Say hello to Apple's iOS 7, the new version of its smartphone and tablet platform. The new OS was one of the key announcements made Monday by the technology giant at its Worldwide Developers Conference, taking place this week in San Francisco.
CEO Tim Cook told the conference attendees that version 7 is "the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone." The company's head of design, Jonny Ive, has redesigned iOS so that it now features translucency over content for highlighting, new icons, new typography, and what Apple is describing as a "cleaner, simpler look" that is intended to make the iPhone look bigger because the interface takes advantage of the entire screen.
New OS features include Control Center, which provides access to all controls in one location, such as pausing a song or providing access to the Clock or Calculator. Notification Center is now available from the Lock screen, so all notifications can be seen in one swipe, such as an at-a-glance view of your day in terms of weather, traffic, meetings and events.
AirDrop, Camera, iTunes Radio
iOS 7 multitasking for all apps lets developers use a new API to run any app in background, and the most frequently used apps have their content updated automatically. AirDrop is a new content sharing function. It shows nearby contacts, and Apple said a user only needs to select the person to share with and let AirDrop handle the rest of the peer-to-peer encrypted transfer.
A new Camera app offers filters for real-time photo effects, and the ability to switch between four types of cameras -- video, photo, square and panorama. The updated Photos app introduces Moments for automatically organizing photos and videos by time and location. The Safari browser has a redesigned user interface, including full-screen browsing and Enhanced Parental Controls.
There's also a new, free Internet radio service -- iTunes Radio, with over 200 stations, including Apple-curated Featured Stations and personalized genre-based stations. Not unlike some of Pandora's features, the service is designed to evolve its music selections based on what music the user plays and downloads.
Bing, Mac Pro, Mavericks
In yet another sign of the Apple-Google competition, Apple announced that the new version of the voice-controlled virtual assistant Siri on the iPhone will be integrated with Microsoft's Bing search engine. Siri has also been updated with a new visual look, features either male or female voices, and now includes Twitter integration, so she can be queried about what is being said on that service.
Also shown was a preview of the company's refresh of the company's Mac Pro line, which Marketing head Phil Schiller described as "a machine unlike anything we've ever made." He also had a direct response to critics who have complained that Apple's pace of innovation has slowed down since the 2011 passing of co-founder and CEO Steve Job: "Can't innovate any more, my ass."
Accompanying the new Macs was a preview of the updated Mac operating system, which is breaking the streak of big cat-related names (Panther, Lion) by its choice of the name Mavericks. The new OS features the ability to handle multiple displays, iBooks, integration with Maps, and a new organizing tool called Tags.