Apple held its first day of the WWDC yesterday, and for those of you who couldn’t or didn’t tune in, here, in brief, is what happened during the keynote:
The New Macbook Airs
- They look very much the same, but with intel’s Haswell latest generation chips inside.
- Battery life: The 11-inch air improves to 9 hours (from 5) and the 13-incher improves to 12 hours (from 7). This is the biggest deal about these machines.
- Graphics are 40% faster, but the CPUs won’t be significantly faster than the last generation. NBD.
- System memory is still limited to a reasonable 8GB of RAM. But the flash memory in its drive, still maxing at 512GB of SSD, is “up to 45% faster than the flash storage in the previous-generation Macbook Air”, which is kind of nuts if true. A big deal.
- No retina display. Not a big deal but it still makes me feel pouty in an irrational way.
- Equipped with the wireless AC Wi-Fi standard. Their new wireless routers have support for this standard, too, with beamforming (aiming), but I would wait for some reviews before buying those, unless you’re a diehard Time Machine backup user. Apple says 3x faster than N with AC wireless technology. Not a big deal but not a throwaway, either.
- Every notebook is $100 less than the last generation, so it starts at $1000 and $1100 for the 11 and 13-inchers, although fully loaded they cost the same as they did. No big deal.
- These are shipping as of yesterday (and in Apple stores in two days) and even though we have not seen reviews, there’s no way we can recommend the older one with lesser graphics and battery performance at the same price.
- Oh, we just noticed the new Airs have dual microphones. NBD.
- Nothing today, sorry. Definitely wait to upgrade. It’ll be any day now.
- Why didn’t they refresh these alongside the Airs? I have no idea but one guess is that they’re ready to refresh the hardware design on the Macbook Pros and are holding it for a separate, future event.
iOS, Apple’s software for their phones and tablets, is going to version 7, and everything has been visually refreshed.
- Everything looks german (hello Dieter!) Typography and feel are consistent across all the system apps now.
- Translucent and multiple layers on the main interface allow the OS to do things like shift the layer perspective around when you turn the handset as if the icons are floating off the wallpaper.
- Most everything is based on a white background.
- This is minor while being very big: There’s an “activation lock” to keep stolen iPhones from being reactivated without your iCloud device, even if they wipe it. Apple could have just taken out the stolen iPhone market if this works well. With cities reporting crime related to phones on the rise, this is not a bad thing for anyone except muggers. Yes, iOS could make you more safe.
- Control center is a quick way to access settings like toggle wireless, brightness, Airplay, calculator, a flashlight, music controls, alarms and do-not-disturb mode with a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
- Multitasking is enabled for all apps. iOS will notice apps that you use frequently or at certain times of day and allow those programs to do background updates, depending on your network, queuing up the requests all at once. And when an app gets a push notification it can also get background processing power to update itself.
- App Switching is more like how it is/was on Palm or Android with cards/screens instead of merely icons.
- Airdrop lets you send images (and we’re not sure what else, yet) with multiple people who are close (only works with latest generation of portables).
- The camera app has video, photo, square, and panoramic modes that you can swipe between. Each mode has live effects filters.
- The photo viewer will automatically group photos into moments, organized by location/date. You can zoom out into year and month view. Photostream sharing now lets other users add photos and video is supported. Continuous sideways scrolling is a good way to view photos, too.
- Siri’s new interface shows your voice, visualized, on its interface. There is a new female and male voice, and other languages are being upgraded over time. It knows how to control your device better, so you can voice control increase brightness, turn off bluetooth and play that last song again.
- Safari has icons for controls at the bottom of the screen and no chrome. There’s a smart search field that lets you focus your search on different sites and services. You can scroll through your tabs as 3D tiles, and it will show you your tabs on other devices (As on Chrome.) Oh, Safari can run more than 8 tabs at once now.
- iOS is being further integrated into the car–new cars will integrate navigation and Siri in 2014. Acura, Chevy, Jaguar, Volvo, and a few others are already onboard.
- The App store is more location aware, so you can pull up relevant apps depending on where you are (at a store or a museum) and apps are updated automatically.
- iTunes radio is like Pandora combined with iTunes (your library and the songs you’ve bought).
- “Today view” in notification center is trying to be a bit like Google Now. There’s also a tomorrow view. Without access to your gmail and the ability to scan it for relevant content “today”, there’s no reason to think this will be as useful as Google Now.
- Other little things: There’s FaceTime, phone, and message blocking, Facetime audio-only calls are now a thing, there is no more green felt in game center.
- Which older phones will get what features? See this chart by Gizmodo.
- When will this be out? IDK (probably this fall alongside the new iPhone release)
OS X Mavericks
Apple’s new version of their desktop software, OS X, is called Mavericks, after the surf break. I’m sure all the people who have trained really hard to surf there are grossed out by this. Here’s Apple’s preview page for Mavericks.
- It’ll have back end optimizations that apple claims will increase battery life, memory performance and better manage a CPU’s usage by doing things like putting apps to “sleep” when you’re not actively using them.
- It’ll have some optimizations in multiple screen use, letting programs go full screen across more than one screen, with support to make your TV another monitor through AppleTV. There’s no longer a difference between primary and secondary displays–each one has it’s own menu and the task bar ends up on whatever screen you’re currently using.
- OS X will use iCloud to store your passwords across your iOS devices, including credit card information.
- There’s a map app which you can use to send directions directly to an iPhone.
- An iBooks app
New Mac Pros
- It’s shaped like a cylinder and it’s black. The entire rig is built around a triangular “thermal core” which everything hot is mounted to. The air sucks up from the bottom and spits out the top, like a dustbuster combined with a hairdryer.
- It’s very fast and about 1/8th the volume of the old Mac Pro. They just dumped a ton of specs on us that I won’t repeat here. If you want to know more about this Mac, you should check out Ars Technica.
- iWork is now both desktop and cloud (like Google docs) capable.
What do you think?? Leave your thoughts in the comments section