updated 02:28 am EDT, Wed September 18, 2013
New release brings new game, new look to iCloud web portal
In the early hours of what promises to be a big day, Apple on Wednesday updated the look of its iCloud.com portal and the web app versions of Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders and Find My iPhone to utilize the new iOS 7 style, hours ahead of the update's formal launch. Users who sign in will also be greeted by beta releases of Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iCloud, being finalized for full release later this year. Finally, the highly-anticipated Infinity Blade III has turned up on the App Store ahead of the new iOS upgrade.
Immediately noticeable on the iCloud.com sign-in page is the softer, more colorful and slightly animated background. The revamped icons for the main features of the portal are matched in style as users enter each app.
The icons for the three iWork apps -- which first began limited beta testing in late August -- remain in the style of iOS 6, creating a slightly jarring effect but quickly put aside in favor of the new functionality that allows users to create, manage and tweak iWork and MS Office-compatible documents directly through the web browser -- suggesting a possible discontinuation of the desktop apps, or perhaps a complementary co-existence. There is no word on when the iCloud-base iWork web apps might exit beta.
While not directly tied to the new look of iOS 7, Chair Entertainment's Infinity Blade III received a surprise debut and demo at the iPhone rollout that preceded today's release of the iOS update. Optimized for the 64-bit architecture of the forthcoming iPhone 5s, the $7 game (which is 1.47GB in size) is now available on the App Store and is compatible with the iPhone 4 and later, the iPad 2 and later and the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touch, albeit running a somewhat-reduced 32-bit graphics set that continues to push the envelope of what is possible on a mobile phone as a gaming device.