Apple iPad Air review: Sun and heir

GSMArena team, 9 November 2013.

Maps and Navigation

Apple has replaced Google with TomTom as the map provider for the iOS native Maps application. It also offers voice-guided navigation courtesy of Siri. The navigation will work even on the lockscreen or in the background. Real-time traffic reports are available and Apple is also crowdsourcing the live traffic info anonymously from iOS users on the road. Sadly, there isn't an option to pre-cache maps for offline use, which can be a problem if you need guidance abroad or when you don't have signal. Still, if you set up a route when you have internet access, Maps will cache the maps needed to guide you along the way so you can finish your trip even without an internet connection.

As of iOS 7, the navigation service also includes turn-by-turn walking directions.

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Maps UI

When you enable the 3D view (outside navigation) you will be able to explore cityscapes from birds-eye view. The currently available selection is quite limited, but more and more areas are joining Flyover in time. You can zoom, tilt and rotate using two-finger gestures to explore 3D landmarks rendered in real time.

When Maps launched with iOS 6 it was quite a disappointment because of its poor map data, but Apple managed to deal with most of the problems and lack of data and accuracy.

In case you prefer the good ol' Google Maps, it is available for free in the App Store and is on par with its Android version. You get voice navigation where available, offline map caching, Street View, etc.

App Store now has automatic updates, nearby apps

The iOS App Store is still the richest application store to date. It uses a tabbed interface.

A Featured pages with a carousel showing the top apps is available as well as the usual Charts (Top Paid, Free and Grossing apps), Search and Updates. The Nearby apps tab will help you find the most popular apps people have downloaded in your current location.

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App Store with new UI, nearby apps

iOS 7 brought one more feature that users have been asking for - automatic app updates. Once you turn it on in the App Store settings, your apps will update automatically (via Wi-Fi only) and you'll get notifications for the completed updates in the notification center.

If you decide to enable the automatic app updates, the relevant tab in the AppStore will display a list of all recent updates.

As usual you can view all the apps you've bought on your current or previous iDevice through the Purchased menu in the Update tab. iCloud plays a key part here - all of your purchased apps from each device show up and are ready for download.

The App Store has a new hidden extra that will be appreciated by those using iTunes gift cards. You can now scan the card codes with you camera right in the App Store interface.

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You can redeem codes with your camera you can send people gifts too

The iTunes store is where you get music, videos, TV shows, movies, podcasts and ringtones. The tabbed interface is similar to that of the AppStore, divided into Music, Movies, Search, Tones and More.

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iTunes Store

Music sync is probably the trickiest part of the iCloud sync. Along with the tracks purchased from the iTunes store you surely have a collection of your own that you sync with your iOS device via iTunes. Apple is also offering a service to sync both collections in one place.

The music you've purchased at the iTunes Store will be easy to sync automatically across all your iGadgets. But you will need to use the iTunes Match service for the rest of your music collection if you want it synced too.

iTunes Match will scan your collection on the computer and check for matches with songs in the Apple's iTunes Store. If there is a match, the iTunes song will be synced, if not - well, Apple will upload this song on their servers and then sync.

So iTunes scans yours songs and pushes them to all your other devices if they match. If some of your tracks are of lower bitrate than 256Kbps, the iTunes Store will replace them with higher quality (256Kbps). The iTunes Match service costs $25(US) or 25(EU) a year.

Game Center gets a new look

Honestly, the Game Center has always looked awful, but in iOS 7 Apple finally did something about it. We are rather fond of the new look of the app, which is in line with the rest of the OS.

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iOS 7 Game Center

As far as functionality is concerned, the Game Center has remained pretty much unchanged - it has your games, your friends and your challenges.