Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Described by Apple as the “most significant change to the mobile operating system since our first iOS platform,” iOS7 has improved on its predecessor in a number of ways. In a sense, the pared-down interface is more of a devolution than an evolution, although there’s no shortage of new features to excite even the most jaded iPhone user.

The biggest change is the replacement of the search feature from the swipe screen to the home screen – a welcome adaptation once you get over the intuitive urge to scroll left. The revamped app-switching function is another neat improvement.
In total, iOS7 introduces 200 new features, which will probably keep revealing themselves until it’s time for the next upgrade. The most talked-about new app is iTunes Radio, Apple’s maiden voyage into the crowded internet radio streaming market. Siri has had the overhaul everyone has been waiting for since the much-maligned buggy version that appeared on iOS6, and Safari has also been markedly improved.

The major changes that will influence ad campaign strategies are AirDrop and iBeacon, both of which present exciting new opportunities in the field of location-based marketing. Apple users have had a long wait for AirDrop to migrate from the desktop to the iPhone. The ability to share files over WiFi with a select group of contacts is a vital new tool in the marketing box, and will doubtless already be in use at expos, conventions and trade fairs all over the world. It’s perfect for communicating information that simply won’t fit in a text. Rich content that could previously only be sent via email can now be done directly from phone to phone.

Department stores and malls looking for in-store solutions will gain more from iBeacon, which uses Bluetooth to identify the whereabouts of shoppers. Customers who linger in one location for extended periods of time can now be quickly found and offered assistance, and the implications for matching loyalty offers with consumers are obvious.

But iOS 7 is not without glitches. In particular, iMessage has come under fire for failing to send messages. Now de-bugged, the internet texting service (which allows free bulk texts to be sent anywhere in the world) will prove very useful to anyone managing an SMS marketing campaign.

Between iMessage, AirDrop and iBeacon, iOS 7 has opened up a world of opportunities for mobile marketers, displaying the breathtakingly sophisticated level of innovation for which Apple made its name.