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Apple to launch iOS 7 for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch on Wednesday, Sept. 18

Apple's next-generation mobile operating system, iOS 7, will become available to download for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users next Wednesday, Sept. 18, the company announced.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple, announced the official launch date as part of his company's iPhone event keynote. The presentation was made at the company's Cupertino, Calif., campus.

iOS 7 will be available for iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 4; fourth- and third-generation iPad, and iPad 2; as well as the fifth-generation iPod touch and newer. It will be a free download.

iOS 7 marks a major departure for Apple from previous versions of the operating system, sporting a new look and design that represents the biggest change to iOS since its debut in 2007. The new design aesthetic, which eschews the skeuomorphic look of previous versions of iOS, is said to be the brainchild of Apple design chief Jony Ive. After being named Senior Vice President of Design — a position that sees him heading up both hardware and software design — Ive brought Apple's hardware and software teams together with the goal of better integrating the two operations. The "flat" aesthetic of iOS 7 is one outgrowth of Ive's efforts.