Apple unveiled a completely redesigned iOS 7 operating system for the iPhone and iPad at its annual WorldWide Developers Conference yesterday as part of a suite of changes aimed at countering the increasing popularity of Google Android.
Chief executive Tim Cook unveiled the iOS 7 refresh at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which includes a slew of major design changes, as well as multitasking support for all apps.
“It is the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone,” Cook said to a standing ovation from the audience of Apple fans and developers.
Here’s five things you need to know about the changes:
1. Redesigned iOS 7
The new iOS 7 is more colourful and easier to read than previous versions. A new swipe-left move lets users move seamlessly between programs and a double-tap of the home button displays cards of all the apps currently running. The iOS 7 camera provides more photo options, such as real time photo effects, panoramic setup and special filters, and the App Store will now update apps automatically.
Cook claimed Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, is still the number one in the market, boasting of 97% user satisfaction and more than twice as much web use as Android.
2. iTunes Radio launched
Apple used the conference to finally launch its long-rumoured streaming music service. ITunes Radio is built into iTunes on iOS devices, Macs, PCs and Apple TV.
iTunes Radio features more than 200 free stations and, like its rivals Spotify and RDO, it allows listeners to customise their own radio stations by genre, skip songs multiple times, or just tune in to stations.
iTunes Radio “learns” users’ music taste based on the music they listen to over time, and also based on what they purchase through the iTunes music store.
The service is free with ads, while subscribers to the $34.99 a-year iTunes Match program won’t see ads.
Apple also introduced a new version of its Mac operating system called Mavericks, aimed at delivering tighter integration with iPhones and iPads.
It’s the first time Apple has moved from the cat theme of previous operating systems like Mountain Lion.
The new software lets users’ appointments, password, map directions and other information follow them between devices.
Apple also announced the iCloud Keychain, a feature that stores users’ account passwords and can also suggest passwords.
iCloud will also feature a new version of iWork to better compete with Google’s online productivity suite Google Drive.
4. Siri’s now male
Siri now comes in a male voice, and you can ask him or her to tell you what’s happening on Twitter. The voice-activated personal assistant is now directly integrated with Microsoft’s search engine Bing.
5. New MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
Apple unveiled a new MacBook Air line, which will now have up to 12 hours of battery life.
Marketing chief Phil Schiller also previewed a new Mac Pro and used the opportunity to take a shot at Wall Street analysts who have criticized Apple lately.
“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,” Schiller said.