Apple's "most significant" update to its operating system has been met with a cautious reaction from industry onlookers.
At its Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC), the tech giant unveiled details of iOS 7, which is set to become available this autumn, along with a variety of other technical updates to its PC offering, including all-day battery life for its MacBook Air.
The new OS is said to be "almost unrecognisable", according to some sceptics, but Apple insists the new user interface (details in video below) is "stunning". IOS 7 will include new typograph, and a "more elegant" colour palette in order to achieve a simpler look, claimed the vendor.
New features such as a centralised control and notification centre, enhanced photo-organising options and new features for voice-recognition tool Siri will also be included, as well as iTunes radio – a free internet radio service playing tracks based on music users listen to on iTunes.
Apple claimed the offering marks an "exciting new beginning" for it, but analysts have given the new OS a lukewarm reception.
TechMarketView's Richard Holloway said Apple had to be careful when redesigning its OS to ensure it still recognises well-liked features.
"Apple seems to have been careful to produce a ‘fresh' design but one that is instantly recognisable and useable by Apple's legions of fans – something that Microsoft failed to do (at its cost) with Windows 8. [It] looks really slick and ‘minimalist' as you might expect from Ive [Apple's hardware designer Jonathan Ive]," he said.
"Although I cannot criticise any of these moves – they look really good – they do not exactly get me excited. I used to look forward to Apple announcements in much the same way as a rock gig. That anticipation seems long gone."
Ovum's chief telecoms analyst Jan Dawson said such a different user experience can polarise customers.
"Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness," she added.
"Finding your Settings app is hard when the icon has totally changed, and the many people who easily get disoriented by their gadgets may well have a negative experience. On the other hand, this is a clear statement from Apple that it acknowledges the need to refresh the user interface and is willing to do something pretty dramatic.
"Many of the new features Apple added to iOS 7 are fixes to problems rather than dramatic or clever new ideas.
"The fact that... iOS 7 is not coming until the fall is a disappointment from a user perspective, but the delay is necessary to give developers time to rework their apps to take advantage of the new OS and fit in visually."
A summary of what you get if you subscribe to our premium market intelligence service
Matthew Polly says CrowdStrike is looking to branch out from the UK and into mainland Europe
Southampton-based VAR states that further acquisitions are in the pipeline
With UKFast launching a public cloud consultancy, Tom Wright asks if this is the way forward for all local hosting providers