Apple has released a second beta version of iOS 7, making the OS available to the iPad and iPad Mini for the first time.
Apple iOS 7's Dramatic Design: Visual Tour
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Apple this week provided developers with an updated version of iOS 7. This second beta comes two weeks after Apple first announced iOS 7 at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The beta is compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, and the iPad and iPad Mini.
According to Apple, the update focused on squashing bugs and tweaking some features. Before the arrival of this second beta, Apple had not made iOS 7 available to the iPad. That is perhaps the most important piece of the update as it gives iPad developers a chance to dig in and see how the platform performs on Apple's tablets.
Apple did not publish a changelog for the update, but there are many obvious adjustments to the operating system.
For example, Siri now offers both male and female voices. If you have a contact with a nickname, the nickname shows up in iMessage rather than the contact's given name. The calendar has a new layout view for the iPhone. PhotoStream now includes reminders to upload content, and the Reminders app has a new layout.
The Nike+ app has been updated with a slightly new user interface. Other apps that have received user interface adjustments include Newsstand, FaceTime, the camera, and Safari bookmarks.
A handful of apps have new icons, such as the Weather app, the music player in the control center, group messaging, Find My iPhone, and email service providers.
New bugs typically join new features when Apple updates iOS 7 betas, but this time there don't appear to be any major ones (so far). The update has definitely improved the stability and overall performance of the operating system as well.
iOS 7 is a radical departure from earlier versions of iOS. Rather than simply adding features and keeping the appearance and functionality the same, Apple has completely revised the operating system. Everything about it looks different thanks to new fonts, colors, shapes and icons. Apple's longtime hardware designer, Jony Ive, played a large role in bringing about iOS' change.
Whether or not John Q. Public adopts the new operating system willingly once it is available is another matter. Apple likes to point out that there is very little fragmentation among iOS versions, with 90% of all iOS device users up-to-date with the latest version. Though iOS 7 has generally been welcomed, plenty of users have voiced dissatisfaction with the look of the new operating system.
Apple generally delivers new betas once every two weeks. It will release six to eight betas in total before releasing the final version to all iOS device users. The new operating system is expected to debut in September or October, at about the same time as the next-generation iPhone and iPad are announced.
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