As you might have known, Apple is one of the biggest names in tech and even gaming right now. As such, their WWDC conference is one of the biggest events of the year for all of technology.
Apple certainly has a lot to prove at this year’s WWDC. Many have been saying that Google and Microsoft has been running away with the crown while iOS remained stagnant and stale. And while WWDC is more than just about iOS, this show’s show pony was definitely iOS.
But before we get to the anchor of the show, let’s take a little look at everything else:
Mac OS X Mavericks
Mac OS X has been the most successful operating system in recent years. Over one-third of all of the Macs have the latest version of OS X installed on them. And with twenty-eight million copies of OS X Mountain Lion sold, Apple followed up with their latest desktop OS release: OS X Mavericks.
The name is derived from where all Apple products start: California. From there, they sprinkled some long-awaited features and even some unexpected ones to create the latest version of the OS for the newest generation of Macs. Some of these features include a brand new UI for most of the stock applications. They’ve done away with most of the skeumorphic elements in the applications, and instead, they’ve opted for a more modern and clean look. Other than a new coat of paint, we have Finder Tabs, which is a great to manage all of your files within Finder, and easily drag and drop files into specific sects within Finder; Tags, which let us, well, tag documents so that they can all stay together within specific user-defined keywords; Multiple Display, which lets users control up-to three (confirmed) desktops along three different displays; better notifications that let you reply instantly to iMessages and email from the notification pop-up; Apple Maps for Mac, which brings Flyover, 3D maps, and all of the info cards from the iOS version; and finally, iBooks for Mac.
To top all of that, one of the biggest improvements to OS X is the way the system handles battery. Great lengths were taken to make sure that the efficient computer you already have becomes even more efficient. OS X adopts iOS-like app stand-bye modes for some apps that are not the foreground applications, saving precious recourses for applications that need it most.
MacBook Air and Mac Pro
The MacBook Airs gain a new Haswell ULV CPU, which boasts 2x GPU performance and amazing battery performance. Apple claims that the new MacBook Airs will get an outstanding 9 hours of battery out of the 11-inch Air and an even more impressive 12-hour battery cycle from the 13-inch model. These numbers are just not heard of in laptops. The CPU output is said to remain about the same as Ivy bridge chips, but I don’t think anybody is complaining with battery life like that. New faster Wi-Fi and Flash storage complete the MacBook Air’s story. It it available to purchase today, so hop on that if you’re interested; the prices start at $999 for the 11-inch and $1099 for the 13-inch.
While the MacBook Air was a good appetizer, the Mac Pro was the main course, but it was the smallest main course we’d ever seen from Apple. The new Mac Pro is one-eight the size of the outgoing Mac Pro. This new little trash can-shaped object houses an expansive desktop top, built around a thermal core. Sounds cool, right? This new Mac Pro has the new Xeon E5 12-core CPU, boosting the computational power to 2x what the old dual-X5650 CPUs did. That’s crazy.
But it doesn’t stop there; the new Mac Pro is also the first Mac Pro to ship with dual GPUs. It’ll launch with two AMD Radeon FirePro GPUs with up to 6GB of video memory. The thing also has all of the I/O you’d expect. Oh wait, you probably didn’t expect the computer to come with six Thunderbolt 2.0 ports, huh? Thunderbolt is even faster than Thunderbolt 1, and up to thirty-six devices can be daisy chained from these six ports. This is a pro computer. The Mac Pro will also be assembled in this here U.S.A. No word on pricing, but this miniature behemoth will launch during Fall.
iWork in iCloud
I don’t think many people were asking for it, but Apple has made a version of iWork for Windows 8. Okay, it’s not really a Windows 8 version of the application suite, but what it is is a cloud-based option to access, create and edit all of your documents and slideshow presentations on almost any Mac or PC. Many of the same templates and features from the Mac and iOS versions of the applications are available in this iCloud version. While it wasn’t announced if this version of iWork will cost anything, it’s expected to be a few add-on to those who are familiar to iWork on other Apple platforms. iWork for iCloud will come out later this year for Safari for Windows, Chrome, and Internet Explorer 10.
After the iWork software intermission, Apple‘s presentation jolted right into iOS 7. Just about everything about iOS has been changed, but in an unbelievably familiar way. The most prominent change from iOS 6 is the UI. Apple had been a long-time supporter of skeumorphic design, but with the post-PC era in full swing, most people know how to use these new mobile devices.
Because of that, Senior iOS software designer, Jony Ive, took a different approach to iOS 7. The look is a lot more flat, but with a good sense of depth. The dark grey linen, the green felt, the faux leather are all gone and instead we have bright poppy color contrasted with white and transparent backgrounds. The OS agrees with real physics too. One of the demoes Craig Federighi showed displayed how tilting the phone one way of the other from the lock-screen let the user peek into different corners of the lock-screen image. On the surface, it doesn’t appear to have a true purpose other than looking really cool; however, Jony Ive made a point in that everything in iOS was meant to give the user a greater sense of placement within the OS.
Along with the design change, iOS has been overhauled like crazy by the Cupertino kids. iOS 7 brings “real” multitasking support to iOS for the first time ever. Yes, no longer will your phone only update unless you hit refresh; your phone will automatically detect which applications you deem important by usage and will respond accordingly by giving that application the right to stay open. From what I can tell, app suspension is still a big part of the OS, but most used applications will remain open in the background. And a UI for app-switching frames the multitasking story for iOS 7.
And many people asked for them: quick settings are finally in iOS. with a simple swipe up from anywhere in the OS, the user can change specific settings. Have you ever wanted to lower the brightness of you display while you’re texting in your 7:00PM anthropology course? Well, you no longer have to go in the settings app. In fact, if you needed to access bluetooth, Wi-Fi, music controls, airplane mode, Do Not Disturb, flashlight, compass, calculator, or camera, you can now do it all from one swipe up. All of these features can be accessed in Control Center
Control Center lets you manage your settings, but AirDrop lets you manage how you distribute your files to other iOS users. AirDrop uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to wirelessly send your photos, videos, and documents people around you with the click of the share button. Apple made it a point to note the ridiculousness of having to touch backs of devices together to send these files. Are we going to see more smack talk going forward? I think so. Let’s see what the next Samsung ad has to say about AirDrop.
From send encrypted files of data to a friend or associate to sending and receiving bits of data from the whole wide interweb, Apple has you covered. Apple updated Safari for iPhone with a new full-screen view, a new tab view, and many, many more features from the desktop version of Safari, like iCloud keychain, which is a system-side tool that keeps track of all of your passwords and credit card numbers so the process of accessing a profile of yours or committing to a purchase that much easier. Purchases using a credit card will still require the user to type in the security code, so don’t fret just yet.
To conclude the event, Apple talked about iTunes Radio, a new ad-based internet radio service that’s delivered directly to you from the freshly painted music application. It does a lot of what other internet radio services do except that it’s Apple. The main grab here, though, is that if you are a subscriber to iTunes Match, you get iTunes Radio completely ad-free, and considering that iTunes Match is a pretty solid deal to begin with, iTunes Radio is just adding a whole lot more value.
All in all, Apple’s WWDC 2013 conference was a smashing success. Apple showed us what the future of iOS will look like and what kind of thinking we can come to expect from one of the biggest technology companies in the world. And to think that last year everybody was calling the time of death of Apple. Seems only fitting that they would rise again. For even more details that what I mentioned, head over to Apple.com to see what Apple has cooked up for yourself.