Apple finally officially released its much-anticipated iOS 7 last week. The new mobile operating system for iPhones, the iPod Touch, and iPads (including the iPad Mini) represents a major change for users not only in the design of the user interface, but in gestures used to control the devices, an updated notifications panel, and some big changes to Safari, and many other updates. (A Wired articled titled “iOS 7 Heralds Dawn of Mobile-First Era” describes it as “momentous.”) Of course, it also has repercussions for app developers, who will want to release new versions of their apps in order to take advantage of the OS’s new features. Image of iPad Mini with iOS7

The most obvious change is the iOS interface. Jony Ive’s new design has done away with icons that resemble “obsolete” physical objects (aka skeuomorphs), and although not everyone is a fan of the new “flat” design, Apple has achieved a more modern look. Ars Technica’s side-by-side visual comparison of the iOS 6 and iOS 7 interfaces make the differences clear.

A TabTimes post argues in favor of waiting to install the new OS, pointing out that some developers have yet to release new versions of their apps to take advantage of iOS 7, and that it might be wise to give Apple an opportunity to fix the new operating system’s inevitable bugs before you install it.

Among the bugs documented so far is a security flaw that enables users to bypass the device’s passcode to access a users photos and contacts, and another that will allow anyone to make calls from a locked iPhone.

The ReadWrite blog highlighted its three top complaints with the update: a change in the way users can close apps, the need to enter a passcode to unlock the phone after just a few seconds’ absence, and the animations when apps are opened and closed. There are work-arounds for the latter two problems, but in any case these issues are rather minor in the grand scheme of things.

Though some developers have already released iOS 7-friendly versions of their apps, many more updates are still to come, as developers aim to take advantage of the new iOS 7 features—and try to keep their apps from looking dated. Expect to eventually see changes such as transition animations between different screens within apps, larger presentation of photos and videos, and less visual clutter. Among those that have already successfully launched updates are The New York Times, Flipboard, and Kindle.

If it’s productivity features you’re interested in, you’ll want to try out iOS 7’s improved search bar, new Control Center, an app auto-update feature, an improved Photos app, new privacy controls, and the ability to block annoying callers.

For a detailed look all that iOS 7 has to offer, check out in-depth reviews of the mobile OS from ReadWrite, The Verge, Ars Technica, and Wired. (“The Best Hidden Features in iOS 7,” also from The Verge, is worth a look for its cool visual presentation alone.)

Posted by: Gina Barrett