What's New in Technology for October 2013

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New iOS 7 has Special Appeal for Business Users

Perhaps you were one of the many iPhone, iPod and iPad users who eagerly awaited the new version of Apple’s mobile operating system at the end of September. And perhaps you were one of the many who were put off by its flat graphic interface – but don’t despair. Its lack of visual pizazz belies some great revisions and snappy additions that provide users with a more seamless interface. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most significant changes behind the new look, and their implications for users:

Call Blocking

If you are getting unsolicited sales pitches or annoying texts on your mobile, finally you have a way to block the senders. Just go to your phone app, locate the contact and tap on “Block This Caller.” You can also block callers who are not in your address listing if they have recently called or texted you. Blocking callers doesn’t prevent you from calling or texting them at a later date if you choose to do so.

Privacy/Sharing Issues

The new operating system offers more detailed privacy settings than its predecessor. The user can block usage, location and diagnostic data from being dispatched to Apple. Interestingly, on an intra-network level, Apple has incorporated AirDrop, a peer-to-peer file sharing system, into iOS 7. This gives business users – especially small businesses – the opportunity to set up ad hoc iPhone sub networks to share information.

One-Tap Access for Common Functions

iOs 7 provides a new function panel (swipe finger up from bottom center to access this panel) giving users speedy one-tap access to commonly used tools like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This panel also controls music, timers and cameras providing handy access to some of the most popular smart phone features. As a further plus, the sound buttons can be held down to take a series of fast photo shots (ideal for sports pictures) when you’re operating the camera.  The volume down button can also be used to focus and sharpen a picture.

Easier Multitasking and Use of Apps

Multitasking is faster and easier with the new operating system. The headache of entering your Apple ID every time an installed app needs to be updated is gone. Updates can be completed automatically. In addition, there’s a new way to close apps in iOS 7. Users double tap the home button to get to the multitask screen. Once you’ve located the app, swipe it upwards to move it off the screen and close it. Overall, daily smart phone tasks – such as switching between apps, closing apps no longer needed, keeping an eye on battery usage, checking incoming messages – are easier with the new operating system.

Message Time Stamps

The new system fixes an irritating inconsistency on previous iPhones. On the new iOS system every message comes with a time stamp, which can be important information for business users. Now, if you review a conversation, you can swipe left to find the time stamp for each message.

More Search Options with Siri

If social media is important to your business, you’ll like the new Siri feature that allows you to ask Siri “What is Jane Doe saying?” Siri will also find photo images for you now at your command. And, in a further effort to personalize your relationship with Siri, iOS 7 allows you to coach Siri if you don’t like her pronunciation.

Overall, the initial launch of iOS 7 appears to have been a success. Of course, there are glitches and inconsistencies that will require work. Not all app developers who work with Apple are at the same stage of readiness, and there will be a period of transition as some play catch up. For the most part, Apple has provided its smart phone and tablet users with a platform that works in today’s world.


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