Apple shows off major design overhaul for iOS 7

Apple(s appl) has announced a major overhaul of iOS 7 on Monday at the company’s WWDC event, totally refreshing the design and feel of the interface. Apple CEO Tim Cook called it “the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone.”

“It’s about bringing order to complexity,” Jony Ive said in the introductory video. “To create it, we brought together a broad range of expertise from design to engineering. With what we’ve been able to achieve together, we see iOS 7 as defining an important new direction, and in many ways, a beginning.”

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Consumers will be able to download iOS 7 “in the fall,” the company said.

A few of the changes: the slide to unlock button is now vertical, the app icons and keyboard are translucent, the weather app has major updates, and control buttons recede when you’re browsing Safari. iMessage bubble icons for text no longer have shadows on them — they’re totally flat, along with many of the new features. The notification section is expanded to show more room, and in Safari mobile, users won’t be limited to 8 tabs anymore.

The iOS camera app gets in on the filters game with filters of its own, and now you’ll be able to view photos by location in the camera roll. Interestingly, these groupings of photos by time and location are called “moments” — which is the exact term Path uses for its posts.

My colleauge Erica Ogg has more descriptions and insights on the changes in our liveblog from the event, and the full description of changes are in Apple’s press release.

Siri has also gotten some updates, including multiple languages and the addition of both male and female voices. Siri can now increase brightness or turn on and off brightness. Apps will also now update automatically.

Apple also announced the launch of iTunes Radio, a streaming music service to compete with Pandora, which we have more details on here.

Cook noted that the company has now sold over 600 million iOS devices, and highlighted stats showing user satisfaction with iOS products compared to Android(s goog). He noted that 90 percent of iOS users are using the latest version of iOS.

We had already been expecting big changes coming to the design of iOS 7. Prior to the event there were reports that it would look more modular and less skeumorphic, echoing the trend toward “flat design” that’s been sweeping all sorts of apps and systems on mobile. With Ive in charge of Human Interfaces, we had expected to see changes to the software that mirrored Apple’s hardware capabilities.

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We wrote how some developers haven’t seen Apple as being at the forefront of mobile design, recently, and how an iOS refresh might change this. There were also reports that in order to get iOS 7 out the door, the team was scrambling to finish it and grabbed members of the OS X software team to help.

You can check out all of our coverage of the other Apple announcements here. We’ll be highlighting the future of interface design at our annual RoadMap conference in San Francisco in November. Tickets will go on sale later this Summer, and to learn more about the event sign up here.