Apple unveils music streaming service, revamps iOS
By Poornima Gupta and Edwin Chan
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc unveiled a music streaming service called iTunes Radio and new mobile software on Monday, in the biggest re-design of its operating system since the original iPhone was introduced in 2007.
The new software, designated iOS 7 and announced at Apple's annual developers' conference in San Francisco, sports a streamlined design, employs translucency and a fresh palette of colors, and features animation in apps.
Apple's iTunes Radio, one of the more highly anticipated features of the new iOS 7, comes free, supported by ads across many devices including iPhones, iPads and the Apple TV.
Much like rival Pandora Media Inc's Internet radio, the service - which launches in the fall, months after Google Inc's "All Access" on-demand competitor debuted - allows listeners to customize their own radio stations by genre, skip songs multiple times, or just tune in to some 200 featured stations.
Apple has been talking to record companies for the past year in hopes of getting the service off the ground, seen as crucial to retaining users as music consumption grows alongside smartphone use. It will also come free of ads for customers who subscribe to Match, another Apple music service.
Executives also showed off a new line of Macbook Air computers. They gave a sneak peek at a cylindrical Mac Pro desktop, in a rare preview of upcoming hardware, and said updated Siri voice software on the iPhone now incorporates Microsoft Corp's Bing search engine.
The latest Macs will run off a new computer operating system christened OSX Mavericks - named after a famous California surfing spot in a departure from Apple's penchant for naming software after big cats like Mountain Lion.
But the real makeover was reserved for iOS 7, a smartphone and tablet platform overhauled by resident creative honcho Jony Ive. It comes with a new edge-to-edge look that uses translucency to highlight underlying content, new typefaces, and new icons. Apple plans to release iOS 7 in the fall. Continued...