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Apple iOS 7: iTunes Radio, AirDrop and Photo Filters




The news from the Apple Developers Conference (WWDC) continues to pour in and it’s only the first day. Instead of saving the best for last, Apple opened with a look at the new iOS 7. I talked about the design changes earlier today and now we’re moving on to the big announcements.

We begin with iTunes Radio

itunes radio

We thought that the MP3 player would make radio obsolete, but like online video and TV, the two worlds have come together to create an even better product. In this case, internet radio.

Look at these stats:

80% of internet radio audience listens for 1-3 hours per day, 40% listening 1-2 hours per session.

61% of listeners don’t keep player minimized, 64% often check the player for song/artist info.

That’s music to the marketers ears. And though most people listen via their PC, an increasing number (51%) are accessing internet radio via their smartphone.

I expect that balance to shift by Christmas as more people get their hands on iTunes Radio. It begins with more than 200 genre stations covering everything from Hard Rock to Doo Wop. It’s smart radio, so the more you listen, rate and pass on songs, the more fine tuned your stations will become.

You can also build your own station based on an artist, song or style. If you’re adventurous, there’s an adjustment to allow the station to play more songs you’re not familiar with over songs you know and love. You can also work on your station while you’re listening which is a good thing because everyone loves to multitask.

Too lazy to press buttons? Have Siri do it for you! “Siri, play another Partridge Family song, I’m in the mood to get happy.”

Think Siri will ever become assertive enough to refuse a command? She says okay, then “accidentally” plays “Let it Be” instead of “I Think I Love You.”

And the big pitch. . . because it’s iTunes based, you’ll get access to exclusive tracks and pre-releases you won’t find anywhere else. I don’t listen to a lot of music, but iTunes Radio. . . “I Think I Love You.”

AirDrop

The hard sell on this one confuses me.

Sending a photo or a document to someone via text or email is fine. But if that someone is right next to you, a text or an email suddenly feels like too many steps.

I’m not saying that sending a photo via email is fast. It’s not, especially on my iPhone because more often than not, it refuses to send anything! But this concept of. . you’re standing next to me so it should be easier, tickles me.

We’ve seen this behavior on commercials for other types of phones and there are apps that let you bump files from one phone to another. Apple is just branding it their way by naming the feature AirDrop. Tap “Share”, choose who you want to share it with from a list (that presumably connects with any contacts nearby) and it’s done.

iCloud Keychain

This is a program that stores all of your passwords, credit card numbers etc in the cloud so you can easily access them when filling in forms on your phone. Great for speed. Excellent for mobile shopping. But highly encrypted or not, this scares me. The Keychain also has a password generator so you stop using the name of your pet on every account you open.

Camera

First, why isn’t it an iCamera?

Next:

filtersYes, sir. Those are photo filters that can take your plain photo and turn it into a work of art. Sound familiar? Though it doesn’t take it as far as that other popular photo program, it still feels like they’re borrowing from the best. Why not?

From one screen you can shoot a photo, take a panoramic photo or a video. And since the internet loves squares, you can now shoot one of those, too.

The big step up is in Collections.

camera ios 7
The photo on the right gives me a headache just looking at it. It’s like Where’s Waldo gone wild. iOS 7 will now categorize your photos by Collections, Moments, and Years. Choose Year and you’ll see everything you shot from Jan 1 to Dec 31. Moments might be all the photos from your sister’s wedding or that trip to San Francisco. Apple says the app is designed “so you can find a shot from whenever, wherever, in no time.”

I’m sure this is going to be huge for people who save photos on their phone like squirrels save nuts. I’ve never understood this concept. Why  deal with all that bulk in your phone? Upload those photos, print them, put them on Facebook but really, do you need to carry around the photo of what you had for lunch five years ago?

Somewhere an iPhone user is laughing as they put these crazy photos together in a book and sell it for a million dollar advance.

I’m exhausted and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Apple has upgraded almost everything from the app store to maps to the lost iPhone screen. You can see all of the new features and screenshots over on their site.

I’m going to head back to conference central and see what else Apple has in store. I’m thinking this might be the year we get a holographic assistant that not only keeps you informed, she (he) keeps you company.

What would you like to see from Apple?