The cleaner look of iOS 7 includes translucent backgrounds, a new palette of colors, redesigned icons and an update to Siri.
Calling it the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone, Apple’s Tim Cook and other execs previewed the new version of the operating system for Apple’s devices at its WWDC developer conference today.
“Your email is gorgeous, your friends never looked more attractive and even apps like stocks and compass have a look of precision and purpose,” said Apple’s Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering.
There are other practical touches of the redesigned, reengineered iOS 7. Federighi said iOS users will finally be able to multitask across all apps, a deficiency competitors have criticized. Just double click on the home button. and swipe across the screen to multitask or access different apps.
Also, apps downloaded from the App Store will now be automatically updated in iOS 7 instead of making users manually click through to update.
(App discovery and monetization will be among the major topics at the Tablet Ecosystem conference in San Francisco on September 12)
The company’s legendary Senior VP of Design, Jony Ive, said the goal was to bring simplicity to complexity. “In many ways we’ve tried to create an interface that is unobtrusive and deferential,” said Ive in a video message to the WWDC audience.
Siri also has new features in iOS 7, including a new female and optional male voice. Apple also said iOS with Siri will be integrated into cars as a hands free system for such things as making phone calls, directions and finding music to play.
New Mac hardware, iWork to the cloud
The company did have plenty of hardware news including a sneak peak at a new version of the high end MacPro desktop. It also previewed a new version of its iWork productivity suite that’s integrated with the company’s iCloud service.
As a result, iWork (Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps) can be accessed from any device, including PCs and Macs using an Internet browser. In a demo, Apple’s Roger Rosner edited a Microsoft Word document on a Windows 8 PC running iWork in Google’s Chrome browser.
“We’ve passed over 300 million iCloud accounts,” said Cook. He said users have reached out to content via iCloud over 35 billion times from a variety of devices.