Apple's iOS 7 available to consumers Sept. 10, developer email says


Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will roll out its overhauled iOS 7 mobile operating system to consumers on Sept. 10, according to an email sent to developer Owen Williams by Apple partner Nuance Communications, whose voice and natural language technologies power the platform's Siri intelligent assistant.

"As you are probably aware, iOS 7 GA [General Availability] will be released on September 10th," the Nuance email states. "[Nuance's] NDEV Program has pre-qualified that SpeechKit 1.4.5 works properly on iOS 7, but we encourage you to conduct your own testing to ensure that when the upgrade happens, your Nuance speech services continue to work seamlessly."

Siri, introduced in late 2011 in tandem with the iPhone 4S, enables users to employ natural spoken language to access and perform device tasks like mobile search, messaging and contacts. Apple has rarely relied on third-party companies for core software and services across its iOS and Mac platforms, but Nuance's contributions to Siri are one notable exception. The company confirmed its role as a Siri partner this spring.

The Sept. 10 date corresponds with a scheduled Apple media event where the computing giant is expected to unveil the latest edition of its iPhone. In an investors note released earlier this month, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster speculated the new iPhone 5S will introduce biometric fingerprint scanning features leveraging technologies acquired when Apple purchased digital security firm AuthenTec for $356 million in mid-2012. Rumors indicate Apple also will launch a low-cost iPhone priced around $300. Munster believes the device, reportedly dubbed the iPhone 5C, will not support signature iOS features and capabilities including Siri, which was not an option on the iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 upon launch. Apple has not announced specifics of the event.

Apple announced iOS 7 in June at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. The revamp signals the elimination of skeuomorphism, the longstanding iOS design aesthetic that leverages real-world images and metaphors like linen-textured backgrounds, wooden bookshelves and spiral-bound notebooks. iOS 7 also heralds the launch of multitasking for all apps, AirDrop wireless file sharing and the iTunes Radio streaming music service. Apple issued its most recent iOS 7 beta to registered iOS developers on Aug. 15.

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