Apple's new iOS 7

Apple's latest operating system released today

Apple’s latest operating system, hailed as a new beginning for the technology giant, will be downloaded across the globe today.

British design chief Sir Jonathan Ive introduced iOS 7 as an ''important new direction'' when he showcased the software at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier this year.

The new operating system has a cleaner look than its predecessors and has been described by Apple's CEO Tim Cook as ''the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone''.

It was unveiled just months after Apple posted its first profit slide in a decade and drew accusations that it has failed to innovate, but its launch this week comes just days before two new iPhones go on sale – one of which features a fingerprint scanner.

Executive Phil Schiller sent a massive cheer through the audience at the San Francisco conference in June when he told developers: ''Can't innovate any more, my arse!''

Industry observers appeared largely convinced and suggested the arrival of iOS 7 could go some way to silencing Apple's critics. The new software has been designed to make the 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.

Meanwhile a ''notification centre'' is available from the ''lock'' screen so users can view updates with a ''simple swipe''.

Apple has also introduced an AirDrop tool to share content, which is said to be fully encrypted, with contacts nearby, and has added further updates to its cameras and its Siri feature.

The release comes as the first iPhone fans begin to queue outside the firm's flagship store in London in anticipation of the launch of the new iPhone 5S on Friday, which comes with a finger print scanner.

The 5S device, said to be twice as fast as its predecessor, sets itself apart from its competitors with its Touch ID feature. This allows users to unlock their phone with the touch of a finger. Friday will also see the launch of the cheaper 5C, Apple's first move away from the high-end market.

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