Apple Releases iOS 7: More 'Dynamic'

NBC among programmers taking advantage of enhancements in overhaul of software for iPads and iPhones

Entertainment execs are betting that Apple’s iOS 7 operating system, which the company pushed live on Wednesday, will deliver a more visually streamlined experience — and provide an even better way to watch TV content on mobile devices.

The iOS 7 update, which Apple claims is the biggest revamp to the platform since the iPhone’s 2007 debut, includes some 200 feature enhancements. The most obvious change is an overhauled, less-cluttered design that has refined typography, a new color palette and a translucent interface to see “layers” underneath open apps.

NBC, for one, timed a major relaunch of its video app with the Apple software update. Rob Hayes, executive VP of digital for NBC Entertainment, said iOS 7 offers a “dynamic” new experience for video viewing.

“It’s really about putting the content first,” he said. With iOS 7, “it’s very simple to view an episode, with just one click.”

NBC’s redesigned app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, published Wednesday, features an animated user interface that focuses on full-episode video content. In addition, the design of the new NBC app will be the foundation for the Peacock’s TV Everywhere offering, which is slated to launch in 2014 through yet-unannounced cable, satellite and telco TV partners both in and out of the home. (NBC execs discussed plans for a TVE launch next year at the network’s May upfront.)

With version 2.0 of the NBC app, the Peacock is adding access to full eps of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” as well as “Days of Our Lives.” Users also will be able to watch pilots of two new fall shows, “Ironside” and “Welcome to the Family,” along with eps of other NBC dramas and comedies.

The more elegant iOS 7 interface should certainly boost engagement with apps via its “modern design” and enhanced user experience, said Rich Riley, CEO of Shazam Entertainment. The new operating system provides Shazam’s app a way to automatically update info for TV shows and music a user is watching or listening to, and the company is working on new features to take advantage of iOS 7, he said.

Additional features in iOS 7 include improved multitasking, better photo navigation and filtering, and iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service similar to Pandora. The new Control Center provides access to controls and apps with a swipe up from any screen, including the Lock screen, plus a notification center.

To date, Apple has shipped about 700 million iOS devices, including more than 380 million iPhones.

The company’s new iPhone 5s and 5c models will go on sale Sept. 20 at 8 a.m. local time in the U.S., the U.K., China, and eight other countries. Wall Street punished Apple’s stock following the iPhone announcement last week, as investors expected lower-priced devices that would fuel sales in emerging countries.

The iOS 7 update is available on the new iPhone 5 models, as well as iPhone 4 and 4S, iPad 2 and iPad with Retina display, and the latest-generation iPod.

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