Apple’s iOS 7: Changes to some core apps


Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple talks about the features of the new iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (Eric Risberg/AP)

Apple released its third beta build of its iOS 7 mobile operating system — including calendar and animation changes -- to developers on Monday.

The tech giant, which plans a Fall release for the new OS, already showed off some new features at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. But more details about the additions have been leaking out since the first early build went to developers last month. Here are some of features we can expect:

Mail: Mail has a cleaner look, as Mashable noted, with flatter icons and fewer buttons. Cult of Mac also noted that the early builds of iOS 7 have included some management options such as the ability to mark all messages as read and the addition of some automatic smart mailboxes. Developers using the system right now can, for example, filter “e-mail with attachments” or “flagged e-mail” into separate inboxes.

Camera : Apple has reportedly added built-in camera filters, a la Instagram, to its camera, Mashable reports. The report said the app also enables the user to take square photos in addition to the panorama mode added in iOS 6.

Safari: In the new build of iOS 7, Apple Insider reports, the keyboard on Safari has ditched the “.com” button, and replaced it with a period button next to the space bar that users can hold down to get a number of different suffixes, including .net, .org and .edu. As Apple Insider noted, the change came after complaints from developers that they were hitting .com by accident when typing in Safari, which now has a unified field for searching or entering a Web address, rather than the separate fields on earlier versions of the browser.

Siri: Apple’s voice assistant is rumored to be getting new features such as a dictation program, 9 to 5 Mac reports, and possibly the ability for Siri operate offline, which should give the program a bit of a speed boost.

In the second version of the beta, Siri got a couple more voice options — in addition to the female voice that U.S. English users have grown familiar with, Apple has also added a male voice.

Calendar: The default calendar app on iOS has also gotten a makeover, with a cleaner interface that rocks the new white Apple color scheme, albeit with bright orange accents. Like previous versions of Calendar, Apple will note the days where users have marked events putting a small, gray dot under the date, Apple Insider reported.

Multitasking: As Apple announced in June, multitasking on iOS will be easier. Double-tapping the home button will bring up little previews of what all your apps are doing, rather than simply showing the icons of the ones you’ve opened recently. And, Apple has said that it’s able to do all that without compromising battery life. Cult of Mac also notes that users can force-quit an app to make it stop working by simply swiping it up and off the screen.

Other changes:There have been a ton of other changes — big and small — that are reported to be coming with iOS 7 . The firm has dropped many of the textures that ape real-world objects, such as linen, leather and paper, in favor of a smoother look. That philosophy has changed everything from how the icons look to the animation users see while apps download, which 9 to 5 Mac notes is now a shaded clock-like wheel rather than the colored loading bar that Apple used in the past.

Speaking of updates, the new version of iOS 7, as Apple announced in June, will also let users you skip some trips to the App Store by updating apps in the background, automatically. That’s good news for people who are haunted by those red notification bubbles, though it may not sit as well with the control freaks among us who like to read through the update notes before downloading.

The most recent beta version comes just two weeks after Apple’s last early release for developers, which Apple Insider noted seems to confirm speculation that the company is pushing out a new build of the system every two weeks as developers report various bugs that need to be squashed.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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