Last year iOS 6 introduced the Notification Centre - offering little gobbets of information from your email, or stocks, or Twitter, or games. It was pretty basic. Now it's split into three elements - Today (a calendar and weather update), All (the things you used to find in the old Notifications) and Missed (appointments, calls). The calendar element is like Windows Phone, though more useful (you get a day view). You can decide what is visible in the lock screen - it won't show all your notifications if you don't want.
Apple's Mail had lost out to
First is the gesture control for messages. When you need to perform triage on your mailbox, you swipe from anywhere on the left of the message to reveal a set of options: delete the message, or a submenu with a list. (That other options are in the submenu implies most people just delete, though arguably you should have all the options available at once.)
Or, if you press on a message to read it, you can swipe (left to right) back to the list in the mailbox. It's far less effort than in iOS 6: again, swapping back will make reading email seem arduous. (The gesture feels, let's say, emulated from BlackBerry's BB10, which uses the left-to-right swipe to "peek" at its message centre. BB10 has all sorts of user interface pitfalls that iOS 7 avoids, though.)
There are also smart mailboxes - though not as configurable as you might wish: you can only pick individual elements (unread, flagged, with attachments) or a particular mailbox (eg your spam, if you're a masochist), from across your mailboxes. It's not quite like the desktop version, where you might choose email matching arbitrary strings. Still, it's better.
Safari: Reading list and more
Safari really blows away the chrome; the screen again looks bigger compared to iOS 6. It adds AirDrop as a means of sharing links. There's also "Reading list", which lets you read offline, and "Shared links" - a personal favourite: it pulls in tweets or
"Jailbreaking" iPhones has increasingly become a minority sport - probably because Apple has plugged many of the holes that used to exist and which let people crack its software. It can't however stop thieves stealing a phone in a run-by or ride-by grab - police get scores of reports of these every day.
Of course you use a passcode lock, and a SIM lock on your phone (of course! Because otherwise thieves can wipe and reactivate the phone, and use your SIM to rack up gigantic phone bills; don't wait to find out). Even so, the phones are still an attractive target.
"Find My iPhone" now adds an extra dimension of post-theft security: you can track it while it's on, and if it's turned off (thieves' favoured method) then powering it up again will present a screen requiring your Apple ID (used to activate the phone) and password. Without those, the phone remains encrypted - and effectively useless to anyone else. It's possible that this will make the post-theft value of iPhones running iOS 7 drop to zero once a few thieves have run into this problem. Will it make the number of thefts fall to zero? Well, here's hoping.
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