iOS 7, with its overhauled user interface, breathes new life into the otherwise ageing mobile operating system, and sees Apple finally catch up with rival Android on popular features.
Refreshed look and feel, better multitasking, new Control Center, AirDrop for content-sharing, user friendly
Updates to Calendar and Photos aren't always an improvement, many of the changes are copies of long-standing Android features, some may not like design overhaul
Free with compatible Apple devices
iOS 7 ships with iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.
Available to download on iPhone 4, 4S and 5; iPad 2, 3 and 4; iPad Mini; iPod Touch 5th generation.
Apple's iOS 7 is finally here, and the update is an exciting one for many as it's the biggest update the firm has released since the launch of the original iPhone. However, it's also an uncertain update for others – with some not so keen on Jony Ive's radical user interface overhaul and threatening to switch to Android because of it.
We've been using iOS 7 for a couple of months, and there's no doubt that the update is a huge departure from iOS 6, but in our opinion, it's a change that has been needed for a long time.
Apple's iOS 7 has been heralded by most as a flat design due to the lack of texture on app icons, the bare-bones fonts and the minimalistic menus. However, we don't think that's the right word to describe it, as Apple's new colour palette, swooshy transitions and live wallpapers make iOS more vibrant and exciting than ever.
The first thing you'll notice once past the simplified setup menu is the revamped lock screen. The new iOS lock screen lets you swipe anywhere on the screen to unlock your iPhone or iPad, and also features dynamic wallpapers that appear to move as your iPhone does, thanks to Apple's new Parallax Effect feature. Thankfully the camera button remains intact, so it's just as quick to fire up the photo app.
There's also support for the Notifications Center from the lock screen, as well as Apple's new Control Center, which can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This has proven to be one of our favourite features of iOS 7 thus far, as the Bluetooth and WiFi toggle switches have saved us from trawling through the Settings menu every day, and the music controls are much slicker than those found on iOS 6.
Once the handset is unlocked, everything looks completely different at first, although users will soon realise that it's not really different in terms of usability. Safari's icon, for example, is now a basic compass icon, while Weather features a simpler, gradiant background and a stripped-down picture. While app icons have been completely reworked by Ive and his team, everything still works in a similar way as previous versions of the mobile operating system, despite looking radically different.
Apple has reworked folders too. In addition to the option to have multiple pages so you no longer have to have two Games folders, the look and feel has changed, with folders now opening to fill the screen. Another difference users will notice is the status bar across the top, while the drastic font changes across the board add to changed look of the iOS user interface.
Multitasking has also been given an overhaul, and is now reminiscent of HP's WebOS with its card-based interface. Double tap on the Home button now and it will display windows showcasing all of your open apps, which can be closed by swiping them away. While we prefer this to Apple's earlier multitasking menu, we have found that it is a longer process than clearing apps by double tapping on the home button in iOS 6.
There's no denying that the design changes will take a while to get used to, but we think most users will grow to love them.