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The Lowdown: Apple Announces iOS 7, iOS In The Car & iTunes Radio At WWDC 2013

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Apple announced the next major versions of its iOS operating system, unveiled iTunes Radio and made a series of software and hardware announcements at Worldwide Developer Conference 2013 (WWDC 2013), its ongoing annual developer conference held at Moscone Center, San Francisco.

You can read about various OS X announcements at WWDC 2013. A quick lowdown on all the iOS related announcements from WWDC 2013 below:

App Store Stats: iTunes App Store has 900,000 iOS apps, of which 375,000 apps are specifically designed for iPad. Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed that 93% of apps are downloaded from the App store on a monthly basis. There are a total 575 million store accounts with registered credit cards on the App store, up from 400 million accounts last year. Cook claimed that iTunes Store now has more accounts with credit cards than any online store. Last month, Apple had also claimed to have clocked 50 billion downloads on the App Store.

Developer Stats: Apple has paid out over $10 billion to developers, of which $5 billion was paid out in the last year. Apple’s developer program has seen 6 million signups until now, of which 1.5 million developers registered in the past year (since WWDC 2012). Cook claimed that iOS now accounts for 74% of the total payouts to developers, 3x more than all other mobile platforms combined. Its nearest competitor Android accounts for 20% of the total developer payouts.

iOS Stats: Apple claims to have sold 600 million iOS devices until now and around 93% of its users are on the latest iOS version, iOS 6. In comparison, Cook noted that only 33% of the Android devices run on the latest Android version, Jelly Bean (29% Android 4.1.x and 4% Android 4.2.x) and Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x) is still the dominant Android version, accounting for 36.5% of Android devices. Gingerbread was released in December 2010.

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iOS 7: Apple previewed iOS 7, the next major release of its mobile operating system iOS and the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone in 2007, as per the company claims.

iOS 7 features a completely redesigned user interface with flat design, redesigned icons and a new typography. It features a slide-up control center which offers Android-like Quick Toggle buttons to adjust various phone settings, a new slide to unlock mechanism and a 3D-like experience when user tilts their phone. It also features a multiple page support in folders and a new card-based multitasking view with support for multitasking across all apps.

iOS 7

One particularly interesting feature is ‘Find My iPhone Activation Lock‘ which requires the user’s Apple ID and password before one can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or even re-activate a device after it been remotely erased. This could possibly reduce the iPhone thefts in the future, since the phone will be quite useless without the user’s Apple ID and password.

Furthermore, iOS now features phone, message and facetime blocking, support for audio calls on Facetime, Per App VPN support and notification sync across all their iOS devices. The phone and message blocking is definitely a welcome move and we feel that more companies should include these features natively on their phones.

Besides this, the notification feature has been simplified and now sports a new feature called ‘Today View‘ which offers summary of the day’s appointments, birthday notices from Facebook, weather and stock information among others. One can also now open the notification tray directly from the lock screen.

Safari for iOS has also received major overhaul, bringing in features like smart search field which provide quick access to user’s favorite sites, support for full screen, and a new 3D tab view. It also has finally allows users to open more than eight tabs at once and brings in support for the newly announced iCloud Keychain.

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iOS 7 developer preview for iPhone is currently available for registered iOS developers on Apple developer website, with iPad developer preview rolling out in a few weeks and public availability in the fall. Apple noted that iOS 7 will be available for iPhone 4 and later versions, iPad 2 and later, iPad Mini and 5th generation iPod touch, thereby dropping support for iPhone 3GS, the original iPad and 4th gen iPod Touch.

New Camera & Photos App: The new iOS camera app brings in features like Photo Filters and new square camera, which can possibly be used for taking Instagram pictures. This makes us wonder if iOS will also feature deep Integration to Instagram in the future version. Remember that iOS already has deep integration to Facebook, which owns Instagram.

The photos app has also been redesigned and now has a new feature called ‘Moments‘ which automatically organizes pictures and videos based on time and place. It also includes support for video sharing through iCloud and a shared photo streams feature which allows a group of people to share photos and videos to the user’s photo stream.

App Store Improvements & AirDrop: Similar to Google Play Store, the App Store now offer location-based app suggestions, automatic app updates and a new Kids category, allowing teachers and parents to browse through apps based on age range.

AirDrop feature has also now been extended to iOS, allowing users to share content with people nearby. The feature is however only available on select iOS devices like iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5th Gen, iPad Mini and iPad 4th Gen.

Siri: Apple’s voice assistant Siri has also received a major update, bringing in a new interface, support for French and German languages with more languages expected in the future, ability to adjust phone settings like Bluetooth and Brightness and integration to Bing, Twitter search and Wikipedia. The Bing integration in Siri is quite interesting, since it somewhat completes the process of Apple dropping Google services from iOS. Earlier, Apple had dropped Google Maps in favor of its own maps app and had also stopped preloading the YouTube app.

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iOS In The Car – Apple has introduced a new initiative called ‘iOS in the Car’, which will allow users to access various iOS features like Maps, messages, phone calls and music through Siri integration. The details on this initiative is a bit sparse right now but Apple said that several car makers including Ferrari, Honda Motors, Kia, Mercedes, Nissan, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Volvo and Jaguar will be introducing this functionality in 2014.

iTunes Radio: Apple unveiled a new streaming music service called iTunes Radio. The service will offer music from more than 200 stations and will be built right into iOS 7’s Music app. The service will offer features like Siri integration, track skipping, saved stations and the ability to share radio stations to friends or start a new one based on the current song.

iTunes Radio

It will also allow users to browse through previously listened songs on the radio and purchase them from iTunes, thereby completing the transaction loop.

The service will be available for free and will be ad-supported. iTunes Match subscribers will however get the service ad-free. The service is currently US-only with no specific information on India availability yet.

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