Apple has unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system, saying iOS 7 is the most significant update since the original iPhone.
Apple claims iOS 7 is completely redesigned with a new user interface and a number of new features, including enhancements to multi-tasking, imaging, browsing, sharing and security.
“It’s about bringing order to complexity,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice-president of design.
“IOS 7 is a clear representation of these goals. It has a whole new structure that is coherent and applied across the entire system.”
The new operating system has been used to introduce iTunes Radio, a free internet radio service based on the music users listen to on iTunes.
IOS 7 also introduces Control Center, which brings all the controls users want to access quickly into one place.
A swipe from the bottom of a screen gives users access to controls for Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen controls and music controls.
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Control Center also provides access to apps such as Clock, Camera, Calculator and the Flashlight.
With iOS 7, notifications are now available from the Lock screen, enabling users to see all notifications with a swipe, including weather, traffic, meetings and events.
Security enhancements include iCloud Keychain, which is designed to store passwords and credit card information securely and make this available to users on all iOS devices.
While Apple’s announcement emphasised innovation, competitors and some analysts suggested it has done merely what it needs to do to keep up with the market.
Jyrki Rosenberg, vice-president of Nokia Entertainment, said: “We launched our streaming radio service in 2011. It’s interesting to see Apple react now and it seems they continue to play catch-up.
“Nokia Music will stay true to our mobile-first approach and continue to deliver an extremely simple, personalised and contextual way to discover and enjoy music on the go.”
Apple said the iOS 7 beta software and software development kit (SDK) are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com.
iOS 7 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and iPod touch fifth generation in autumn.