduction of Touch ID and Activation Lock, it seems Apple is making this a requirement before letting users enter their devices.

Other changes include a number of new wallpaper backgrounds, which bring some of the color from the iPhone 5c over to the OS for users to mix and match their lock screen and home screens, as well as several new sounds for Sent Mail and Ringtones. Check out the gallery of iOS 7 screenshots to get a feel for some of design changes in the update.

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