SAN FRANCISCO — Apple wants to show the world it has not lost the ability to innovate.
The company Monday introduced a major redesign of iOS, its mobile software system, as well as upgrades for some of its Mac computers.
It also unveiled a new online music service for its music player iTunes.
The new service, called iTunes Radio, allows users to create their own stations by typing in an artist name; the feature finds and streams music that is similar to that artist’s. The service is free and supported by advertisements, Apple said.
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Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, called the new mobile operating system, iOS 7, the “biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.”
The new operating system is the first mobile software system made under the company’s lead hardware designer, Jony Ive.
He was put in charge of software interface design after the company fired Scott Forstall, the former head of mobile software development, amid the flurry of negative news reports surrounding Apple’s new mapping software.
The design introduces thin typography and a new color palette. The keys on the keyboard look simple, with gray letters on flat, white backgrounds.
And Apple has removed textures that made some apps mimic real-life objects. The Calendar app has shed its fake leather, the Game Center app no longer has green felt, and the shelves in the iBookstore app are no longer wood-grained.
“We have always thought of design of being so much more than the way something looks,” Ive said in a video demonstrating the operating system. “It’s the whole thing, the way something actually works on so many different levels.”
A new iOS feature, called Activation Lock, disables the iPhone even when a thief turns it off or erases the data on the phone. It appears to be the “remote kill switch” that the police have been demanding.
Siri, the voice of the iPhone, now can be either a female or a male voice. It sounds more realistic and can respond to more commands.
While the iPhone is driving Apple’s business, the company is not lifting the gas pedal on its Macs.
The company unveiled a major upgrade for the Mac Pro, its desktop computer for professionals, which, it said, will be assembled in the United States.
The computer, due for release later this year, looks like a metal cylinder — a dramatic change from the original rectangular tower. This was the first big upgrade for the desktop in three years.
It also unveiled new MacBook Airs, which it said would have enough battery life to last all day. The 11-inch version has nine hours of battery life and the 13-inch version has 12 hours, according to Phil Schiller, vice president of marketing at Apple. Both versions start shipping immediately.
Apple also previewed its next Mac operating system, called OS X Mavericks. (The name is the first in a new theme, California, for Apple’s operating systems after years of naming them after big cats. Mavericks is a reference to a major surf spot in California.)
The new system includes some minor improvements to the operating system, like the ability to tag documents to be able to find them more easily. An urgent document can be tagged “Important,” for example, and can be quickly found in the operating system’s navigation window in a section labeled Important.
The announcements, on the first day of Apple’s annual conference for software developers, come as the company is under intense pressure from investors. Its stock has fallen to close to $450 after peaking at about $700 in September, amid concerns that the company’s growth is slowing.
At the same time, one of Apple’s chief competitors, Samsung Electronics, has risen as a potent challenger. Over the past two years, it has released several compelling smartphones and tablets. And Google has gradually bulked up the Android software running on Samsung’s phones with powerful Internet services.
Apple is, by some measures, still leading the mobile industry. The iPhone 5 is the best-selling smartphone in the world.
Samsung Electronics sells the most phones overall because it sells a number of smartphones at different sizes and prices, whereas Apple has released one new iPhone a year.