Clare Sidoti Staff Writer
Any self confessed geek worthy of the title will have had their eyes and ears firmly set on San Francisco over the past few days for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). There has been much speculation about what goodies the folks from Apple would deliver up to their devotees… iRadio, the iWatch, iPhone 6 for example, and it appears that they have some cool toys up their sleeves for us all.
Here’s a short recap of some of the things we can look forward to lusting after, screaming when we download them and they mess with our current devices, and racing to explore.
iTunes Radio: Not exactly a big surprise that this was announced as rumours of its announcement have been floating around for months now as well as stories of Apple having secured deals with Universal Music Group and Warner Bros. This is Apple’s attack on Spotify and Pandora. It will be available on all iOS 7 devices (looks like we’ll have to get that iPhone upgrade!) and works on the Mac and Apple TV. Also like the other music streaming services, the free version will contain ads and the paid subscription iTunes Match will not.
So what can you do with it? You can create custom stations around a song or artist, you can purchase the songs that you stream and you can “thumbs-up” a track that catches your fancy and can’t get out of your head. Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, describes the streaming service’s features: “You can create your own stations. You can modify stations, listen to ones you like or listen to stations from our team… We keep track of all the songs you’ve listened to, and you can preview and buy them from the app”.
Competitors have quickly reacted to the news with the vice president of Nokia Entertainment, Jyrki Rosenberg, welcoming Apple finally to music streaming: “We launched our streaming radio service in 2011. It’s interesting to see Apple react now and it seems they continue to play catch up”.
ITunes Radio will be available in autumn but only in the US. Apple has announced that it will launch in other countries over time.
iOS 7: More upgrades and what is sure to be more issues when initially downloaded. This software has a “flat design” but already critics are saying it looks just like Google’s Android system and warning that it may confuse users. Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, has warned that “the new version is almost unrecognisable, which will make it polarizing. Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disorientated by the newness”.
Apart from a completely different look and feel (see image below), some of the cool new features include being able to access your notifications from the lock screen, the core apps (weather, email, photo) being redesigned, and Safari’s tabbed browsing will be organised similar to three-dimensional cards and they’ve finally done away with the 8 tab limit. Apps will also now update automatically and they’ve boosted security with Activation Lock which will keep users from having their device accessed by anyone who ‘acquires’ their iPhone. Finally… Siri will have a new voice.
Apple will be rolling out iOS 7 also in autumn.
OS X Mavericks: Whoa there’s no bizarre animal attached to the latest desktop OS??? What are they thinking? The new OS is instead named after a part of sunny California. The software provides support for multiple monitors including the ability to use the TV as a second laptop or iMac screen, battery life has been boosted through better power management, an iCloud keychain allows you to manage multiple passwords and they’re introducing tags as a way to organise and find files. Tags will be built into Maverick, in iCloud and when saving a new document. They will then appear in the Finder Sidebar enabling you to view files by project or category.
Macbook: Not that much else to comment on with this product except that Macbook Air’s battery life has been improved providing “all day” power, which includes up to 10 hours of iTunes movie playback. The Macbook Pro has also had its hard drive speed upped with this model 10 times faster than its predecessor and able to support 4K displays.
What products/features are you most excited about from Apple? What were you disappointed not to see?