Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, and announced a whole bunch of new stuff. Here’s what you need to know.
New MacBook Air
Faster and longer battery life although it looks the same on the outside. Available today.
New Mac Pro
Primarily for power users (video editors, animators, or anybody who needs super fast performance). A futuristic-looking compact black cylinder with a solid-state internal drive. Expansion is only available via its ports: six Thunderbolt 2 ports and four USB 3 ports.
On the one hand, it’s beautiful and elegant. On the other hand, that elegance is going to disappear when you start attaching a ton of stuff to it.
Available later this year. Here’s Apple’s sneak peek.
OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”
Coming later this year will be a new version of the Mac operating system. Having gotten bored with big cats, apparently, it is instead awkwardly named after a Northern California surf spot.
At first glance, it appears to be a number of useful, but not life-altering, improvements such as:
- Password sharing via iCloud
- The ability to arbitrarily “tag” files with whatever labels you like, so that you can pull them all up later
- Using Apple TV as a secondary display
- A more useful full-screen window mode
- A calendar that does more stuff and gets rid of the fake leather
- Under-the-hood improvements to improve application performance
Also coming later this year will be huge changes to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch experience. The new operating system, iOS 7, is kind of hard to describe, but it’s very…flat, and you can sort of see through layers of things. For a better idea, go to Apple’s web site. iOS 7 will be available for iPhone 4 and newer, iPad 2 and newer, and iPod Touch 5th generation and newer.
Ok, that’s all cool stuff. The rest I’m less sure about.
Apple introduced new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models, and we hope they perform better than they look. The two items are identical in appearance–a white, slablike, six-inch square column.
This is presumably to accommodate the multiple antennas, which will provide faster wifi speeds. But it’s ugly, and still has only three Ethernet ports, and still lacks the audio jack, and still costs more than similar devices from competitors.
I hope that the speeds make up for what appears to be a disappointing product, though for the moment, only the brand-new MacBook Air and the forthcoming Mac Pro are able to take advantage of the new speeds.
Finally, Apple is making a couple of minor catch-up attempts. They’re creating their own Pandora in the form of “iTunes Radio,” which will feature music tailored to your tastes, either with ads, or included as part of your $25/year iTunes Match subscription. My prediction is that this will go the way of iTunes Ping, but we will see. They are also introducing “iWork for iCloud,” which will facilitate collaboration for users of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, even on Windows. I don’t see this catching fire either.