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

Apple unveiled its brand new operating systems, iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks.

June 10, 2013, 10:48 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, June 10, 2013— -- 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 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.

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.

OS X Mavericks Revealed for Apple Desktops

Previous versions of Apple's iMac desktop operating systems have all been named after cats, but "this is the first OS update delayed due to a dwindling supply of cats," said Apple's Federighi, who is the chief of iOS and OS X operating systems.

Behold OS X Mavericks, which Federighi said was inspired by the California setting into which Apple was born: the Mavericks Invitational big wave surfing contest is held annually in Northern California.

Lots of new features were included in this upgrade: Tagging, Multiple Displays, Calendar updates, Safari with a new side bar, Notifications and iCloud Keychain updates, as well as the debut of Apple Maps and iBooks, now available on iMacs.

With Tagging, users can now tag files to make them more searchable. You can tag your photos or other kinds of content to group things together.

The Finder window, which allows users to search through content saved or downloaded to the computer's hard drive, now has tabs, which can be color-coded, so users can toggle between multiple file paths and searches, like a web browser.

The new operating system also included "next advanced technology," which meant improvement on battery life. The new system brings down CPU activity by 72 percent, meaning more "compressed memory," Federighi said. CPU stands up central processing unit, which handles the tasks and processes currently running on a computer.

The new system can compress inactive memory to free up space for open memory. This makes things like opening documents or reopening an application happen faster.

Notifications was also given a new upgrade in Mavericks that makes it a smarter tool. Users can now reply to emails and iMessages right inside a notification. Apps that send notifications to iOS devices will also send them to your Mac now, too.

For Even More Details about iOS X 10.9 Mavericks, Read our Live Blog

New MacBook Air Has 'All Day Battery Life'

What good would all this new software be without some new hardware to play with it on?

Apple today revealed a new MacBook Air, which will start shipping today, featuring "all day battery life," according to Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

That actually means is that the 11-inch MacBook Air will support nine hours of battery life, while the 13-inch is promising 12 hours of battery life.

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

The New Air will also include fourth generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, with a new Intel HD Graphics 5000 clip that boasts up to 40 percent faster performance for gaming and graphics intensive apps. Apple executives said the computer's new flash storage provides speeds up to 45 percent faster than the previous generation and nine times faster than traditional hard drives -- good news for gamers and movie watchers.

It will also have dual microphones, a FaceTime HD camera, a high-speed Thunderbolt port and two USB 3.0 ports.

The 11-inch MacBook Air will go for $999 for 128GB and $1,199 for 256GB. The 13-inch Air is selling for $1,099 for 128GB and 256GB on $1,299.

Sneak Peek: New Mac Pro Coming Later This Year

Apple teased a new Mac Pro computer, which is a model that hasn't seen an upgrade in a while. But it won't be available until later this year.

Billed as the "future of the pro desktop," the computer's hardware features a revamped redesign inside and out.

On the outside, a 9.9-inch-tall, black, glassy cylindrical structure replaces the familiar silver aluminum rectangle.

On the inside, Apple executives promised the new Pro will have a "unified thermal core," a "revolutionary" system that will include the next generation Xeon Intel processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, PCIe-based flash storage and ultra-fast ECC memory.

In a nutshell, the new Apple computer promises to have "10 times the speed of any notebook hard drive," Schiller said.

There was no mention of a price for the new Mac Pro, nor any mention of a new MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

For Even More Details about Apple's Developer's Conference, Read our Live Blog

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