Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the iOS 7 Beta 3, on Monday, as expected, exactly two weeks after it seeded the second beta of the redesigned firmware to its registered developers in June.
The new beta is available for compatible iPhones, iPads and iPod touch models as both an over-the-air update to current iOS 7 beta users and through Apple’s developer page.
The iOS 7 Beta 3 comes with the build number “11A4414e,” up from the build “11A4400f” seen on the second beta. The third beta version of the iOS 7 includes a number of improvements and fixes to the bugs reported by developers. According to the official release notes, Apple has fixed the issues related to duplicate push notifications and unexpected volume increase during AirPlay.
Apple will release the iOS 7 for public use toward the end of this year, with new models of the company’s iPhone, iPad and iPad mini also expected to arrive around the same time. If Apple sticks to its traditional release-cycle, the iOS 7 release date will arrive a few days prior to the launch of the seventh generation iPhone, presumably called the “iPhone 5S.”
Developers should note that iOS 7 Beta 3, accompanied by a third developer preview of Xcode 5, will expire on August 29. Let’s take a look at some of the key features and improvements incorporated in the firmware update:
Redesigned Fonts – Fonts on some of the apps, such as the Messages app, the Weather app and the Notification Center, have become thicker.
New Tweaks In Safari – The .com button in Safari is removed. You can now access the .com, .net, and .org domain extensions by holding down on a new period button.
Status Bar – Status Bar items, such as cellular connection strength, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and battery life, have become slightly larger on the lock screen.
Siri Tweaks – Siri is now much faster to navigate and sounds more natural. The third beta also includes development versions of new male and female Siri voices for U.S. English and French, and a male voice for German.
Music App – The Music App gets a minor redesign with new icons, rearranged controls and ratings. The Now Playing track is displayed fully in the app.
Calendar App – The Calendar app now displays scheduled events on monthly view, using small gray dots below the dates.
App Download Gets New Animation – You will get to see a new animated icon while downloading apps from the App Store as the download bar is now replaced with a round download timer.
In addition to the feature updates mentioned above, the third beta of iOS 7 brings many other key changes to the platform. Here is a quick roundup of some new iOS 7 Beta 3 tidbits:
1. Folders now appear more transparent.
2. New animation when accessing Spotlight search.
3. Users can use apps even while they are updating.
4. The lock screen shows time while playing music.
5. The Podcasts app is now functional.
6. The App Store gets a new Top Charts icon.
7. Users are now able to pinch-to-zoom in Music app while in landscape mode.
8. Mail app has a tweaked search bar.
9. New silent control in iPad Control Center.
10. The clock icon in the Control Center gets yet another redesign.
If you are a registered Apple developer, and have found more hidden features and improvements inside the iOS 7 Beta 3, go to the Comments section to share your experiences.
For paid members of Apple's iOS developer program who are yet to grab the iOS 7 Beta 3, here are the direct download links: