SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – Apple announced a digital radio service, new MacBook laptops and updates to its operating systems for Mac and mobile devices Monday.
The announcements came at the company’s annual conference for software developers in San Francisco.
Among the highlights: Apple showed off a simplified look on iPhones and iPads. It is the most radical design change since the iPhone made its debut in 2007. It’s part of iOS 7, the new operating system for mobile devices.
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The new operating system strives for a clean, simple, translucent impression. Apple is redesigning all its applications and icons to conform to the new look, driven by long-time hardware design chief Jony Ive.
The new design direction was widely expected and will show up on iPhones, iPad and iPod Touches this fall, the company said.
The software uses simple graphical elements in neon and pastel colors. Gone is the effort to make the icons looks like three-dimensional, embossed objects. Interface designers call the new guiding principle “flat,” but on the iPhone’s main screen, the background image will move subtly with the movement of the device, creating an illusion of depth. Other screens include plenty of white space.
The software has “a whole new structure that is coherent and is applied across the entire system,” Ive said in a recorded presentation. “The design recedes, and in doing so, elevates your content.”
That system will also come with a new radio service, iTunes Radio. In the past, Apple has sold songs and albums one by one. With iTunes Radio, people will get a continuous feed of music chosen by the service based on what they’ve listened to and what they’ve purchased on iTunes.
Apple said iTunes Radio will be available this fall in the U.S. It will be free with advertisements included, although subscribers of Apple’s iTunes Match music-storage service will get a commercial-free version of iTunes Radio. That service costs $25 a year.
In unveiling the long-expected service, Apple enters a crowded field. Google Inc. started an on-demand subscription music service called All Access last month. Other leading services include Spotify, Rhapsody and Pandora.
Apple was a pioneer of online music sales and is still a leader there, but streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify have emerged as popular alternatives to buying.
Monday’s two-hour keynote kicked off Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which goes through Friday.
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