Activation lock

iOS 7 Activation Lock

Activation lock is an interesting security feature of the Find My iPhone app that will render stolen iOS devices useless when stolen. Even after a wipe performed by thieves, an iPhone won’t be activated without a proper set of credentials (iCloud login).

A few days ago we learned that various companies have been summoned to a meeting in New York to discuss way of preventing smartphone theft. Apple and Google are two of the companies invited to attend, and it looks like Apple already have a solution in place for trying to prevent thefts.

Apple Maps

Demoed during the OS X Mavericks introduction, the new Apple Maps will let users send Apple Maps turn-by-turn directions from OS X devices to iOS devices. The OS X app also offers local search support, reviews and photos of the locations the user is searching for.

The OS X Apple Maps app also integrates with the OS X Calendar app – and presumably with the iOS Calendar app – to include travel time for various Apple Maps entries in Calendar.

Other features

In addition to the iOS 7 features mentioned above, Apple has demoed other features during the event like the newly redesigned Weather app that offers visual effects matching the actual weather, the new Calendar app that’s similar to the OS X Mavericks app, the new Mail app that has new gestures support similar to some of the ones available in iOS email app Mailbox, support for Weibo, FaceTime audio calls, blocking of unwanted calls, FaceTime and messages, and lots of other features that will be discovered once iOS 7 is launched.

Release date and compatibility

Without specifically mentioning a launch date for its new mobile OS, Apple said that iOS 7 will arrive this fall, presumably with new mobile hardware in tow, including at least a new iPhone and iPad. Rumors abound about the number and kind of new iOS devices at this time, but nothing is confirmed.

In addition to the next-gen iPhone, iPad and iPod models, iOS 7 will be compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch fifth-generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display and iPad mini.

iOS 7 Compatibility

Not all iOS 7 features will be available on all these devices, with some of them restricted to certain products. Such features include Panorama picture support, camera filters, AirDrop and Siri.

Developers will have access to iOS 7 betas for the iPhone and iPod touch starting today.

Wrap up

The new iOS 7 is a complete OS redesign that feels like a completely new mobile OS, yet one that has familiar functionality. Like its predecessors, it will surely be popular with some buyers, and could be even more appealing to those people that criticized the latest iOS generations, considering that this is the first major redesign of the iOS UI.

Some of you will say that some of those features demoed in iOS 7 are already available in Android including lock screen notifications, quick toggles, multitasking, automatic app updates and the smarter features behind the Apple Maps. Some of you will say that the new multitasking interface looks WebOS-y, while the color palette chosen for iOS 7 is somewhat similar to some of the colors used in Windows Phone. Some of you will point out that certain design and functionality choices are similar to certain apps including Instagram, Mailbox and Clear.

But it’s too early to throw any stones – after all, the bickering about who’s copying who, who was first with what feature will never stop, and the patent-based battles will still march on.

We’re going to thoroughly compare the final iOS 7 version to Google’s upcoming next major Android update later this year when they’re both available. In fact, you can already enjoy one such comparison between Android 4.2 and iOS 6.1, the Google’s and Apple’s current OS versions.

That said, we’re certainly interested to see how Google will fight iOS 7 in the coming months, as the company is expected to release an Android update in the very near future – Android 4.3 – and a major one later this fall.

What do you think of Apple’s new mobile OS?