It’s time for the 2013 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). Are you curious about the new hardware and software coming from Apple?
WWDC 2013: iOS 7
The first thing that users will notice is the new design in iOS 7. The new design is much flatter than earlier versions. It is somewhat similar to Windows Phone 8 (sans the Tiles) in that regard. The new design was the first major decision from Apple’s new directorial role for Human Interface development Jonathan Ive. Ive’s dislike for skeuomorphism — the act of making a virtual design look like their physical counterpart — is well documented.
Better multitasking support is the best new feature in my opinion. Intelligent polling by iOS detects which apps you use the most. These apps will now receive more updates in the background.
The Notification Center can now be accessed from the lock screen. The new Control Center can now give you quick access to settings like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Both of these features sound like the way Android handles them.
Safari can now access your browser history with a swipe.
Siri has a radical new interface. Users can now choose between a male and a female voice for Siri. Siri can now adjust the brightness, and bring up voicemail and bluetooth. Siri can now pull information directly from Wikipedia. In a jab to Google, Siri now displays results from Bing. Lastly, Siri has better in-car support. This means that you can sync Siri to your car and dictate messages and view Apple Maps.
AirDrop offers improved file-sharing abilities. Simply open the app and it will display a list of nearby users. You can then select the users you would like to share a photo with. This was not mentioned, but presumably AirDrop is not limited to photos.
The photo app now has built-in filters and cropping. This makes it an Instagram competitor. The app will now organize your photos into Moments.
iOS apps can now send push notifications to your Mac running OS X 10.9.
WWDC 2013: iTunes Radio
iTunes Radio is Apple’s foray into the streaming music business. Its purpose is to compete with the very popular Pandora service on iOS. Google recently entered this business themselves with the Google Play Music All Access.
Apple will fund iTunes Radio with text and audio ads powered by their iAd service. Apple’s cloud service will contain a simple buy button for users that choose to purchase the song they are currently listening to.
Royalty payments for skipped tracks was one of the major sticking point in contract negotiations with record labels. Apple was able to successfully avoid this cost with some of the record labels. This was not something that Pandora was ever able to do and will give them a competitive edge in the market.
WWDC 2013: OS X 10.9 Mavericks
The next version of OS X focuses heavily on tools for power users. The most prolific feature is the improved multiple monitor support. You can now run full-screen apps on one screen and access a different desktop or a different full-screen app on another screen. Another high-profile feature is the improved battery life. Mavericks will cut CPU usage up to 72%. It is also said to have a 1.5x improvement in waking up an idle system.
Beyond that most of the upgrades are under the hood improvements. Safari is now running a new version of WebKit. This improves Safari’s HTML5 support and brings improved performance. It also has a sidebar with a reading list, and a new Top Sites feature. A Shared Links feature displays all links shared by users you follow on Twitter.
Finder will also see some attention. Apple added features like tabs and tags to improve the user experience and combat against third-party replacements.
Other new features include:
- Apple Maps is now built into OS X.
- OS X Notifications can now reply to iMessages from the notification.
- You can now start a Facetime call.
WWDC 2013: MacBooks
All day battery life is the promise of the new MacBook Air. The 11″ model promises 9 hours of battery life, while the 13″ promises 12. Not exactly “all day”, but it is pretty good. Both models support the new 802.11 ac Wi-Fi. These new models are ready to ship today. There was no word on a MacBook Air with retina support.
The MacBook Pro received a complete overhaul. It now sports a black, cylindrical design made in the USA. It has a new Intel Xeon processor with ECC memory. This makes it 10 times faster than the previous MacBook Pro.
It has the new Thunderbolt 2 technology that offers 20 Gbps per port. It can handle 6 devices per port.
This new machine can handle three 4K displays at a given time.
WWDC 2013: iWorks
Apple is now ramping up iWorks to take on Google Docs. iWorks is now coming to the browser, with new versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers soon to follow. While intended for Safari, Apple has said that it will work in Chrome and Internet Explorer. No word on support for Firefox.