The World Is Flat: Apple Unveils Drastic iOS Redesign at WWDC

Apple CEO Tim Cook called it 'the biggest change to the iOS since the iPhone.'

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013, in San Francisco, Calif. (Eric Risberg/AP)

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013, in San Francisco, Calif.

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Call it what you will – refining, rebranding, revamping – whatever it may do for the company, Apple announced a number of new updates and products to great fanfare during its keynote address Monday at it's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Faced with a slipping stock price and a growing public lethargy toward its products, Apple announced a drastic redesign to its mobile operating software, introduced its new Mac OS and debuted a powerful new desktop computer that wields a massive amount of power in a tiny amount of space.

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The new iteration of Apple's mobile platform, iOS7, is graphically distant from its predecessors. The overall design has been flattened and given a whole new color palate, with icons losing the skeuomorphic design of the past.

"This is the biggest change to the iOS since the iPhone," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

 

Along with the graphic overhaul are several distinct upgrades to programs that are included in the iOS platform. Safari has been given gesture-based navigation and the ability to perform searches straight from the address bar. Siri has been given new male and female voices and the ability to search Twitter, Wikipedia and Microsoft's search engine, Bing. Apple's App Store has been outfitted with a location-based app recommendation engine and automatic app updates, a feature that has recently been in the spotlight after Sen. John McCain complained of its absence when Cook testified on Capitol Hill last month.

Perhaps the biggest addition to iOS7 is iTunes Radio, a music service that borrows features from similar services like Spotify and Pandora. The service works through the system's stock music app, allowing users to stream music on-demand and create radio stations based on particular songs, artists, genres or albums. The service will be free and functional across all Apple products, but users can pay $25 for an ad-free version that comes with iTunes Match.

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i0S 7 will go into beta on the iPhone Monday and on the iPad next week, with a full launch expected in the fall.

Monday's biggest hardware announcement was the new Mac Pro, a desktop computer that will feature a massive upgrade in processing speed and power at just one-eighth the size of its predecessors.

The crowd marveled at the device as Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, debuted a stout black cylinder that drew comparisons to a big, shiny battery.

Schiller bragged that when used with external expansion, the Mac Pro will have 10 times the processing power of high-end laptops, and will support a 4K video display, which is four times the resolution of 1080p high definition video. Schiller also made a point to announce that the computer will be manufactured in the United States.

"Can't innovate any more, my ass," Schiller said to a raucous applause. "This is a machine unlike anything we've ever made inside and out."

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Schiller also announced a new line of MacBook Air laptop computers, complete with enhanced WiFi capabilities and a battery that will last 12 hours on a single charge. The new line of MacBooks went on sale at the conclusion of the keynote address.

Apple also unveiled its new computer operating system, Mac OS X Mavericks. Among the features of the new operating system are a customized tagging feature that allows users to organize a wide array of files, a multiple-display upgrade that will allow for better workflow across notebooks, tablets and AirPlay, and a reduction in power usage that Apple says will save battery life and enhance computer performance. A full version is expected to be released this fall.

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