Apple unveils offerings

The new Apple iOS 7 features are displayed on screen  at Apple's  developers' conference in San...
The new Apple iOS 7 features are displayed on screen at Apple's developers' conference in San Francisco yesterday. Photo by Reueters.

Apple moved the competitive nature of the technology market up a notch yesterday with a much anticipated release of new products, which quickly won approval on the blogosphere.

The company unveiled a music streaming service called iTunes Radio and new mobile software in the largest redesign of its operating system since the original iPhone was introduced in 2007.

The new iOS 7 software was announced at Apple's annual developers' conference in San Francisco and included a streamlined design along with featured animation in apps.

The new MacBook Air is touted as having an all-day battery life with Intel Core processors that will give faster graphics, Wi-Fi and flash storage that is up to 45% faster than the previous generation.

''MacBook Air is the industry leader for thin and light notebooks and now with longer battery life, we've set the bar even higher,'' Apple senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller said in a statement.

With faster flash, more powerful graphics and up to 12 hours' battery life, the new MacBook Air packed even more performance into the portable and durable design loved by customers, he said.

The new MacBook Air is available in New Zealand from today and ranges in price from $1449 to $1899.

Apple senior vice-president of software engineering Craig Federighi said to create the new iOS 7 operating system, Apple brought together a team with a broad range of expertise from design to engineering.

The iOS 7 was completely redesigned with a new user interface, but one that would be familiar to the users of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch around the world. The new interface made the phone appear larger because everything was designed to take advantage of the whole screen, he said.

Control Centre allows users to access controls quickly from one place. With a swipe along the bottom of the screen, users have access to controls for flight mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ''do not disturb''.

Siri now has new male and female voices and includes Twitter search integration. Siri also uses the Bing web search within the app and has the ability to change device settings and playback voicemail.

Smartphone thieves are set to have a harder time after Apple introduces an ''activation lock'' feature in its new mobile software, a move that comes amid pressure from authorities and consumers for companies to do more to stem a tide of smartphone theft.

The new feature will require a legitimate owner's ID and password before an iPhone can be wiped clean or reactivated after being remotely erased.

The iOS 7 is available as a free software update for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2. It will also be available for the iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation) in New Zealand's spring.

The new Mac Pro desktop was also on display at the Apple event. The latest Macs will run off a new computer operating system called OSX Mavericks - named after a famous California surfing spot in a departure from Apple's liking for naming software after big cats such as Mountain Lion.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has been under pressure to show that the company that created the smartphone and tablet markets is not slowing down as large competitors such as Samsung and Google encroach on its market.

Investors worry whether Apple will be able to come up with more ground-breaking products as the smartphone and tablet markets get more crowded. In April, Apple reported its first quarterly profit fall in more than a decade.

Apple's share price has fallen 37% after reaching a high of $US705 ($NZ893) in September. The stock dipped less than 1% yesterday to close at $US438.89.

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