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Apple Unveils iOS 7, iTunes Radio

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By Patrick May

This significant software design should give Apple fans three new things: more power, more battery life, and less navigational “friction” as they continue to incorporate mobile devices in their daily lives.

“This transition from iOS 6 to 7 is quite significant in terms of creating a brand new user interface,” said analyst Ben Bajarin with Creative Strategies. “This is a fundamental rethink of design and functionality and it’s much more consumer-friendly. It’s a great foundation for Apple to build upon.”

On stage, Apple executives said much the same thing with their trademark greatest-show-on-earth enthusiasm. Beginning with the opening video, in which Apple creative guru Jony Ive provided a voice-over homage to making products more simple and elegant, the presentation was filled with Cook’s pronouncements of how much users will love iOS 7, which is set to be released in the fall.

And judging by the repeated peals of applause from the developers, they may be right. The audience reaction to features in both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, the new operating system for the Mac coming this fall, was strong. Siri, the voice-activated digital assistant, will be even smarter, the company said, and sport a much more human-sounding voice. Call up the North Pole on the iPhone’s weather app, and you’ll see falling snow in the background. The camera will now switch from video to still to panoramic mode simply with the swipe of a finger.

In one of the more widely expected announcements, Apple’s senior vice president Eddy Cue unveiled the company’s new music-streaming service called iTunes Radio. The service, which will compete with similar services from Pandora, Spotify and Google, will be free to users but ad-supported. An ad-free version will be available to iTunes Match subscribers who pay an annual fee of $24.99.

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