Apple releases iOS 7

The wait is over: Apple has released iOS 7.

The radical remake of the operating system that underlies the iPhone and iPad went live on Apple’s servers around 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Before then, Apple iPhone and iPad users took to Twitter to clamor for the new update.

With iOS 7, Apple design guru Jony Ive and his team have reshaped the look and feel of the software. Gone are many of its “skeuomorphic” designs such as the address book clad in virtual leather cover and the felt table in the GameCenter app. In there place are flatter, simpler backgrounds and designs.

But it’s not just the look-and-feel that’s changed. The new software also includes a host of new goodies, such as a new simplified “control center” that allows users to easily change settings such as whether the WiFi radio or Bluetooth radios are on and a revised camera application that includes new filters and shooting modes.

iOS 7 will come pre-installed on Apple’s new iPhones, the 5c and the 5s. But users of other Apple devices will have to download it via the software update feature in iOS’s settings menu or through iTunes on their computers.

Most devices that were able to run the previous version of the operating system, iOS 6, will be able to run iOS 7. But there are two exceptions: the fourth generation iPod touch, which Apple sold as recently as May, and the iPhone 3GS, which Apple finally discontinued last fall.

Although older devices will be able to run the new software, they won’t get all the new features. A new burst photo shooting mode and a new slow-motion video mode will only be available on the iPhone 5s.

I’m going to be writing about my first impressions of iOS 7 for my Tech Files column. One first note from my experiences thus far: Make sure you’ve cleared enough space for the download. You’ll need 3.1 gigabytes of space just to download iOS 7.

Photo courtesy of Apple.

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (255 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for and CNET