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Apple’s WWDC News Translated for Libraries– Big Mobile Operating System Changes with iOS7

by Joe Murphy Librarian on June 10th, 2013

Apple’s iOS7 brings in some current directions in tech and makes users smile with updates.

Apple unveiled a lot today at its WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) keynote including updates to iOS, its mobile operating system, with its “biggest change since the original iPhone.”  As usual, Apple takes in, competes with, or drowns out existing players in current trend areas. The iOS7 updates come this fall and will include iTunes radio, proximity based social sharing, major design changes, messaging updates and features, Siri updates, bringing the Apple ecosystem into the car, and a lot more. Changes in iOS7 reflect and will likely guide mobile tech directions.

  • iTunes Radio {the most eagerly awaited news}
    • Will be built into iOS7 on mobile devices as well as in iTunes on PCs/Macs/Apple TV.
    • Create and share your own stations and follow featured stations (ongoing trends of be the curator or follow the curator whether she is a peer or an expert). Will customize to suit your choices.
    • Model: Free with ads, ad free with subscription. No info yet on extent of licensing access.
    • Is a near Songza kills, competes with Pandora, and depending on licensing, it could drown Google’s new Google Play Music All Access. iTunes Radio plays off big media trends, streaming, freemium model, curation.
  • AirDrop – proximity-based cloud sharing with your nearby connections via peer to peer wifi. This new feature is a major move on competitors in the real world interaction game: no more touching devices to share (even a direct putdown of Bump by name in the WWDC keynote), peer to peer sharing as selected in app instead of NFC or generating QR Codes.
  • Siri has a new interface and new male and female voices. Siri can also now do more by voice including actions within the iPhone like controlling brightness etc. This reflects the ongoing trend of porting out the control point from our finger point taps. Siri also will integrate with more services like Bing and Wikipedia which means can ask more questions in more contexts.
  • iOS in the car: Apple takes on the next megatrend of the connected car. iOS on the screen in your car includes eyes-free with Siri activation and dictation.
  • The App store will be organized by age range to answer child specific browsing and safe app store searching.
  • App proximity discovery – Find nearby popular apps (resource discovery can be impacted by location context and this update reflects the extension of resource discovery to mobile apps).
  • Camera updates include swiping to launch video instead of touch button (wider penetration of the swipe), and live filtering instead of just post picture taking (more against Instagram and Google+ with its recent approach of auto filtering for you).
  • The Photos app now supports organization to address the chaos in the photo stream. This organization come in a very telling way, by where and when, calling it “Moments.” [See my piece from Jan 2013 about the moment as social trend]. This categorizing of photos in folders that are based on location and time reflects again the trend of context (proximity as context in sharing above). Instagram added a similar location grouping feature last year (Apple competing with Instagram/Facebook). Photos also adds a “Scrub” touch navigation feature, further adding to our navigation lexicon alongside swipe with iOS7.
  • iBooks completes the circle from mobile by coming back to the big screen on Macs including Apple’s interactive textbooks, includes progress synching (as with Kindle).
  • Multitasking taken to new level: updates apps in background, now available for all apps, supports learning from personal habits (Google Now competition), fetches info especially when good data coverage is detected (smart objects), background updating so when a notification is launched the app has already been updated.
  • New control panel to centralize and make readily accessible basic features.
  • Safari browser: no longer limited to 8 tabs, simplifies bookmarks/read later/shared links, carousel pages browsing, swiping to close pages, iCloud keychain integration (new security tool for managing account passwords and credit cards).
  • iOS7 also features the longed for automatic app updates. No longer will we have to see the red digit of apps to be updated. (In answer to Senator McCain’s question/complaint to the Apple CEO on Capitol Hill).
  • The Music app has some updates beyond iTunes radio: artist images visible now for image based music browsing, view music library by album by tilting to landscape mode (navigation for content engagement).
  • FaceTime audio: now lets you place voice calls over Apple’s Facetime video conference calling feature. This is big because it uses data (the ongoing transition to data for communication), it further pushes out traditional communication just as iMessage replaces/supplements SMS, it is free between Apple users.
  • For the enterprise – neat per app VPN.
  • Find My Phone activation log aims to stop would be thieves with by requiring an Apple id sign in.
  • Integration with China’s Tencent Weibo (clever/necessary as Apple pushes into the massive Chinese market) just as Twitter and Facebook have previously been integrated.

These navigation tweaks may continue to impact the ways we control our mobile world and expect to control the rest of our computing experience: Slightly new navigation (landscape mode for viewing different content, and adding ‘scrub’ to Swipe, iMessages gets swipe navigation to exit a thread.

Look for more info (There were many many other new features and updates announced across the wider Apple ecosystem, including continuous scrolling and scroll through in the Mac browser (which is a big direction in mobile content reading), the integration of location data into the calendar, that I did not address but is of interest, and sending map directions from a Mac to the iPhone maps app.

This news is important to libraries as service and content providers because these updates will impact how people do and expect to interact with content and services.

– Joe Murphy

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