Apple outlines new vision for mobile devices

Apple has unveiled its iTunes Radio streaming service and an overhaul of its iPhone user interface to usher in what the company says is a “new beginning” for its services.

Apple is hoping its latest raft of announcements can help it gain market share from Samsung.

The tech giant revealed the updates (see box) at its annual developers’ conference in San Francisco yesterday evening (11 June).

Among those, were the debut of its long-expected Spotify-style iRadio music streaming service. The service will allow users to create personalised radio stations based on their iTunes library. It will be free with advertisements when it launches later this year, although subscribers of Apple’s iMatch music storage service will receive n ad-free free version.

Eddy Cue, senior vice president of internet software and services at Apple, says: “iTunes Radio is an incredible way to listen to personalised radio stations which have been created just for you. It’s the music you love most and the music you’re going to love, and you can easily buy it from the iTunes Store with just one click.”

It is hoped the move will help Apple retain users as music consumption shifts to online streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora. The launch will see the company go head-to-head with Google’s “All Access online music service, which launched last year.

Meanwhile, the company unveiled the latest update to its iPhone operating system which features new icons, new typfaces, new applications, multi-tasking for all apps and improved searchability. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, described the revamp as “the biggest change to iOS since the original iPhone was introduced”.

It is the first major update to be lead by Apple’s design boss Jonathan Ive following his promotion last October to lead the look and feel of the company’s software in addition to the look and feel of its hardware.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, says: “To create [iOS 7], we brought together a team with a broad range of expertise from design to engineering. With what we’ve been able to achieve together, we see iOS 7 as an exciting new beginning.”

It is hoped the move will re-establish Apple as an innovator after coming under increasing pressure from Samsung. The South Korean business stretched its lead over Apple in the smartphone market during the first three months of 2013.

What Apple revealed at its developers conference:

  • Mac Mavericks operating system – the company introduced a new operating system for its iBook and Mac lines which offers improved battery life, new applications and better power management.
  • Maps – the latest version of the company’s own map service features 3D maps and the ability to receive an estimated time of arrival for any address in a calendar event.
  • New lines for its Macbook Air and Mac Pro products.

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