Apple iOS 7: Software Redesign for iPhone, iPad
(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Apple product lovers, your iPhone and iPad 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 its new operating systems, iOS 7 for i-devices and OS X 10.9 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.
Here’s a recap of 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 older, iPad 2 and older, 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 now.
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 turn Wi-Fi on and off, open apps, change the brightness and turn on Flashlight.
Speaking of apps, iOS 7 sports several updates to the iPhone app experience.
Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, announced that in iOS 7, all apps can use multitasking -- basically, separating apps that are used constantly versus apps that get occasional use -- and will get great battery life.
Apps will now be updated automatically through Apple's App Store.
Apps are big business for Apple. Cook announced Monday 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 Control Center, 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.
OS X 10.9 Mavericks
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 10.9 Mavericks, which Federighi said was inspired by the California setting into which Apple was born: the Mavericks Invitational big wave surfing contest held annually in Northern California
Lots of new features were included in this upgrade: Tagging, Multiple Displays, Calendar, 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.
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.
Safari, Apple's web browser, will sport a new homepage with bookmarks and even Tweets in a new side bar in Mavericks. Now users don't need to close the side bar to see the webpage.
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.
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 revealed a new MacBook Air, which will start shipping Monday, featuring "all-day battery life," according to Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.
That means the 11-inch MacBook Air will support nine hours of battery life, while the 13-inch is promising 12 hours of battery life.
The NewAir 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.
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 MacBook Pro Coming Later This Year
Apple teased a New MacBook Pro computer, which is a model that hasn't seen an upgrade in a few years. But it won't be available until later this year.
Apple executives promised a new 9.9-inch-tall Pro with a "unified thermal core," that would 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 MacBook Pro, nor any mention of a new MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
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