One of the best things about Apple Inc's latest smartphones, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, is the slick new iOS 7 software that runs the devices. But that souped-up operating system could end up hurting sales because the free software upgrade will also work on iPhones released since 2010, giving owners of the older models less incentive to buy Apple's newest products.
Perhaps unwittingly, even Apple Inc's software boss Craig Federighi alluded to this potential problem while he was bragging about iOS 7 at the company's unveiling of its new phones Tuesday. He predicted that anyone who elects to upgrade the software will feel ''like they're getting an all-new device.''
I understood what Federighi meant once I was able to see the iOS 7's improvements in action on Apple Inc's two new iPhones, the 5C and the 5S. Although Apple announced iOS 7 at a conference three months ago, Tuesday marked the first time the company allowed reporters to experience the software hands-on.
Although the iPhone 5C price is less than its predecessor, the iPhone 5, iOS 7 almost made it look fancier than previous generations. As an iPhone 5 owner, I was feeling a bit envious until I remembered that I'll be able to spiff up my device, too, when the software is released on Sept. 18. The operating system will work on the iPhone 4 and later models, iPad 2s and subsequent versions, and the iPod Touch that came out late last year.
iOS 7 looks much different than previous versions of the operating system because it no longer displays iPhone apps as three-dimensional, embossed objects meant to mirror their real-world counterparts. The icons instead are flatter and more colorful.
Any significant change in design typically upsets users familiar with the old way of doing things, but I suspect the complaints about iOS 7 will be muted unless there are some terrible bugs in the software that weren't evident during the brief time that I was given to experiment.
I am fairly certain most people who download iOS 7 are going to be pleased. The software makes it easier to navigate around an iPhone and adds some compelling new features.
The additions include the ability to stream music through an advertising-supported service called iTunes Radio and five free apps that used to cost consumers anywhere from 99 cents to $4.99 apiece. The free apps are Apple Inc's