By now all the news that came out of yesterday’s Apple Keynote at the WorldWide Developer’s Conference has been analyzed, explained and posted about. Most of us here watched the livestream or read the liveblogs as it happened, because Keynote day is one of the most exciting days of the year for Apple fans. We’ll link here to some of the news sources out there for folks who want more in depth news, but we thought we’d give you a quick overview of what’s been released and what’s down the pipeline.
Ever since the death of Steve Jobs, critics of Apple (and some fans) have been wondering if Apple could reach the level of innovation it achieved under his watch. And with the dominance of iPads and iPhones in the mobile market, it seemed as though there was a bullseye taped to Apple’s back — every piece of news out of suppliers or rumored change to their lineup was reported as a negative. This even sometimes occurred when largely positive news was released, to the bafflement of many Apple fans.
Watching the keynote, you got the sense that Tim Cook & the engineers and designers have been waiting to address their critics with some fairly big changes (and some fairly small ones). Let’s start with the big ones.
For power users (designers, programmers, photographers, musicians), the Mac Pro desktop has always been the machine of choice. Because they are a fairly small segment of the market, the Pro has been waiting for an update for quite a while — and Apple’s been promising something amazing to their (growing im)patient users. They gave us a preview yesterday, and it is certainly attention grabbing. It’s in the shape of cylinder — much smaller than the older, behemoth models. With such a strange design, people are divided on hate/love, and pricing and more details won’t be available for a while yet, but it’s a sign that Apple’s still willing to take risks. The specs, of course, have received a hefty boost, including Thunderbolt 2 i/o, SSDs, and support for the new 4k monitors that have begun to surface. To read more from Apple, click here.
We also got the long awaited preview for iOS 7, the operating system that your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch runs. In the months leading up to WWDC, it was widely rumored that we were going to see a more “flat” design (meaning a removal of all those skeumorphic elements that apps like iBooks and Game Center flaunted). What we got was indeed free of skeumorphic effects (“we ran out of green felt,”) but had added depth with moving wallpapers. They’ve also redesigned the function of the OS — things like granting access to wifi, sound and brightness settings with one gesture instead of multiple taps, and a better organization scheme for your photos. They even added in filters to the photo app, a nod to the continued popularity of programs like instagram. iOS 7 will be available in the fall, and you can see a more indepth preview (including a number of other changes and improvements) here.
To go along with the mobile operating system changes, the computers are also getting a new OS. Having come to the end of a long run of big cat names, Apple’s moving towards California based names for new updates, and thus introduced us to OS X: Mavericks. Just like on iOS, skeumorphic elements disappeared, giving specific apps a cleaner interface. iBooks and Maps are also getting dedicated computer applications that will play well with your iDevice. Notification Center is getting some nice updates — including a “while you were away” display that shows you everything you missed while your computer was asleep. You can also now have “finder tabs” — keeping your desktop clutter free by letting you consolidate multiple finder windows into one tabbed window, similar to Safari. You can also now tag your files, making it easier to sort and search for them. Perhaps the most welcome news for a lot of power users was multiple display improvements. If you’re using an external monitor or TV with your computer, it will now allow you to run full screen apps on both. You will now have access to your dock and menu bar items on both screens, including a mirrored display with an Apple TV. Mavericks will debut at some point this fall. To see more, and a ton more features and changes, click here.
Apple also announced another long rumored feature — iTunes Radio. It will run on your iDevice or computer, and seems to function similar to other streaming radio services. You can create a station based around an artist, genre or song you like, and as you listen and rate things the station tries to improve its offerings. It also pays attention to the music you purchase, giving you a more personalized selection. You can also listen to a number of pre-made stations, and it will work well with Twitter’s #music. It will have ads, although iTunes Match subscribers will get to skip them. It will also keep track of all the music you listened to, and allow you to buy it with a tap from within the station itself, making impulse purchases very easy. Like iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, we’ll see iTunes Radio at some point this fall. Apple’s got more here.
iWork in the Cloud was announced yesterday, as well. Designed to compete with Microsoft Office and Google Drive, it’s browser based versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote that allow you to edit, create and share documents. It will link up with your iCloud account, so you’ll have access to any documents created on your iOS device or your computer, and it will also allow you to import Office formatted documents as well.
The remaining announcement from yesterday was a boost to the MacBook Airs. The line of ultra light computers was given a processor refresh to Intel’s new Haswell line, which helped promote battery life — the laptops now boast up to 9 hours of battery life on the 11″ Air and 12 hours on the 13″. They also gained some memory. The 11″ computer now has a base hard drive of 128gb ($999) and an upgraded model at 256gb ($1199). The 13″ has the same capacities, and they’ve dropped the price a bit — the 128gb version is now $1099 and the 256gb is $1299. They also support a new range of wireless technology, 802.11 ac. Apple announced new Airport Extreme and Time Capsule routers to provide that wireless strength too, of course. Read more about the improvements here.
For more indepth analysis of the changes, we recommend visiting any of the following sites: