Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 7, was released today.

While early reviews of the iPhone 5c and 5s may have mobile tech fans talking hardware today, the bigger news is actually Apple's free software update for iPhones (iPhone 4 and later), iPads (iPad 2 and later) and iPod touch (fifth generation).

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We've just downloaded the software on our iPhone 5 and can't wait to start playing with some of the features aimed specifically at mobile photography enthusiasts. 

Camera app

The camera app has been updated for our Instagram-obsessed culture. In addition to a new square format setting, nine live filters may be applied in camera, letting you see the effect before you snap. We're already loving the brightly colored Chrome and the muted but defined look of Transfer. You can also choose to apply a filter post-capture within the Photos app, with the ability to remove the filter at any time.

The camera's user interface feels more intuitive. All your options for shooting, including video, standard still photo, square format still photo or panoramic photo, are easily accessible from the bottom of the screen. All phones eligible for the update will also see some sort of burst mode, but only iPhone 5s users can shoot at 10 frames per second and see suggestions for which shot is best. Additionally, iPhone 5s owners will see a slow motion video mode and quicker auto focus and capture speeds.

Note that some of these features are dependent upon your hardware. For instance, only iPhone 5 or later and fifth-generation iPod touch users will see the live in-camera filters. MacWorld has an extensive list of which iOS 7 features are compatible with various hardware, as well as instructions for how to update your device.

On iOS 7 photos are organized into "Moments" and "Collections", automatically sorted by location and date, with the ability to view at the Year level.
Updates to the camera app allow for Insta-ready square format photos, as well as filter effects.

Photos app

The new organizational structure of the Photos app instantly feels more structured. Instead of a sea of images to scroll through, photos are organized into "Moments" and "Collections", automatically sorted by location and date, with the ability to view at the Year level. You can also view your images in a photo map format.

The update allows users to send photos to other iOS users on the same network with a single tap via AirDrop. We can't wait to use this feature at our next social event. A new shared photo album feature for iCloud should also make photo sharing easier.

Third-party app updates

While third-party app developers are just starting to announce their own iOS 7 updates, we can look forward to some interesting improvements to our favorite photocentric iOS apps that utilize the new software (and hardware for new iPhone 5s owners). For instance, Hipstamatic has just updated its app with a new user interface and new cases meant to match iOS 7's new design.

There are plenty more exciting changes in iOS 7 overall, with sites like TechCrunch and The New York Times offering comprehensive looks. We'll have plenty more to say about iOS 7 as we start to share our impressions, and then full review, of the new iPhone 5s. Stay tuned.