On Monday at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, CEO Tim Cook hosted a keynote that saw the unveiling of a sharp new Mac Pro, new MacBook Air models with better battery life, a streaming Internet radio service and the next operating system for the Mac.
But the biggest news of all was most certainly iOS 7 — the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system — which will bring a whole new experience to iPhone and iPad.
Tim Cook cued up a video showing the new iOS, and each shot was met with audible excitement. Cook said it was the biggest change to the system since the iPhone’s introduction in 2007.
iOS 7 will feature a new “flat” design that drops references to real world objects – such as a snooker table for its games centre – and replaces them with an interface that is crisper and far more modern in appearance.
The mobile design, overseen for the first time by new iOS boss Jony Ive, includes new typography, redesigned icons and a new color palette.
“I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency,” Ive said in a video introducting iOS 7. “True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It’s about bringing order to complexity.”
Craig Federighi, Apple’s vice president for software engineering, demoed new features like Control Center, where users will be able to swipe up for music, flashlight and other tools.
Mobile Safari has a really flat look as well, with a wild “cover flow” like tab scrolling ability, so you can flip through a bunch of open pages really easily. There’s also “shared links,” a Flipboard-like way to look at stuff your social friends are sharing.
The Photo app is a major focus of the redesign. You can scan photos in all kinds of views, zooming out to see teeny thumbnails. You can apply filters quickly instead of doing painstaking edits, and you can share to AirDrop or Photo Stream, says NBC News.
Siri, Apple’s voice-activated “digital assistant,” is becoming more diverse. Users will be able to choose a male voice – Siri has been solely a “she” so far – and users can ask it to perform basic tasks like playing a voicemail or turning down the brightness on an iPhone or iPad’s screen.
iOS 7 is available to developers in beta on the iPhone today, but the rest of us will have to wait until the fall. It will work only on iPhone 4 or later, iPad 2 and later, the mini and the iPod touch, says WPTV.
Robert Brunner, founder of design consultancy Ammunition and a former design head at Apple, said it was past time Apple changed the look of software that had become “busier and busier” visually and, to some degree, busier and busier functionally.
“The iOS look and feel had become long in the tooth,” said Brunner, who hired Ive while he was at Apple. “So what Jony has done is really gone in and cleaned it up. He made it feel more sophisticated, more modern.”
The new iTunes Radio service will allow users to build radio stations around their existing iTunes libraries, with Apple suggesting what further music they might like on the basis of their previous purchases. The service will be supported by adverts for most users, or be ad-free for subscribers.
During a keynote address at the company’s developers conference, Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of marketing, unveiled a couple of new versions of the MacBook Air laptop and also gave developers a sneak peek of an updated Mac Pro desktop PC.
The new Mac Pro looks like a dark bullet of a desktop computer that for all the world resembled Darth Vader’s helmet more than the standard beige box. It will be available later this year, the company said.
“I’m proud to present Sea Lion,” joked Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering. “We don’t want to be the first software release in history to be delayed by a lack of cats.”
The Mac Pro will include a new Intel Xeon processor and come standard with dual AMD workstation discrete graphics processors. It also will support 4K, ultra high-definition displays out of the box, and the system is only one eighth the volume of the earlier Mac Pro.
MacBook Airs are now with better battery life too. The 11-inch model will have nine hours of battery life instead of five, while the 13-inch model will have 12 hours instead of seven. They include Intel’s fourth-generation Core processor, dubbed Haswell, as well as a faster Wi-Fi known was 802.11ac.
The new MacBook Airs start shipping Monday: the new models are available Monday and start at $999 for 11-inch and $1,099 for 13-inch, reports CNet.