New Delhi: Apple made as many as six major product announcements at the opening keynote of its annual developers conference. The new Apple releases and announcements include iOS 7, OS X Mavericks, iTunes Radio, iWork for iCloud, new MacBook Air and an all new Mac Pro.
Apple says the iOS 7 is the most radical design change to the iOS operating system since the launch of the iPhone back in 2007.
Apple says iOS 7 will be available on the iPhone 4 and later, the iPad 2 and later and the iPad Mini. A test version is available to developers starting Monday. It will be available for everyone else this fall. That's when Apple is likely to introduce a new iPhone as well.
Icons in iOS now have a three-dimensional look that try to mimic the real-world counterparts of certain apps. For instance, the icon for the Notes app looks like a yellow notepad and the Contacts app is represented by a leather-bound address book.
With iOS 7, Apple is favouring simplicity and consistency. Ive says Apple is introducing a new structure to bring order to complexity. While design modifications could help Apple distinguish its devices from rival phones and tablets, they risk alienating longtime users.
Apple also demonstrated a new weather app with animation: It shows thunder when a thunderstorm is forecast, for instance. The calendar has been cleaned up and looks more streamlined. You can also get to your contacts list quickly while reading messages by swiping from the left of the screen.
Also coming to iOS 7: full multitasking. In the past, the ability to use multiple apps at once was limited. You can also swipe up from the bottom to access a control centre, for such functions as turning on the airplane mode and adjusting brightness. It's similar to a feature available at the top on rival devices running Android.
Apple's software will also figure out which apps you tend to use and make sure content is regularly updated for those.
Apple also took a jab at Samsung. The South Korean giant has been touting Android phones that let you share photos and other content by bumping phones together. Samsung phones have a near-field communication chip that iPhones lack. iOS 7 will let users share content wirelessly with a feature called AirDrop.
"No need to wander around the room bumping your phone with others," Apple vice-president Craig Federigh said during the demo.
The company also says it will come out with a version of iOS built into cars.
OS X Mavericks
Apple has had a practice of naming Mac operating system updates after cats but the next will actually be called Mavericks, a reference to a big wave area in the San Francisco area.
The new operating system will support tagging to help you find files more easily. Simply assign one or more tags such as "important" or "movies" to a particular document as you save it.
Mavericks will also work with multiple monitors, with docks and menus going across the various display screens. TVs connected via Apple's AirPlay can serve as one of those displays. The new system also promises better battery life.
An improvement to the Safari Web browser is coming in the next version of Apple's Mac operating system and it includes one-click bookmarking. There's also an infinite scrolling feature - when you get to the end of an article, it will simply go to the next one as you scroll downward.
Need help remembering all your website passwords? Apple has a new feature on its iCloud file-storage service. It will keep track of all your passwords - encrypted for security - across your various devices.
And when you're shopping, it will automatically suggest credit card numbers you've used in the past. You will still have to enter the security code on the back of your card, though.
Apple's maps service, which had been panned when it came out last year, also got some improvements. You can search for directions on a Mac and have it sent to the iPhone, for instance. Apple will be competing with Google Maps, Microsoft's Bing and others on desktop and laptop computers. Apple's Maps app currently is available only on Apple's mobile devices.
iBooks on Mac
The Mac is also getting the iBooks app previously available on iPhones and iPads. It's the latest evidence of Apple's software for mobile devices and traditional computers converging, although Apple has said it prefers to keep the two separate because the Mac software is designed for non-touch devices such as desktops and laptops. The new Mac operating software will be out this fall.
New MacBook Air
Apple announced new MacBook Airs with better battery life. 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.
The new MacBook Airs start shipping Monday: The 11-inch one starting at $999 and the 13-inch model starting at $1,099. The Airs are thinner and lighter than traditional laptops.
New Mac Pro
Apple showed a video previewing an upcoming MacBook Pro. It promises faster connectivity through Thunderbolt 2 ports and better graphics performance.
It will be available later this year and will be assembled in the United States, consistent with Apple's previous pledge to move manufacturing of one of its existing lines of Mac computers to the US.
iWork on iCloud
Apple unveiled a long-overdue upgrade to its iWork suite of productivity software. The new version will tap Apple's iCloud online syncing service and will let you run the programs from a Web browser.
The current version dates back to 2009. The suite includes Pages for word processing and Numbers for spreadsheets. It's cheaper than Microsoft's Office, but has worked only on Apple devices. Because the new version works on a Web browser, you can now use it on a Windows computer, too.
Apple unveiled a feature for organising photos you take on iPhones. Instead of the endless streams of the past, they will be organized into moments - such as "home" or "trip to San Francisco."
Apple says its Siri virtual assistant will use search results from Microsoft's Bing - furthering its avoidance of Google services. Last year, Apple unveiled its own Maps app to replace one using Google's mapping service. Apple has also given Siri a new voice.
Apple also unveiled a streaming music service, iTunes Radio. It is built into iOS 7 and works on Apple's mobile devices. It will also work with Apple's iTunes software on Mac and Windows computers.
It's free with ads, though subscribers of Apple's iTunes Match service will get it ad-free. Availability will start in the US.
Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the new radio service as the "absolute best way to discover new music" and reiterated that iOS 7 was the biggest change ever to the iPhone.
(With inputs from AP)
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