Apple innovations: new iOS, new MacBooks and music streaming service

In a move that Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook described as “the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone,” the firm has unveiled a brand new look for its user interface.

iOS 7

iOS 7 is set to feature a “flatter” design which marks a move away from skeuomorphism, where real-world inspired texturesiOS 7 and objects are used in design. So rather than seeing a snooker table for its games centre, iPhone and iPad users will see an interface which is fresher and more modern in appearance.

It’s the first time the look of the interface has been overseen by British design chief Jony Ive and it marks a departure from Apple’s previous screen architecture, which relied heavily on leather textures and stitching motifs.

The aim of the revamp, says Ive, is to make the system look “cleaner” and to “elevate” users’ content.

Apple are clearly delighted with their new look iOS7 and are able to smile at previous versions. Revealing the new look at Apple’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference, the firm’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi, said: “We just completely ran out of green felt and wood – this has got to be good for the environment.”

Analysts, however, believe some users could be “disorientated by the newness” of iOS 7. But Jan Dawson, an analyst at consultancy Ovum, added: “On the other hand, this is a clear statement from Apple that it acknowledges the need to refresh the user interface and is willing to do something pretty dramatic.”

Drama is exactly was Apple was hoping to achieve, with senior vice-president Phil Schiller answering critics who said Apple was getting stale by simply saying: “Can’t innovate any more, my ass.”

iRadio

Eddy Cue introduces iTunes Radio at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2013 in San FranciscoThe new iOS 7 system came at the same time Apple officially announced the launch of iTunes Radio, a new streaming music service which will give users access to themed stations which can be tailored according to their listening history. The new system will also provide a way for users to “discover new music,” with songs recommended based on a person’s previous choices.

The feature will be accessible via the new-look iOS 7’s music app, going head-to-head with the likes of Spotify and Pandora. iTunes Radio will also put Apple up against Google, which unveiled Play Music All Access last month, a similar service for Android devices. But, while Google is operating a pay-to-use model, iRadio is free so long as users are willing to listen to adverts, with an ad-free option for those buying a subscription.

MacPro and MacBook Air

new MacPro launchApple also gave a sneak peak of the new versions of the MacBook Air and the Mac Pro desktop PC. The new MacBook Air models will include Intel’s fourth-generation Core processor as well as faster Wi-Fi and better battery life. The Mac Pro, meanwhile, will have a new Intel Xeon processor and ultra high-definition displays. It’s a long-needed update for the Mac Pro, favoured by those in the creative industries, as it hasn’t had a full-blown revamp for years.

So, in the words of Schiller, it seems Apple is certainly still capable of innovation.

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