The trick with new product and upgrade announcements is cutting through the noise and determining which new products and platforms are legitimate contenders that will fulfill expectations, enhance efficiencies, and improve the way people work. Time will reveal Apple iOS 7, which powers its popular iPad devices, as an innovative release that improves tablet computing experiences.
Numerous new features
Apple's long-awaited iOS update includes numerous new features. In addition to a redesigned user interface that simplifies menus, icons, and operation, Apple is updating and improving the platform's Notification Center, multitasking capabilities and performance, Web browser, Weather, and Messages.
Tablet users, especially those wielding tablet computers within business environments, will be particularly impacted by three new or remodeled iOS components.
iPad users have expressed some frustration with the iOS platform's settings and configurations menus and the process required to access and change common settings. In iOS 7, a new Control Center interface provides quick access to common controls, such as screen brightness, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi configuration. While meeting with clients, working from an airport or operating otherwise on the go, which also typically means in a hurry, iOS users will find it possible to enable AirPlay, access common critical functions, and make changes to other common general settings.
AirDrop for iOS
Gone are the days of having to email a file to a colleague simply because that method, though clunky, proves easiest. When meeting a client, bumping into a colleague in an airport, or otherwise encountering another person to whom you need to transfer a file, AirPlay makes it easy. With iOS 7 tablet users can simply select Share and then choose the person with whom the user wishes to share the photo, video, contact, document, spreadsheet, or file.
Transfers occur using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. No setup tasks are required. And because transfers are encrypted, the file-sharing process proves secure. A user automatically appears visible within AirDrop to another user if the other user is a contact on the first user's tablet running iOS 7. Users can also, however, make themselves visible to other nearby iOS 7 users, or simply disable AirDrop visibility altogether. The settings are changed using the new iOS 7 Control Panel.
iOS 7 users will also benefit from Mail improvements. Despite the continuously growing popularity of text messaging and cloud-and Web-based applications, tablet email apps continue to prove critical in daily use. In addition to a redesigned, cleaner graphical interface, Mail also receives new gesture controls. Tablets particularly lend themselves to quick, simple gestures for navigating, sorting and processing messages, and iOS 7 better leverages such functionality by supporting numerous new gestures for managing email.
For example, a left swipe now reveals More (for replying, forwarding, flagging or marking a message as Read) and Trash buttons. Swiping right prompts Apple's return action that enables more easily navigating different messages and inboxes. A new Move to Junk option is also included within iOS, thereby requiring fewer screen taps to label a message as Junk.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.