A smarter Siri (Yes, really)
On top of pulling up restaurant and movie information, sports scores, and search results, now Apple’s (AAPL) virtual voice-recognition assistant can also comb through users’ Twitter streams to show what a friend is saying or say, turn on the iPhone’s flashlight feature. Even better: If Siri mispronounces a name, the user may say, “That’s not how you pronounce [insert name].” Siri then offers up several different ways to say it, and once you choose one, Siri will save and pronounce the name that way moving forward.
Finally, iOS users may shut out unwanted texts, phone calls, or FaceTime requests by opening the contact info of someone they want to block and tapping a button. Pesky telemarketers and obnoxious exes: Your days are numbered.
That new Camera app
Sure, the new Camera app offers niceties like Instagram-like filters and a square photo format. But users who love snapping numerous shots in succession will quickly appreciate the redesigned Camera app, which sports a lag-free shutter.
With hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from, the iOS ecosystem is flush with software options. But updating those apps once they’ve been downloaded has always been a manual affair. Now, users can having their apps automatically updated in the background as updates are released.
No more scrolling through countless photos to find what you’re looking for. Apple now automatically groups shots based on time and place.
No limit on voice memo file size when sharing
One personal pet peeve I’ve always had with voice memos was the inability to wirelessly share large files. (They forced you to select smaller chunks of audio to send instead.) Thankfully for journalists like me, that’s no longer the case.
Depending on how you interact with your phone, this little feature could change the way you share files between friends and family. Using both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, users can securely swap photos, videos, emails, and other files if they’re near one another. No more awkward emails with colossal attachments.
The new flatter look
We can’t say it enough: iOS7’s cleaner look takes everything old and makes them seem new again. Flat text bubbles rise and fall based on their own special brand of virtual gravity. Even returning to the home screen is a visual pleasure thanks to different animated transitions.
A minimalist Safari
For a palm-sized display, every inch counts. With that in mind, Apple’s latest Safari browser update features a more minimal appearance: Scroll up and down, and both the URL bar and virtual buttons at the bottom disappear allowing more of the web page to show.
When Apple finally introduced multitasking to iOS, it was limited to swiping through a row of app icons at the bottom of the screen. Now double-tapping the home button brings up a flow of miniaturized app screens making it easier to figure out what you were doing in each one.