By Ryan Kamauff
Apple held their annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference this week. Most of the internet is abuzz, everyone with an opinion of their own. They released details on new versions of OS X (now called Mavericks) and iOS 7. As well, the released new versions of their MacBook Airs, they released details on a completely re-designed Mac Pro. Apple’s new designs won’t be coming to every product. OS X 10.9 will come to most Apple products post 2007, and the new iOS 7 will fragment depending on your device (see this Gizmodo article, here).
New MacBook Airs
These were quite iterative updates. They incorporated the new Intel silicon, which will make both the 11″ and 13″ MBAs stronger contenders in the ultrabook field. Ultrabooks are becoming popular items for all types of users, and OEMs prefer them because the margins are much larger than lower priced machines. Apple has a good control of the Ultrabook market, and are solidifying their control with a quality refresh.
New Mac Pro
The new Mac Pro has an unreal design. It looks like a mix of a bullet cartridge, a trash can and a race car. The device also uses some neat engineering to look good but still maintain connectivity, and should be able to power a host of monitors (3 4k at least). However, the shape might be less than useful for some (it sure won’t stack well). This might be another situation where Apple has sacrificed function for form, to their detriment. It is a nice upgrade, though I believe fewer and fewer people need such beastly workstations (and most OEMs are finding this to be true).
Upgraded OS X to 10.9 “Mavericks”
Apple’s OS X will be available to most post-2007 Apple machines. It comes with improved battery life, some new applications, and improved performance. Two key applications that will be improved are Safari (their web browser) and their Maps capability. The Safari application is using a new engine, which should improve performance and memory usage. The Maps application will be tied deeply into Apple’s OS, enabling mapping integration into calendar and other applications as well. It seems that Apple is making a more unified platform of their “PC” experience, to keep users in Apple applications more and more.
A new vision of iOS (7)
Apple has completely re-designed their mobile operating system. Some key terms to describe it have been “flat,” or “flattened” and “with depth.” To be honest, the design matters very little to me. I was hoping iOS 7 would give something back to the power users, and I feel it has failed, though there are some neat improvements. One new feature, the “Control Center” allows users to swipe up to find it, it’s basically the quick settings from Android, just going up instead of down. I think this feature will be a nice addition, making it far easier to make those little changes you need. iOS 7 will add “full multi-tasking” (yeah, well, we’ll see) and battery improvements (which I believe). Apple added AirDrop, which will enable file-sharing across select devices.
The iTunes Radio capability was debuted to compete with Google’s Play Music streaming service, and the incumbents in the space; Pandora and Spotify. It is a streaming music application that is ad-free with an iTunes Match subscription, or ad-supported for the rest. iTunes Radio will be available across the breadth of Apple devices.
So anything fuss-worthy?
Most of the internet believes a re-design on a marginal device important (see Gizmodo’s article on the new Mac Pro here), but I do not. It is a niche device, with a niche group of users, and not worthy of much mention. The updates to iOS are important, the design just because it will change the way 200M plus interact with their phones. The other additions make iOS more robust, I still do not believe they have addressed the fact that Google’s apps are better, but new versions of Apple applications may trickle out.
One of the more interesting articles I’ve read about the event actually covers what Apple didn’t talk about, and it’s at Read Write Web, here. I’m especially sorry to see the iPod Touch fall by the wayside, because it is the best device for non-iOS types to get into the ecosystem.
And the fuss? Not much if you ask me. I guess they are holding out new iPads and iPhones for another event.