There’s no escaping the fact that last night was WWDC 2013 (or Worldwide Developers Conference to the non-Apple-fanboys out there); the one day of the calendar year pre-billed in advance when everyone turns their attention to Apple expecting to find out what the latest round of technology updates is going to be.
It’s safe to say that this year didn’t disappoint. In what was an incredibly exciting Apple update, there was a preview of the brand-new Mac Pro, a refresh of the MacBook Air, the biggest redesign of iOS in years, iOS 7, and the latest OS X release (OS X Mavericks)! Here are the highlights!
MacBook Air – A battery that will last all day, and faster performance all round
OK, let’s get one thing straight – the battery life on the MacBook Air has always been exceptional! But it’s just got a whole lot better, with up to 12 hours of battery life on the new 13″ model (and 9 hours on the 11″). It’s safe to say that Apple have squarely positioned this as the perfect business tool – while you could always rely on the MacBook Air to last you for most of the day and not pack up mid-meeting, the new models will rival the iPad in their ability to deal with constant use from the morning commute right through to getting home in the evening.
It’s not just the battery that has had an overhaul though – the processors, WiFi and storage have all been updated to keep the MacBook Air at the forefront of portable computing. As far as the processor goes, the new models feature the latest fourth-generation Intel Core Haswell processors and Intel HD Graphics 5000 which, as well as helping to give MacBook Air a boost, are partly responsible for that amazing battery life; they use less power than their predecessors.
There’s also support for the next generation of WiFi (802.11ac technology) which gives up to three times the wireless speed of the previous generation. Finally, the flash storage that we saw introduced in previous models is 45 percent faster in this generation, and the 11″ model comes with twice the capacity as standard – 128GB for the same price as the previous 64GB model. All in all, this now offers exceptional value!
Mac Pro – The future of professional desktops
There’s been a refresh of the Mac Pro on the cards for a while, and last night it was previewed. With an all-new sleek design and internal hardware to match, this is the next generation of pro desktop computing.
First up, it’s hard to miss the design of the Mac Pro. Gone is the matte silver finish that’s become expected of the Mac range, and instead is a tube-like black design – it’s only 9.9 inches tall and 6.6 inches wide! Inside, there are up to 12 cores of processing power (which is up to two times faster than the previous model, thanks to 40GBps of PCI Express gen 3 bandwidth and 256-bit-wide floating-point instructions), a four channel DDR3 memory controller that delivers up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth (again twice the amount of the current Mac Pro!) as well as next generation PCI Express flash storage that’s up to 10 times faster than a 7200rpm SATA hard drive. And how do they pack so much in? There’s an all-new thermal core that conducts heat away from the CPU and GPUs and distributes it evenly across the core.
Mac Pro is expected to arrive later on this year in Autumn, and we’ll have a more detailed rundown on what it means for pro computing soon! In the meantime, get in touch with the team with all your questions.
OS X Mavericks – Making waves on the desktop
Whether you were just getting used to having an operating system named after a big cat or were expecting OS X Ocelot to rear its head any day, the name of OS X Mavericks (a surfing location in California, by the way…) was far from the biggest news in last night’s announcement. From iBooks and Maps making their way to the Mac to improved support for multiple displays (yes!) we are expecting big things from this new version of the Mac OS. Here’s a rundown of just some of the new features:
– Multiple Displays – OS X has supported multiple displays for a long time, but one of the biggest disadvantages so far has been only having access to a Dock and menus on the main screen. Not anymore! It’s complete flexibility – you can run an app full screen on each display, have multiple windows on one screen and a full screen app on the other, or access the dock from wherever you choose. This is a great new feature – particularly for business users.
– iBooks – We’re now used to iBooks being available on iPhone and iPad, and it only seemed like a matter of time before it found its way on to the Mac too. If you’re already familiar with the mobile equivalents, this is going to be familiar ground – you can pinch, zoom, swipe etc. to control your pages – but the nice part is that all of your iBooks purchases will be automatically synced and downloaded on all of your devices. Start reading on your iPhone on your commute home, then open it up on your Mac when you get home to finish it off.
