After a few months of waiting, Apple's iOS 7 has arrived.
The colorful new iPhone and iPad operating system represents the first time Apple has done a major overhaul of iOS, which was originally called iPhone OS when it launched with the first iPhone in 2007.
Although iOS 7 looks drastically different than its predecessors, anyone who has ever used an iPhone or iPad should still be able to make his or her way around the new operating system.
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Everything functions very much the same as it did before. The biggest change comes in the design of some Apple apps.
Previously, Apple relied heavily on skeumorphic design, which was meant to make objects within the software look like things do in real life. This is why Game Center resembled a green felt casino table, the Notes app looked like a yellow notebook, and the Calendar app looked like the kind of calendar you would have on your desk.
Apple has moved away from that design, which had begun to grow unpopular. Instead, the company has focused its new look around a brightly colored, flat and minimalist design.
This is why you'll no longer drop shadows or too many gradients on iOS 7.
In keeping with Apple's new direction, dozens of apps released updates Wednesday, with redesigns in line with the look of iOS 7.
Once you get past the new look of iOS 7, there's a lot to like as far as functionality is involved.
My favorite feature, for example, is called Control Center. To access it, users can swipe up from the bottom of their screen. Once they do that, they can quickly adjust their brightness, turn on and off their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and quickly turn on their iPhone's flash so the device can be used like a flashlight.
Another useful feature is AirDrop. Users can use this feature to quickly send photos, video and other kinds of files to users near them. The feature connects using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and is supposed to be faster than sending a file or a message or email.
So far, iOS 7 appears to be a good move on Apple's part and has received a warm reception by users, many of whom are praising the new design. Demand for the new operating system was so high that when Apple finally released the update Wednesday morning, countless users ran into errors preventing them from installing iOS 7 on their device.
The reaction is a bit of a surprise considering Apple received a heavy backlash against iOS 7 when it was first announced in June.
At the time, many in the design community were not pleased with some aspects of iOS 7, and there were quite a few issues when beta versions were released. Among the problems were crashes, very low battery life and incompatibility with some apps.
So far, the official version of iOS 7 appears to be working properly.
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