Love it or hate it, iOS 7 is a bold statement that includes both obvious copying and fresh innovation. Apple design guru Jony Ive threw out Apple’s old playbook, ditching the cloying and clueless skeuomorphism, for a clean new functionality underpinned by cool new features.

iOS 7’s Control Center is new to iPhone, but hardly unprecedented in the smartphone space. Nevertheless, it is a killer feature that artfully blends standard functionality found elsewhere (i.e. access to Airplane mode, WiFi, calculator, etc) with cool, Apple-only features, like AirPlay and Do Not Disturb.

Likewise, Apple’s upcoming iOS 7 Notification Center update isn’t new per se. Yes, you can now get traffic, weather, stocks, calendar events, etc on the lock screen. Not earth shattering, though very cool nonetheless.

iOS 7: Real Change

The fandroids and Windows Phonies will happily point out that they already have “true” multitasking. Yet unless the user is completely on top of all his apps and processes — tweaker hell — battery life suffers.

Assuming Apple delivers on its promise, both in its own apps and via its new API, Multitasking could be a serious iOS 7 advantage — a mobile operating system that knows which apps are needed and when, will go a long way toward achieving high-level functionality while maintaining whole-day usability.
See also:Can My iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Run iOS 7?

When it comes to mobile browsing, iOS is already the far and away leader. Apple aims to extend that lead with iOS 7’s all-new Mobile Safari, which will offer improved fullscreen mode, a smart search field new bookmarks view and improved Tabs.

Even with third-party apps like 1Password, mobile password management simply sucks. iOS 7’s iCloud Keychain could change that without any upfront cost. An expansion of Apple’s already excellent eponymous Mac app, iCloud Keychain will provide access to all passwords, suggests complex passwords and keep credit card info for instant user access.

iOS 7: Great Gets Better

Many observers have pooh-poohed Apple’s upcoming iTunes Radio service as just so much "me too" copying. However, given that ad-free streaming audio will be bundled with Apple's excellent iTunes Match ($25/year), iTunes Radio will offer a significant price advantage over Pandora, Rdio and Spotify, as well as platform unique functionality.

Further, the simple fact that the free, ad-supported version comes bundled with iOS 7 means iTunes Radio will soon become the default streaming audio service for hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners. Boom, market dominance!

Apple's Find My iPhone feature is legendary for foiling thefts and there's nothing comparable on either Windows Phone or Android. However, clever thieves know to disable Find My iPhone and law enforcement officials have been pressuring Apple to respond to the trend.

That said, iOS 7's Activation Lock could be a panacea by making it impossible for thieves to reactivate let alone use a stolen iPhone — once the real owner locks or wipes an iPhone protected by Activation Lock, it becomes useless.

And, fundamentally, thieves won’t steal what they can’t use or sell.

What features in iOS 7 are making you drool?