Apple WWDC 2013: iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and the new Mac Pro

This time of the year the attention of the media and technology enthusiasts is focused on Apple. Every year the company hosts the WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in San Francisco and it usually showcases the new products that have been under development over the last few months. This year’s keynote focused on software but Apple also introduced a few hardware products. The two operating systems, iOS and OS X have both been updated. For the first time in more than a decade Apple changes the naming system of its OS X from breeds of cat to California locales, naming the next iteration OS X Mavericks. OS X MavericksOS X 10.9 Mavericks seems to be a next step in the direction of unifying the user experience with Apple computers and mobile devices. Most of the new features are inspired by the functionality of the iOS on iPhones and iPads. For example, in order to preserve the battery, the new OS X AppNow feature will pause applications that are in the background in order to stop them from using CPU power. Apple Maps have been also integrated in the new operating system and iBooks debuts on OS X. A very useful feature which is very familiar to people using 1Password is called iCloud Keychain. The Keychain has been introduced with Mac OS 8.6 and it saves all your usernames and passwords and then offers to automatically fill these details in on websites where you have to sign in. With iCloud Keychain Apple takes this functionality to the next level by offering syncronisation across devices which are “paired” with the same iCloud account. So if you will sign in on the Mac and allow iCloud Keychain to save the username and password, the next time you need to sign in on your iPhone or iPad Safari will be able to automatically fill in the information for you. This feature can also be used for WiFi passwords, credit/debit card details and addresses. OS X Mavericks will be launched this fall and, like OS X 10.8 Lion, it will be available on the App Store. Mac Pro 2013Apple has also offered us a sneak peak preview of the next Mac Pro, a desktop computer which is designed with professionals in mind. It’s been a long time since Apple has launched the current design of the Mac Pro and many people believed that the company from Cupertino has given up on the pros. But after seeing the new design I think that everyone will agree that the wait was worth it. The new cylindrical design of the Mac Pro is impressive. The whole computer is designed around a triangular heat sink called a thermal core and has only one fan at the top. It’s specs are impressive - up to 12 cores of processing power using the next generation Intel Xeon processors, dual GPU configuration as standard and plenty of expansion ports. The new Mac Pro will also be released later this year. And now let me tell you a bit about iOS 7. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen a lot of rumours about how this new operating system for Apple mobile devices might look after being redesigned by Jonathan Ive - we’re currently running a competition which might interest you if you like rumours and amazing headlines. Today we got to see how the new “polarizing” iOS user interface looks and you won’t be too surprised if you’ve followed the rumour mill: it is flat, more colourful and it looks like a more unified interface. For some people this might be a bit confusing as the iOS has been completely redesigned and it now looks a lot cleaner and up-to-date but it seems to have lost many elements which are familiar to iOS users. Some people already compare its looks with Windows and some of the new features have been familiar to Android users for a while now. I find it hard to say how I feel about the new looks. Apple states on their website that “You know good design when you use it” so I’ll just wait to use the new iOS 7 and decide after whether I like it or not. But there are also some new features which I know I’ll find amazingly useful. I’ll go through a few of them below. [caption id="attachment_3349" align="alignleft" width="200"]iOS 7 Control CenteriOS 7 Control Center[/caption] Control Center This is a feature long-desired by iOS users: the ability to quickly control a few of the key functions of the iPhone or iPad - some people jailbreak their iPhone just to be able to install and use SBSettings. Once we get iOS 7 we will be able to turn on or off the WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode or Do Not Disturb mode from a quick menu accessible by swiping up from the home button - you can now access a similar menu but with less functionality by double pressing the home button. Notification Center The Notification Center has been improved and it’s now accessible without unlocking your iPhone, by swiping down on the screen. It should offer you a better view of the calendar events together with the weather, missed calls, to-dos etc. [caption id="attachment_3353" align="alignright" width="200"]iOS 7 MultitaskingiOS 7 Multitasking[/caption] Multitasking With so many apps available for the iPhone and iPad you may find yourself switching between apps quite often. This has been greatly improved in iOS 7. When you double press the Home button you will be presented with cards, preview screens of the apps. You get a better idea of what happening inside the app without entering it and you can easily close apps by swiping it’s card up and away from the stack. There’s also some magic happening behind the curtains: iOS 7 will schedule updates when the device will be connected to a WiFi network, for example, so it uses less power and data. Camera There are a few notable improvements for the Camera app: there is a new way to easily switch between still, video, panorama and square (this is a new format which seems to be inspired by Instagram) and there are now nine live preview filters available. [caption id="attachment_3356" align="alignleft" width="200"]iOS 7 Photos appiOS 7 Photos app[/caption] Photos The photo organisation app has been improved and it now automatically groups pictures you take in Collections, Moments and Years, offering a much better overview of the photos stored on your iOS device. The iCloud photo sharing has been improved as well, becoming almost a family & friends social network for photo sharing, which is great if you don’t like Facebook. AirDrop This is a new feature for iOS but it should be familiar to OS X users. You can now easily share photos, videos, contact etc with your nearby contacts. It’s relying on WiFi and Bluetooth to quickly create a secure link with your friends’ devices. Safari The default iOS browser has been improved as well. There’s a new way to see the open tabs and you can swipe left to go back and right to go forward. iCloud Keychain (which I described earlier) is also integrated in mobile Safari. iTunes Radio Think of iTunes Radio as Pandora or iTunes. It quickly creates stations that feature content you might like. It seems to be an amazing feature which, unfortunately, won’t be available in the UK yet. It will be free of charge if you don’t mind some ads and iTunes Match subscribers get access to the ad-free version. Find My iPhone I love Find My iPhone and consider it a very useful feature - one of our customers used Find My iPhone to locate her stolen car and iPhone. With iOS 7 Apple has made it more difficult to activate a device which has been erased by asking for your Apple ID and password. This might well be the one of the best new features of iOS 7! Apple has also announced that in 2014 we will see the first cars equipped with iOS in the Car, making it easier and more convenient to use your iPhone in the car. It takes great courage to change something like the iOS but this user interface revamp seems to bring Apple’s mobile operating system up-to-date in terms of design and functionality. Everything has been redesigned and although I’m not excited about all the changes, I’ve already seen major improvements which will make my everyday iPhone experience much better. What do you think about the new iOS 7? What are the features that you like most? iOS 7 will be available this fall and it will be compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch 5G, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display and iPad mini but some features like AirDrop or photo filters will be available only to newer devices.
[caption id="attachment_3358" align="alignleft" width="200"]iOS 7 Notification Center iOS 7 Notification Center [/caption][caption id="attachment_3358" align="alignleft" width="200"]iOS 7 weather appiOS 7 weather app[/caption]
May 07, 2014