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Young Leo

Apple reveals iOS7 design change

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Apple has unveiled a new look for the user interface of its smart device iOS operating system - the first to be overseen by its design chief Jony Ive.

He said the aim was to make the system look "cleaner" to help "elevate" users' content.

It involves a shift away from skeuomorphism - the use of leather, wood and other real-world inspired textures and artifacts in apps.

A similar change has also been made to its OS X system for Mac computers.

Highlighting the new look of the firm's Game Center app, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi joked: "We just completely ran out of green felt and wood - this has got to be good for the environment."

He also showed off a parallax effect which means icons shift against the background image as an iPhone-user tilts their handset one way and another, based on feedback from the device's accelerometer sensor.

"The new version is almost unrecognizable, which will make it polarising," said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at the consultancy Ovum.

"Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness.

"Finding your Settings app is hard when the icon has totally changed, and the many people who easily get disoriented by their gadgets may well have a negative experience.

"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."

Music streaming

The firm also announced iTunes Radio - a streaming music service offering access to themed stations which can be tailored according to a person's listening history on iTunes, as well as tracks from specific bands - including unreleased exclusives - which they do not own.

Apple suggested it was a way for users to "discover new music", and the firm will promote the ability to buy songs that a user likes via its store.

The feature is accessible via iOS 7's music app and poses a challenge to LastFm, Pandora, Spotify and other similar products.

It comes a month after Google unveiled Play Music All Access, a similar facility for Android devices. But unlike the search firm's pay-to-use model, Apple is making iRadio accessible without charge if users are willing to listen to adverts, as well as an ad-free option to users buying an iTunes Match subscription.

One music industry watcher suggested Apple's move could prove disruptive in light of the fact the firm has 575 million iTunes accounts.

"A large portion of digital music consumers currently buy their music through Apple's store," said Chris Cooke, business editor at the music industry news site CMU.

"If we are seeing a shift - which many in the industry think we are - from a situation where downloads are the norm to one where streaming becomes more popular, then Apple has a large audience to try and persuade users that its streaming service is the one to shift to."

Other new features to iOS 7 include:

  • Automatic app updates
  • A swipe-up Control Center feature which brings together frequently used functions such as turning on wi-fi or bluetooth, and using a phone as a "flashlight"
  • The ability to carry out searches via Microsoft's Bing service within the voice-controlled Siri app, which also features new voices
  • An anti-theft measure which requires a user to enter an associated ID and password before being able to deactivate a device's Find My iPhone feature
  • Redesigned fonts to create the appearance of sharper text

About 37.4 million iPhones shipped worldwide in the January-to-March quarter according to market intelligence firm IDC, confirming its status as Apple's biggest source of revenue.

Although that was a rise on the same period in 2012, the study indicates the firm's smartphone market share slipped to 17.3% while Android's grew to 75%, thanks in large part to Samsung's success. It also indicated Apple is facing a similar trend in the tablet sector.

Apple's products might still be more profitable, but IDC suggested it needed the refresh.

"People were getting a bit bored with the old design so Apple needed to make significant changes," said IDC's mobile device research director Francisco Jeronimo.

Apple said iOS 7 would be released to the public in the autumn.

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I'll have to wait and see what it's actually like but in all likelihood I'm still going to prefer good ol' Android Jelly Bean over this.

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I knew when I clicked this topic I'd be disappointed with the interface, yet I clicked it anyway. I'm waiting for a company to improve on the cluster-fudge of apps approach to a phone.

 

I might be the only one who likes them but "dem widgets", mix that with my favourite apps and I'm golden.

 

Everyone understands this is basically just giving the standard apps a new icon right? Other than that, the features included in the update are just playing the catch-up game. Yet I'm disowning my Galaxy Note running on Jelly bean for this and a new iPhone 5.

 

Call me weird, but I prefer iOS.

 

Not that i'm turning this into android vs iOS

Edited by Fatalysm

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It's a welcome change, to be sure. Looking forward to having this rolled out onto my iPhone 4.

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I'm just waiting for a jailbreak cause I got stuck on 6.1.3 or whatever, but this looks pretty cool!

Edited by Zooey

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I think this will be a good update. My only complaints:

Air drop isn't on the iphone 4s, and I don't have the money for the iphone 5, or to upgrade whenever.

I don't like the multitasking way of closing apps. I mean, its easier and everything, but this, and the "action center" are copies of android features. The action center is a needed update, and is useful. I don't think that just because android has it, iOS can't. But Apple could have found a different way to close apps in multitasking. And this coming from an iOS fan. (nothing against androids, I like them too, I just like iOS better) Like Fatalysm said, not trying to make this into a debate.

 

 

It looks great. I just hope the 4s can handle it. (My ipod touch 4g can't handle iOS 6, so I'm stuck with a laggy as hell ipod touch. It's the only reason I am afraid to update my iPhone 4s to iOS 6.

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^Why you should get Android

 

WARING: It's a half-joke, don't start an iOS vs Android flame war please.

 

 

 

Honestly I'm a little disappointed by Apple. There is so much cool stuff they could have done with the new interface but they stuck largely with the old one. I mean, it's functional but I hate the icon-only screens with a passion. It's bland and could be much better. It looks nice and all but, well, sigh.

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