Apple’s notoriously secretive approach to product releases always sparks plenty of speculation and debate across the blogosphere.

All Things D has reported that Apple would hold a special event on Sept. 10 to announce a new iPhone, and today CNET confirmed that invitations have gone out.

Besides the possibility of a new iPhone and the rumor of a lower-cost iPhone, one of the expected announcements at the event will be the formal release date for iOS7, Apple’s much anticipated new mobile operating system.

As I mentioned in my coverage of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this summer, Apple has said that iOS7 would be available this fall.

It’s been a bumpy summer for iOS7 development. As ReadWrite journalist Dan Rowinski points out: “It has not been a good summer for iOS7. Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads, which is still in beta, has been critiqued from the moment it was announced, plagued with bugs, seen its developer portal breached and briefly shut down, and, finally, surprised many would-be beta users by locking them out of their devices without warning.”

Despite a bumpy summer of development, iOS7 is coming and should be available this month. In fact, 9to5Mac has learned that Apple has already begun training its support team on iOS7 and iTunes Radio to address and alleviate any customer concerns and frustration.

So, what can real estate pros expect to see in iOS7? I have chatted with a handful of iOS developers who have been working with the various beta builds over the summer. All have said that first and foremost, the new flat design will be the most notable change for iOS users. Apple’s oft-criticized, skeuomorphic design approach has been sunsetted, and iOS7 features a new color palette, icons and a revamped design based on a grid system. You can learn more about the all-new design here.

Control Center is a new addition to iOS7 that gives users quick access (a simple swipe) to features such as Wi-Fi, screen orientation, music controls and AirPlay. The revamped notification center includes a new feature, “Today.” In my research, the Today feature does not appear to be as intuitive or robust as Google Now. In fact, the notification center in iOS has always been a step or two behind Android in terms of innovation.

AirDrop is a new iOS7 feature that I’m looking forward to that I think a lot of Realtors will enjoy. As Apple puts it on the company’s website, AirDrop lets users “quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No setup required. And transfers are encrypted, so what you share is highly secure.”

This tool has a lot of potential and could certainly come in handy when sharing content from one mobile device to another in the office. I particularly like the fact that you can share content or files one-on-one or with a group of people.

Safari also gets an upgrade in iOS7. The new mobile browser includes a unified smart search field, which allows you to search using the address bar like Google Chrome’s Omnibox. Safari also includes a new tab view that enables a user to quickly swipe through Web pages and consolidate the view. There are other new features available that integrate further with iCloud. For instance, iCloud Keychain is a new Safari feature that can store usernames and passwords and automatically enter users credentials when authentication is needed.

The updated camera and photo app is another new iOS7 feature that may be of interest to real estate professionals. The camera now supports four formats: still, video, panorama and square. Square being the new format. The camera also includes new filters in iOS7, very similar to Instagram and every other photo utility out there today.

These are just a handful of new features in iOS7. Of course, there are many other new features such as smarter multitasking, and improved Siri and iTunes Radio that go beyond the scope of this article. Whether you plan on taking the conservative “wait and see” approach or you’re like me and always take the technology plunge into the “latest and greatest” tech, iOS7 is coming and it’s going to be a huge change. Personally, I’m looking forward to it and the Apple event on Sept. 10.

Tom Flanagan is the director of information technology at Residential Properties Ltd. in Providence, R.I. You can contact him at or @tflan on Twitter.

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