WWDC 2013 Announcements – My Impressions

Apple announced a series of updates at the 2013 WWDC keynote and in this article I aim to give you my impressions of what I saw.

True to form Apple started with a bang a fancy intro that “warmed the hearts of viewers” I for one am not one of the Apple sheeple that unjustifiably love everything that Apple does. I dislike the whole pomp and circumstance and cult like behaviour that Apple love to throw at people’s faces. Just show us the products already! But maybe that’s just me, anyway I digress.

So the first major update that was unveiled was OS X 10.9 they jokingly highlighted that they now have a big problem “we’ve ran out of cats” and then subsequently joked about creating a version called OS X sealion. Don’t put it past them! The man presenting all of this was named Craig Federhigi, he seemed to have a nice style of presenting, kind of approachable and lighthearted. Nice to see someone presenting with a little more personality.

So the next version(s) of OS X will be named after places in California where apple designs all of it’s products. The next iteration of OS X is called Mavericks. I imagine this name will result in confusion for when users name the version either shortening it to “Mav” or mistakenly calling it “Maverick”.

The OS seems relatively unchanged however much less skeuomorphism such as in the calendar app. A lot of polishing and deeper integration of iOS such as cross platform notification synchronisation.

And now on to some hardware that was shown. Apple first highlighted the new series in MacBook Air, the new Airs use Intel’s Haswell CPUs for huge power savings without sacrificing computational horsepower. Apple now claim that the Airs will have an “All Day” battery life. 9 hours for the 11″ and a whopping 12 hours for the 13″! That is pretty impressive by any laptop’s standard.

And then they showed us a sneak preview of what I was most interested in seeing. The new Mac Pro. As soon as I saw it I immediately acknowledged that it looked like a bin. A shiny bin with ventilation holes that doubles up as a USB hub. It’s certainly different in terms of style it’s essentially a black glossy cylinder. I really really was not expecting this. It is much smaller than the previous Mac Pro computers at only around 10″ high and around 6 inches wide. It’s dimensions are handy in a way as it means there is potential for the next Mac Pro to sit on your desk.

Other than the styling however the new Mac Pro certainly packs a punch with it’s computing power. It features the latest in Intel Xeon CPUs allowing you up to 12 cores. It allows for only flash internal drives that run through PCI express many many GB/S throughput in and out. It now also has a more advanced cooling system where at it’s centre there is a thermal core and one huge fan at the top of it. This should in theory make the Mac Pro much cooler than before and should minimise any noise due to the large fan. The memory has also been updated to the fastest ever clocked ECC memory it’s DDR3 at around 1800-1900MHz. There are also multiple GPUs inside allowing you to connect multiple 4K displays simultaneously. Nice.

So this new Mac Pro is powerful but there’s a catch (besides it’s styling) which initially threw me off. It’s pretty much non-upgradable. In fact it appears the only thing you can upgrade is the memory. Immediately I thought this was a completely bad move but then I began to think. With pretty much every computer of mine that I’ve ever upgraded I’ve upgraded it once. It is nice to have the option to change one component when it is the main bottleneck (cheaper too!) but in the end if you were to purchase a very high spec Mac Pro from the beginning it probably would last you quite a few years and taking into account resale value you wouldn’t be left in the dark. So it may actually be a possibility that I may upgrade to the new Mac Pro. A small possibility but a possibility nonetheless. Especially not any time soon as I imagine it will cost me a good couple of kidneys to purchase.

An so the final and most widely anticipated reveal that was iOS 7. It changed. It changed a lot. iOS has pretty much always stayed the same since it’s original release in 2007 and this year Apple aims to completely change it. Basically I love it and I hate it. I love the new features that Apple are bringing into their mobile OS such as finally a control panel, an interesting way of displaying the wallpaper which Apple are calling parallax which basically allows the wallpaper to adjust it’s position according the device’s orientation. This creates an interesting optical illusion which makes the icons look like they’re floating above the wallpaper. The lock screen is now much cleaner and Apple have gone for a new skinny font, somewhat reminiscent of Windows Phone. A new multitasking system which allows for a more intuitive multitasking method. General enhancements such as new transitions, new menu views, a more organised photos app and other goodies that will make this a brand new OS but still familiar enough that you won’t have to read a manual. The new iTunes radio also seems interesting, however it is probably feature I will not use. So for these reasons I love it.

However. The icon design is… well.. kind of… disgusting and for that reason I hate it. But it isn’t all doom and gloom because if and when Apple realise that it was a mistake then they will surely use this new OS framework to build on and polish to perfection which is an exciting prospect.

So these are my impressions of what was shown at WWDC 2013. The bottom line is. Things are changing drastically, perhaps for the better. But perhaps not.