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Apple iOS 7: Sleek, Elegant Software Redesign for iPhone, iPad

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
By LAUREN EFFRON (@LEffron831) and JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)

Apple product lovers, your iPhone and iPad interfaces will look radically different this year.

At Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), held at the Moscone West Center in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other company executives unveiled new operating systems, iOS 7 for i-devices and OS X Mavericks for Macs, as well as a new version of its MacBook Air and a sneak peek at the next MacBook Pro.

Although Apple didn't announce any new iOS devices, the big redesign featuring an array of new software upgrades in the iOS 7 operating system will make existing devices seem new.

"We want to make the best product that people use more and love more than anyone else's," Cook said.

Let's recap the major announcements:

iOS 7: An Elegant Upgrade

The new iOS 7 software has what's been dubbed 'flat' look with fewer textures and a more monochrome look. The gradient textures on tabs have also been removed in favour of block colours. Users can now swipe from the left of the screen to go back and move between messages. When you slide across in any app you now get an options menu too

The best way to describe iOS 7's new redesigned interface is that it looks like a crystal-clear pane of layered glass with elegant "flat" icons and features.

Simple and clean, Cook said, it is the "most significant iOS update since the original iPhone [debuted]."

iOS 7 will be available on the iPhone 4 and newer, iPad 2 and newer, iPad Mini and the fifth-generation of iPod Touch, starting in the fall. Developers can start playing with a beta version of the new operating system today.

Apple's New iOS 7, MacBook Air: First Look

In iOS 7, an active home screen features a new, 3D-like experience when you move the phone around and a semi-translucent keyboard. Swiping up from the bottom of the device brings up the Control Center, which allows users to manage several controls such as turning Wi-Fi on and off, opening apps, changing the screen's brightness and using Flashlight -- potentially killing off existing third-party flashlight apps.

Speaking of apps, iOS 7 sports several welcome updates to the iPhone app experience.

A selection of the new screens in Apple's iOS 7 software, which will be available as a free upgrade to iPhone and iPad users in the Autumn. From left to right is Apple's new streaming service iTunes Radio, Photos Moment, the new homescreen, Control Center and iBooks

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, announced that iOS 7 has improved Multitasking for apps -- basically, separating apps that are used constantly versus apps that get occasional use -- and will allow for better battery life.

Apps will now be updated automatically through Apple's App Store.

Apps are big business for Apple. Cook announced today that the company has paid out $10 billion to app developers, and there are 900,000 apps available in Apple's App Store, which has had 50 billion app downloads.

There are hundreds of other new features in iOS 7, including the Notification Center, enhanced Photos, Safari, Airdrop, upgrades to Siri's interface and voice, as well as the introduction of iTunes Radio.

Airdrop, a feature that allows users to send files from one Mac to another, is coming to iOS devices for the first time, but will only be available on the iPhone 5, the fourth-generation of iPad and the iPad Mini.

For Even More Details about iOS 7, Read our Live Blog

iTunes Radio: Answer to Pandora, Spotify

iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on the music users listen to on iTunes, is Apple's answer to Internet radio giants such as Pandora and Spotify.

Similar to other online music-streaming products, iTunes Radio has over 200 stations and allows users to create stations based on artists or songs, but Apple's version also offers stations based on what others users are talking about, including a Trending on Twitter station and an Artists on Tour station.

The feature is built into iOS 7, and will be available on supporting iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad devices, as well as iTunes on Mac and PC and Apple TV.

Internet radio has become the new favorite hook of tech giants to attract new users. Just last month, Google announced it was jumping on the online music streaming bandwagon with its All Access service through Google Play.

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