Apple got busy this morning with a rapid-fire keynote speech at WWDC revealing the much awaited revamp for iOS 7 plus a new OS X, Mac hardware and a few surprises.
Apple Goes Maverick on Mac
Apple's WWDC keynote started off with a neat animation that says more about its ambition and the state of the market than a wall of press releases could. It focused on doing one thing best and ignoring the rush to cover all market bases and respond to rivals. A little trite perhaps, but a good statement to make in the aftermath of recent stock runs and constant demand for updates.
Then, via a little tour through Apple's latest stores, both bricks-and-mortar and digital. Tim Cook ran through the 50 billion download hit and some other numbers with the App Store now having paid out over $10 billion to developers, three times as much as all other services combines. After a little fun with some AI racing cars, Apple showed off the updates to Mac OS X with multiple displays (even via Apple TV) getting a big cheer along with tagging for documents.
Under the hood of OS X Mavericks (seems like they ran out of cat names), improved memory compression provides more resources faster while better processor management allows for further battery life savings by working faster and more closely with apps such as Safari (which benefits from many new features for improved speed) for even better usage.
Other updates include improved OS X notifications, background app updates and iBooks is arriving on Mac. Calendar now links into local and social information, providing directions, restaurant recommendations and so on. While over on iCloud, a new Keychain feature will remember all your passwords, logins, credit card details and so on. All encrypted, all the in the cloud, if you're ready to trust any company with all that information.
World of iOS Goes Up To Seven
On the hardware front, the MacBook line including the Air got feature updates or price cuts with Intel Haswell chips and more RAM or larger SSDs further improving power and performance. The biggest cheer went up for a preview of the Mac Pro for hardcore power users. Packing Intel Xeon processors, ECC RAM and Thunderbolt 2 connectors with dual workstation GPUs, it really is a beast for video editors or 3D artists, all in a neat, curved, compact space. It will be available later this year and will be made in the U.S.
iOS 7, as expected, is a bright, new flatter experience, with a whole new level of design, focused on thin fonts that make use of the hi-res display and lots of white space. Animated backgrounds in the weather apps mean Apple hasn't completely lost its sense of adventure.
We'll upload the video as soon as possible (the official web site has just gone live) which best shows the new OS features, which has had pretty much a total redesign. For example, Notifications are now available from the lock screen, email has more features that you might have seen on other services.
New apps include Control Center, a swipe away from anywhere on the phone brings a flashlight, brightness, media controls and other features right up front. In the background things like auto-app updates, just-in-time information for when you commonly use an app and so on will make apps a lot more responsive, with improved multitasking.
Photos and other apps have been made a lot more helpful, including the iTunes Radio app we'll cover those in future stories, along with any other news from WWDC which runs all week. iOS 7 launches in beta this week and will be available on general release in the Fall.