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iOS 7 is set to be released on September 18th. So I decided to sit down and do a quick write up about the main features, changes, points of interest for iOS 7… since people always ask me anyway… I can now just refer to this posting.

Let me start by saying I have been using iOS 7 since June 10th. As a registered Apple Developer I have access to BETA versions of iOS products as well as Mac OS-X before they are released to the public. I have to tell you iOS 7 is stable. Stable Stable Stable. I have had no issues even since BETA 1, all the way out to the current GM build which will go live on September 18th barring any major issues. I have to say this has probably been the most stable iOS BETA I have participated in, with only very minor issues, which is to be expected. Alright, lets get to it…..

1. It looks different, get over it

iOS 7 has basically started from ground zero on the look and feel. Yes it is different… yes you can handle it. Apple has moved to what is known as a “flat” design. Dispense with the whining, iOS has been wearing the same outfit to work since 2007. It needs a refresh, that old shirt has had pit stains on it for a couple years now… time to clean up and get some new threads. It looks different but is basically the same. Same functions and options just with new colors, new icons and new “look and feel”. You can do it. If you can’t… well you probably need to go back to a flip phone. Jitterbug!

2. Control Center

Control Center

Control Center

In my opinion this is the number one best feature that is coming as a part of this release. Control Center allows you to easily toggle many common settings on your phone without having to go into the settings menus. With just a swipe from the bottom you can toggle on or off: Airplane Mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Screen Orientation Lock. You can also adjust screen brightness and volume level as well as control iTunes. Finally you can turn on your LED Flash as a Flashlight, use the interal Alarm/Clock, Calculator and Camera.

You really do not realize how handy this is until you do not have it. I briefly went back to iOS 6 for a while and quickly found I was missing it dramatically. It makes things a lot faster for common functions. The only thing I think could be improved here is for the user to have the ability to add or remove their own options from this menu. I suspect this will very quickly become the most popular features of this release.

3. Automatic Updates

All of your applications will update themselves unless you turn this feature off. Lets face it, that little red dot telling us that we have something to do in the App Store is annoying. It is also good practice to always use the latest version of your applications for compatibility as well as security reasons. You can toggle this feature off if you wish to updates App Manually, as well as review recent updates to see what has changed on apps that were automatically updated.

4. WiFi Hotspot 2.0

I think this is one of the more understated features of this release. Basically what this feature does is automatically connect to Hotspots provided by your carrier. For example, I utilize AT&T as my service provider. With Hotspot 2.0, if I have my WiFi on, I will automatically connect to AT&T Hotspots for free at places like Starbucks. This will reduce data draw on my LTE package which is a bonus for those of us who are watching those MB on downloads.

5. Call Blocking

Call Blocking

Call Blocking

What took so long for this?!?! The Chicago Tribune calls me twice a week asking me to subscribe. Let us not forget that it is 2013…. really who needs a paper delivered anymore? But also I have told them at least 15-20 times to stop calling me yet they never do. I now just hang up on them, but still oh so annoying. With iOS 7 you can block numbers and your phone simply does not ring.

6. SIRI comes out of BETA

With iOS 7 SIRI will finally exit the BETA stage and becomes official production software. Along with that it has some new functions and questions you can ask it. It is faster, new voices to choose from, searches new sources for answers, and adds the ability to ask SIRI to do thinks like “Turn on Bluetooth”.

7. Multitasking gets better

Apple has improved the Multitasking by introducing background updates. The example given on is that if you check Facebook at 9am every day when you wake up…. iOS 7 will pull down an update just before 9am so the new data is waiting for you. Also terminating buggy apps is much faster as you swipe the apps your want to kill off screen and the process is much smoother.

8. Camera/Photo App updates

If you are into the whole instagram craze, you will enjoy the new updates to the camera app. Colored filters, pano shots, and s…l…o…w… motion video. For what it is worth, there seems to be a little more pep in the step for taking rapid fire pictures.

9. iTunes Radio

If you like Pandora, this is Apples version of Pandora. Not much to say here.

10. It looks different. GET OVER IT.

Overall I think that iOS 7 is a must have update and anyone running a compatible device should update to the latest and greatest. You won’t regret it. For a complete overview of iOS 7, check out the iOS page on Apple’s website.

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