Monday, June 10, 2013

New Macs, OS X Mavericks, iTunes Radio, and yes -- iOS 7 -- light up WWDC 2013

On Monday, those wanting to see what iOS 7 and iRadio included had to wait, and wait, and wait. Apple had a number of other announcements to make before getting to what many called the "meat and potatoes" of the company.

First in Apple's typical (let's be honest, every company's typical) glad-handing introduction, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company now hosts over 575 million accounts on its App Store. There are currently over 900,000 apps available to customers, and Apple has paid more than $10 billion out to developers.

Next up, was the new version of OS X. Apple has apparently run out of big cat nicknames: The Mountain Lion sequel moves from big cats to surfing:: Mavericks, which pays homage to the famous surfing spot.

Apple then talked about its computers -- meaning OS X powered computers, not tablet computers. The company said that new MacBook Airs are shipping immediately with "all-day battery life" for the 13-inch model. The 11-inch model goes from 5 hours of battery life to 9 hours of battery life. The 13-inch version goes from 7 hours to 12 hours.

Next up was Mac Pro. Apple SVP of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller said that the new Mac Pro has double the CPU performance of the last version, with the fastest RAM Apple has ever used, and all solid-state-based storage.

Addressing some who say that Apple has jumped the shark, Schiller then said: "Can't innovate any more, my *ss." As was expected, the Mac Pro will be designed and built in the USA.

Next was iWork in iCloud. Interestingly enough, iWork in iCloud will work on Windows, as well as Mac OS X. Indeed, it worked on both Internet Explorer and Chrome. iCloud for iWorks will be available in a developer preview immediately, expanding to all users “later this year.”

The next WWDC topic was the one that everyone was waiting for: iOS.

Apple CEO Tim Cook first took shots at Android:
  • He recapped a recent Experian study, showing that iPhone users use their phones 50 percent more than Android users.
  • On Black Friday, as has previously been reported, iPhone users purchased more on their devices than users of all Android devices combined.
  • According to a recent J.D Power study, customer Satisfaction on iOS is at 97 percent, with 73 percent of users considering themselves “very satisfied."
Cook then really hammered Android. “The most popular OS in the world is iOS. The second? A version of Android that was released in 2010 (meaning Gingerbread, or Android 2.3).”

Cook then announced iOS 7, which he says is "the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone. That is pretty telling, and a video showed off Jony Ive and the changes to the software.

The lockscreen has been entirely redone. Instead of a slider bar, there is now a fullscreen image with a “Slide Up To Unlock” prompt.

As has been rumored, every built-in iOS 7 app has been overhauled with Ive's new flat design theory. As Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering said: “Look at Game Center! We ran out of green felt.”

According to Apple, one big change was in multitasking. While Apple opened up multitasking to "select apps" in iOS 4, in iOS 7, Federighi said, all apps have multitasking now. As an example:
So how does it work? Imagine you have an app that you use for ... I don’t know, social networking. You’re checking it all day. iOS 7 notices, and gives it more background cycles.
AirDrop is the "easiest way to share" pictures with anyone nearby.

Built into the “Share” sheet, the same way you’d previously send something to Mail or some other app. Federighi said,
Your nearby friends just show up here. Tap them, and your content is shared ... There’s no need to walk around the room, you know, bumping phones (a jab at what else, Android).
iOS 7's Photo app intelligently and automatically organizes images into “Moments," which break up the endlessly-scrolling list that you’re probably used to on iOS and Android. “Moments” are determined by day, or location, and as Federighi said, you can scroll out all the way to the year level.

Federighi then introduced Eddy Cue, who is Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and
Services. He addressed the changes to Siri, including different voices (not a huge selling point) and more functionality including Twitter, web search results from Bing inside Siri, and integration.

Next, Cue addressed iOS in the car. iOS could -- assuming that car manufacturers go along with it -- be integrated into the in-car control systems that already exist in many higher-level cars. Cue showed off a huge quantity of manufacturers who are promising iOS in the car. While he covered this rather quickly, we even saw Kia among those you might expect (like Mercedes).

Finally: the App Store will now update apps automatically, something that Android has done for some time. It's not the first time that Apple has copied something from Android; the Notification Center is a take on Android's notifications.

Cue then began speaking about the changes in iTunes and iCloud, but then -- since this was Eddy Cue, we expected this -- addressed the streaming service we'd been expecting Apple to announce. It was -- no, not iRadio -- iTunes Radio. Most had been expecting the service to be called iRadio because of its simplicity and because it just sounded cool. However, we expect there were some licensing and trademark issues involved.

Cue went to a demo, and it was clear that this is a Pandora clone, based on the demonstration. It's free with ads, but if you are an iTunes Match subscriber it is ad-free. The service begins in the U.S., with more countries to follow (again, as expected).

Federighi came back, and addressed something New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg would love. Without your iCloud username and password, you can't reactivate an iPhone because of the new feature: Activation Lock.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, then came back on-stage and concluded the presentation.

While not as compelling as a WWDC keynote that might include an iPhone introduction, it was fairly compelling. The stock market -- at least at the conclusion of the presentation -- wasn't too impressed. Stock was down $1.77 at 12:08 p.m. PDT, about 10 minutes after the conclusion of the keynote.

A slideshow of WWDC 2013 keynote images can be seen here.

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