updated 09:23 pm EDT, Mon July 29, 2013
Lots of tweaks, small and big, as refinements and polish continue
Beyond the discovery earlier today of biometric and fingerprint-sensor data buried inside the latest beta of iOS 7, researchers examining the new update have found lots of other tweaks and refinements -- everything from the return of Apple TV iTunes music buying to a subtle shift in gradient on the Mail icon, and much more. The evolution of iOS 7 reinforces early comments from veteran developers that every design element in the first beta that was publicly demonstrated at the Worldwide Developer's Conference wasn't set in stone, and that the update would evolve.
The changes appear to stem both from usability as well as design suggestions from both inside and outside Apple as program makers pound away on the iOS beta even as they scramble to freshen the look and functionality of their own programs to be compatible with the new style. In addition to many changes small and large, there are also numerous bug fixes, as the previous betas had significant issues as is to be expected in early betas.
Users at MacRumors have reported improvements in speed and stability, redesigned icons for several Safari features (as well as a tweaked main program icon), the restoration of an option to shuffle songs from an artist and a mini-revamp for the Notification Center. The Slide to Unlock feature has been altered to call more attention to the bottom part of the screen, and the top and bottom of the lock screen now have translucent lines to suggest "handles" that can be pulled up or down (from the bottom or two, respectively).
The Siri help now has a longer and more impressive list of potential questions that can be asked, such as "what is in the Gossamer Condor" and "how many calories in a bagel" or "how many dollars is 45 Euro?" On the Phone app, the call button is narrower and other buttons have been updated, while the Camera app restores the ability to hold down the virtual shooting button, only taking the picture on release if desired. In addition, the beta moves the camera's HDR button and the iPhone 4S is now supported for Camera Filters.
Notification Center sections can be changed by swiping left or right (switching between Today, All and Missed), there are new icons for AirPlay, Reminders can now be searched, Search now includes a "cancel" option, and Messages now uses first name and last initial of contacts rather than the full name in a conversation. Fixes in the update include an improved fade animation for folders, faster reaction to shop message options when swiping to delete, and the screenshot feature has been fixed to avoid an issue with Snapchat. Mail has restored the "flagged" messages option.
A significant feature in the new beta is the ability of Apple TV to be set up using an iOS device via Bluetooth (as well as pairing Bluetooth keyboards as before). The set-top box regains the ability to buy music directly from iTunes in the latest beta as well. In addition, iTunes Match users can now load their music onto the music app, and iTunes Radio now has a toggle switch that allows users to play tracks marked "explicit."
Users can now re-order a list, and the location icon in Maps has changed slightly. Album artwork in the lockscreen is now slightly smaller so that it isn't overlapped by the "slide to unlock" feature. One report claimed that notifications were showing up on a Pebble smartwatch but this hasn't been confirmed.