– Maps – Another new addition to the Mac is Maps. This uses the full power of your Mac’s graphics capability to create a photorealistic 3D experience to complement your route planner. Also, with OS X Mavericks, Maps works alongside your Mail, Contacts and Calendar so whenever you see an address, you can see it on a map straightaway.
– Calendar – The OS X Calendar has had a complete facelift! Aside from a simpler and easier to use interface, there’s a new Inspector tool that looks at your agenda and tells you estimated travel times and local forecasts. There’s never going to be an excuse to miss a meeting or leave without a coat again…
– iCloud Keychain – Ever been annoyed by having to retype passwords and credit card details on different devices? I know I have! A nice new feature called iCloud Keychain will now let you save both of them securely in the cloud. The big benefit is that all of your OS X and iOS devices will be able to access that information so you’ll only have to type it once, if you want to.
– Safari – While the new Shared Links (for visiting URLs linked to on Twitter) and Top Sites features are big news because they allow you to organise your favourite sites in a way previously unmatched, it’s the improved speed in Safari that’s really worth shouting about! As far as performance goes, Safari is now 1.44 times faster than Chrome and 1.17 times faster than Firefox, yet still manages to use far less energy than both!
– Notifications – With OS X Mavericks, you can now access notifications and reply to them, without having to leave the app that you’re in – that include responding to calls, deleting emails and replying to a message.
– Tabs and Tags – Finder now includes even better tools for organising your work. You can add Tags to content to bring it up in Finder search results, and there’s the ability to open Tabs so your can search for different files or applications without having to open new windows.
iOS 7 – The biggest thing to happen to the mobile operating system since the iPhone launch!
We’d expected a new version of Apple’s mobile operating system, and we’d heard rumours of a stripped back design, but of all the announcements last night, the new iOS 7 was one of the biggest crowd-pleasers.
From a design point of view, it looks amazing! There are all-new icons and (Sir) Jonny Ive’s much-talked-about translucent layers, which combine to make the process of using iPhone and iPad a simpler and more enjoyable one.
But it’s the new features where this really shines. Highlights include:
– Control Center – Users have been wanting a central place to control some of iPhone’s and iPad’s key functions for some time, and Apple have answered that call. Control Center allows you to do everything from turn on and off Airplane mode, WiFi and Do Not Disturb, to connect to AirPlay and control music. It’s all accessible from a single popup that is accessed by swiping on your Lock screen.
– Notification Center – This is an old favourite, but has been revamped to include Today, a new summary of what you have on in your To-Dos, Calendar, as well as the usual notifications of missed calls and app updates. It will even tap into your Weather and Maps to tell you if you you’ll need an umbrella or if traffic will be a problem on the commute.
– Multitasking – Multitasking is now far more intuitive than ever before! Aside from now including a preview of the different apps that you have open, iOS 7 knows when you are most likely to use each app and will ensure that the content is updated before you open it. This takes multitasking to a whole new level!
– Camera, Collections, Moments and Years – The camera now has a new user interface. There’s even easier access to different shooting formats – video, photo, square and panoramic – and filters that let you polish up your photos before sharing them. When it comes to accessing your photos, there are now new options for scrolling through them. Collections, Moments and Years are new options that group photos and videos based on when they were taken and where.
– AirDrop – Don’t want to use a text or email to send a photo or document? AirDrop will now let you share them quickly (and in far fewer steps) with nearby iOS users simply by hitting the standard Share button. It uses a combination of WiFi and Bluetooth and all transfers are encrypted so you don’t have to worry about your messages being intercepted.
– Safari gets smarter – There’s a new tab view for browsing opening pages, a smart search field (which will recommend close search matches in the same way as it does on a desktop), a Shared Links function that lets you browse URLs send via Twitter, and iCloud Keychain (which remembers your passwords between devices and automatically fills them out for you).
-Siri becomes more human – A redesigned interface, more natural speech patters, new male and female voices, more sources checked (including Wikipedia and Twitter) and the ability to deal with voicemails return calls and more mean that Siri is now one step closer to replacing your P.A. entirely.
Want to find out more about any of these releases? Get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. Or you can already order the new MacBook Air models, as well as the updated Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme here.
What do you think of these new releases? Leave us a comment below and let us know what your favourite announcement from last night was!