An iPhone with iOS 7 software displays the new look of the Control Center.

London - It was ushered in with all the fanfare and slick advertising that customers expect from Apple.

But the US firm faced embarrassment on Thursday after thousands of customers struggled to download its new operating system for iPhones and iPads.

Apple claims the iOS7 software is so advanced, it effectively turns existing iPhones and iPads into new devices.

However, many of those who tried to download it simply received an error message.

Twitter and other social networking sites were deluged with angry comments and images.

The issue is a humiliation for Apple, which has become one of the world’s richest firms by integrating its gadgets and software seamlessly.

The new software was supposed to show that it can still innovate and amaze customers after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs two years ago.

Its domination of the smartphone market has also come under threat from Samsung’s successful Galaxy phones. On Thursday night, the software problems became a hot topic on Twitter. One user said: “Guess I’m not the only one getting an Error message trying to Download iOS7. Annoying.” Another posted an image of the error message and wrote: “Having a great time using iOS7.”

Others complained about messages telling them the download would take 11 hours to complete.

One woman tweeted: “43 minutes remaining to download iOS7 but now ten minutes later there is an error, and I have to upload it again with another two-hour wait.” The problems will be a blow to Apple’s British design chief, Sir Jonathan Ive, who developed the new look and feel of the operating system.

He introduced it as an “important new direction” at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco this year.

The new software means everything from email to the calendar, texts, phone keypad, photos and notes has changed, while the screen is also illuminated differently.

Apple said it will be easier to jump between apps and modifications to the camera software will change the way users take pictures and upload them to the internet.

The launch of iOS7, which will be downloaded to hundreds of millions of devices within days, coincides with the arrival of two new iPhones. - Daily Mail