Apple OS gets new look

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Like some digital perpetual motion device, Apple's continuous reinvention of its products continues apace. It's either motivated by a restless desire to stay at the cutting edge of technology or by a ruthlessly cynical requirement to make its slavish customer base shell out for the slightest tweaks to their igadgets on an annual basis. You decide.

The latest must-have upgrade is a new look for the operating system. It moves away from the comforting familiarity of Apple's use of natural textures like leather or wood. To put it in Apple fanboy terms, skeumorphism is just so 2012, loser.

Design chief Jony Ive (the sleeker, smoothed-down designer version of Sir Jonathan Ive, although we would have preferred the funkier jOny iVe) oversaw the iOS7 redesign. He might be a whizz with the aesthetics but words are not his medium. He blandly described the supposed improvements as "cleaner", allowing users to "elevate" their content.

Apple's senior vice-president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi cracked what passed for a joke in tech circles. "We just completely ran out of green felt," he said. "This has got to be good for the environment."

Forums will obviously be ablaze with debate about the new look, with conservatives suggesting it is the end of the classic Apple era and early adopters claiming it is yet another great leap forward for Apple products. Telecoms consultant Jan Dawson told the BBC as much: "Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness," Dawson said. "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."

And let's face it, Apple can afford the research costs. Their policy of minimising their global tax burden leaves them sitting on huge coffers of spare cash.

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