The newly-announced iOS7 operating system for iPhone and iPad has been praised by experts, and is set to reassert Apple’s position as a major innovator.
The system, which is the first being overseen by Apple's British chief designer Sir Jonathan Ive, was introduced during Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco on 10 June.
“We see iOS7 as defining an important new direction and in many ways a beginning," said Ive about the system during a showcase video presentation.
According to industry observers, the new software makes iPhone appear bigger, with features crafted to take advantage of the entire screen. Text is said to appear sharper, while a ‘control centre’ on the phone allows users to adjust settings with just one swipe from the bottom of the screen. This gives instant access to functions such as Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Do Not Disturb, and enables users to quickly pause or play a song, jump to the next track and stream music.
"Most of the changes [Apple has made to the software since the release of iPhone] have been like tinkering at the edges, whereas this is a revamp of the whole thing, especially visually," said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at IT research firm Ovum. "The new version is almost unrecognisable, which will make it polarising,” he added, suggesting that some people might find it difficult to get used to the ‘new face’ of iPhone.
According to Ernest Doku, a telecoms expert at the uSwitch.com website, the revamp has proven to be much more than just a fresh coat of paint and will revitalise Apple’s competitive and innovative edge that has been tested by competitors such as Android and Windows Phone 8.
"The 'crow's feet' had started to become visible on Apple’s range of hugely popular devices,” Doku said. “But Jony Ive and his team have really brought the design ethos that have made Apple products so iconic on the outside, and seem to have revamped the innards just as drastically too.”
During the event, Apple has also announced changes to its desktop and laptop computers, including all-day battery life for the MacBook Air and introduced a new tool to share content, named Airdrop, which is said to be fully encrypted.
Some updates have also been made to the iPhone’s cameras and its Siri voice-recognition feature.
Apple also announced plans to launch a free music service in the near future. The iTunes Radio, introduced just one month after Google’s Play Music All Access, is seen as a potential competitor to the likes of streaming-service Spotify.
The iTunes Radio will be available for free as long as customers are willing to listen to advertisements. It will feature more than 200 stations and offer access to thousands of new songs every week.