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Tech N'at: Apple's iOS 7 due this fall and won't fail to impress

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Apple's recent introduction of iOS 7 relieved quite a few people, myself included. Apple had hinted at changes to the design that were going to make the look more simple and flat. The fear was that Apple would mimic Microsoft's Metro interface too closely, with its monochrome color set that many find too bare and stark. Users will see that while the new design aims to be simple, it certainly isn't simplistic.

iOS 7 is the first major reworking of Apple's mobile platform in years. There's a lot at stake, given the high popularity of Android models such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 as well as renewed competition from Microsoft (and yes, I almost forgot Blackberry).

Apple spent a great deal of time not just making iOS 7 pretty, but downright beautiful. While many of the new features are cosmetic, there are others that, while not necessarily ground-breaking, make the system easier and more intuitive to use.

Here's a brief rundown of some tweaks and additions:

• Control Center allows you to access the most commonly used settings, such as Bluetooth, brightness, music player and others from one screen. This saves digging down through multiple layers of menus. The Control Center also sits as a layer on top of your home screen — a simple swipe brings it up.

• Speaking of layers, the one thing you'll note is the use of distinct, functional layers that sit one on top of the other. Apps and notifications will no longer fill the screen, but will feature translucency to create depth of field. Apple even went so far as to allow the background desktop image to move as the device is moved, creating a 3D parallax effect that makes it appear as if the home screen icons are floating in midair.

• Multitasking in iOS 6.x was possible but cumbersome. iOS 7's multitasking not only shows you what apps are running but provides a windowed view of each actual running app as well as making it easier and faster to switch.

• AirDrop is similar to near-field communications (NFC), which has been sorely lacking in iOS as it is a feature found in many other mobile device platforms. AirDrop allows you to share information, photos and social media with nearby contacts.

Words fail ultimately to really convey the look of iOS 7, so I strongly encourage you to go to Apple.com to check out the new design and features.

Samuel Blair is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. For more information or tech-related questions, he can be reached at scblair@aya.yale.edu.

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