The latest, most radical overhaul of Apple's mobile device operating system will be available for download next week.
The first version of the operating system designed by Jony Ive, the brains behind the physical look and feel of all Apple devices, iOS7 has been creating ripples of excitement among the Apple device-owning community since its initial beta build was showcased at the World Wide Developers Conference back in June.
Taking to the stage in the run-up to the unveiling of Apple's next-generation iPhone at a special launch event at its company headquarters, Apple’s head of software, Craig Federighi, ran through a host of new features that existing iPhone and iPad owners can look forward to when the new OS is available for download. Chief among these is a vastly improved version of Siri, the virtual concierge service. It has more convincing male and female voices but, more importantly can now search Twitter and Wikipedia as easily as it can do a simple Google search. Ask it what Lady Gaga’s been saying and up come her latest tweeted missives.
The latest version of iOS also offers some of the same contextual features found in Google Now, such as commute help so that users can avoid traffic jams and congested trains. However, with over 200 new features, including better photo albums, and a host of Instagram-esque camera filters, Federighi, whose onstage charisma puts many in mind of a young Steve Jobs, claimed there were too many to run through during the presentation.
However, existing iPhone and iPad owners will have to wait until September 18 when the latest version becomes available to download for free. The update will be compatible with the iPad 2 and later, iPhone 4 upwards and all fifth-generation iPod touch devices onwards.