Thoughts on today’s WWDC keynote


WWDC Keynote thoughts

Phil Schiller had the day’s best line – “Apple can’t innovate any more, my ass.” You have to love that. The big reveal for iOS 7; a glimpse at MacOS 10.9; new MacBook Airs with obscene battery life; a new Mac Pro that looks to be beyond worth the 10-year wait for the new enclosure.

iOS 7

This is a beautiful operating system. Beautiful. This is what Apple does – consistent iterations on a successful formula to change it slowly over time. Just about every new feature that was announced today is something I can see myself using regularly – particularly Control Center.

  • One thing I don’t make good enough use of on my phone now is the Notification Center; the changes to that coming in iOS 7 might be enough to get me to take better advantage of this feature. – I’m going to listen to Radio. A lot.
  • AirDrop could end up being pretty useful, but it’s going to have to be extremely compelling to consider moving away from DropBox for that sort of sync.
  • I’m definitely curious to check out the new Camera app. My photos are scattered all over the place; I haven’t made efficient use of the various tools I have to share photos (or to take them really). Some photos are taken directly in Instagram. Some are taken in Camera first and then Instagrammed. A couple of them I initially took in Vesper. I need to start taking every photo on my phone in Camera, and then moving them out to other services for distribution.
  • watch the animation in the video for Messages. See the translucency and the layering of the elements? How the keyboard feels like it’s floating over the message thread? That’s beautiful.

The people who are already throwing fits online that iOS 7 isn’t a radical-enough change from iOS 6 don’t understand Apple anyway. The same can be said for the Android bloggers who are playing the least-surprising game of [“Simpsons Did It” and doing feature comparisons. iOS7 is a great-looking OS, and I suspect that almost immediately after upgrading any app that doesn’t update its icon so it will look good beside the stock Apple apps will lose its place on my Home screen. The new features are welcome, compelling and useful. I’m looking forward to it.

MacOS 10.9

“Mavericks” is kind of a ridiculous name for a software update, and it’s interesting that Apple has finally decided it has run out of cat names for its core OS. There wasn’t much revealed about MacOS 10.9 today, but there were four features that I suspect I’ll be making good use of – tagging files in the OS, the tabbed Finder (which has been a long time coming), better support for multiple monitors (I have a 30″ LCD as my primary display and use my MacBook Pro’s screen as a sidebar at work), and the iCloud Keychain.

I’m not going to lie, there was a fist pump and a “YES” when I saw screenshots of the new iCal. I hate the paper desktop calendar motif of the current iCal, and the MacOS 10.9 version is gorgeous.

No announcement of the price or a window for availability other than “fall,” but it seems like a relatively safe bet that Apple will continue the $29 update price it used for 10.8.

MacBook Air

I have not purchased a new computer for myself at home since Nov. 2003, when I bought my Dual G5 Mac Pro. I’ve been interested in the Air since it debuted; I love the form factor and the portability, and technology has finally caught up to the point where Apple can put what by all accounts is a pretty excellent computer inside the case. Apple’s touting 12 hours of battery life – 12 – for the new Air announced today (the 13-inch version anyway; the 11-inch gets a paltry 9), and has doubled the amount of on-board flash memory while keeping the price the same. The 13-inch model with 256GB of storage and a RAM boost to 8 gigs for about $1,350 is incredibly tempting…

Mac Pro

Tim Cook said last year that Apple would have news on a revamped Mac Pro sometime in 2013. “Sometime” was today; take a look at what they unveiled. Apple has taken the G4 Cube from 2000 – which was a really cool enclosure for a computer, even though it wasn’t a very successful product and Apple killed it after one year – and gone completely nuts with it to design the new Mac Pro. This machine is insane; the amount of power Apple has crammed into a 9-inch-by-6-inch cylinder is ridiculous.

Conspicuous in its absence – much discussion about iCloud, at all, at least in any of the recaps from today that I have read so far. No discussion on improvements to the service or new features beyond the Keychain in Mavericks, and nothing said about improvements to the Core Data sync features that have just been torn to shreds on dev blogs for the better part of this year. The iCloud and core Data labs at WWDC start on Wednesday, and there’s a Core Data session Wednesday afternoon, so perhaps Apple have some new things to share then.

One final note – not at all lost on me was Apple’s heavy use of Gilt in the screenshots and other demo materials for MacOS and iOS today. That is a pretty clear indicator of the demographic they’re targeting (quite successfully).

(Everything I read about WWDC today came through in Steve Jobs’ voice in my head. It was weird. But sort of cool. It was fun to imagine him on stage saying “Mavericks” many times.)

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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