iOS 7 Beta 2: Siri has a brother

New additions for iOS 7 Beta 2 include a different gender for Siri, a rejiggered Reminders design, and a new group chat feature. 

iOS 7 is expected to ship sometime this fall.

iOS 7, the new mobile operating system from Apple, is expected to launch this fall, probably in lockstep with the new iPhone

In the meantime, Apple has already circulated one beta version for developers, and yesterday, it introduced iOS 7 Beta 2, which incudes support for the iPhone, iPad, and iPad Mini (hat tip to 9 to 5 Mac). So what's new on the second beta? Well, for one, there's now a male voice for Siri. There are also some updated controls for the lock screen and rejiggered avatars for group iMessage chats. 

"Other new features include Siri seeming to load faster, a slight update to the Reminders design, and quicker Spotlight search," notes John Koetsier of VentureBeat, who took iOS 7 Beta 2 for a test spin. "Multitasking also appears to be working better, and a number of interface errors in Music and other apps where text was laid on top of other text seem to have been smoothed out." 

iOS 7 was introduced earlier this year at the WWDC event in San Francisco. The design on the operating system is something of a shake-up for Apple, which has always favored 3-D shading on its icons (thus giving the home screen the appearance of depth). By contrast, on iOS 7, the icons are flatter, the font is slimmer, and the colors are more modern. 

Developers can access the beta versions of iOS 7 here. But if you're just an everyday user, you'd be much better off waiting for the full release later this year – after all, beta versions, by their very definition, are unstable and very much works-in-progress. 

Alternatively, you can try out this neat little iOS 7 simulator from the fine folks at the tech site Recombu. It's surprisingly comprehensive, from the new control panel to the camera controls. 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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