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 redesign 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, in a continuation of efforts over the past year to wean itself off arch-rival Google's services such as maps, Apple's updated Siri voice software on the iPhone will turn to Microsoft Corp's less-popular Bing as its default in-app search engine.
Previously, Siri handled Web search queries by asking users if they would like to access Google, which dominates Internet searches. With iOS 7 however, users can still choose to ask specifically for Google results.
The latest Macs will run a new computer operating system christened OSX Mavericks - named after a famous California surfing spot and a departure from Apple's penchant for naming software after big cats like Mountain Lion. Continued...