Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tech Time::: Apple's WWDC 2013

Photo Credit: iMore.com

Last week was WWDC 2013 and Apple announced some pretty amazing new products, including iOS7, OSX9 "Mavericks" (I guess they ran out of big cats?), a new MacBookAir, and new spacecraft-like Mac Pro. 

I think the most exciting for me were iOS7 and the new Macs, though I won't be in the market for a new Mac for probably a year or so more.  But iOS7 I will be in the market for, and clawing the walls for, well, yesterday! (Seriously, when is the next iPhone coming out, I am overdue for the newest and best, like, last year.)  Click to keep reading--yes it's a bit long, but worth it, if nothing else for the fantastic video I include from Apple regarding iOS7.

Photo credit: Apple.com, collage by me

iOS7 is designed by a team headed up by Sir Jony Ive, the master-blaster of design over at Apple. When I heard he was in charge of this project, I think the emotion I immediately felt was "euphoria".  I had a lot of hopes for the changes, and one of which appears to have been met, which is the multitasking be more like that of WebOS, using a "card" style, vs the double-clicking app launcher mode we presently have.  I actually clapped my hands like an excited infant when I saw that during the Keynote.  Other features that were pretty intriguing (and ironically equally borrowed from elsewhere) were the Control Center and Notification Center. I used to use a "lock screen" type app in WebOS, and I know in the brief stint I had with Android, it was a nice feature as well.  

Check out this phenomenal video on Apple's YouTube, detailing the features of iOS7. 

Another pretty cool feature that was mentioned was an improvement to Find My iPhone, requiring your Apple ID and PW to be input in order to perform a remote erase, turn on or off Find My iPhone services, or re-activate the device once it's been remote erased.  This should be very useful in the event of a lost or stolen phone, hopefully allowing recovery to be easier, and preventing the person who stole/found your iPhone from wiping and restoring it as their own without any ramifications.  I do know that the GSM carriers (ATT/T-MO) have really cracked down on that to make it harder as well, much like how the CDMA carriers (Sprint/VZW) can render a phone a useless brick once reported stolen/lost, so I am pleased to see this inclusion. 

According to iMore.com, there are quite a few certainties coming with iOS7 sure to make the masses happy. I abbreviated this list they provide in their article (linked above) to highlight the more noted ones.  The first one especially makes me happy:

  • Phone, FaceTime, and Message blocking - Block messages, phone calls, and FaceTime calls from unwanted individuals.
  • Improved Mail search
  • Activation lock - Prevents someone from wiping and then reactivating your device without your Apple ID and password. Read more here.
  • Long MMS support
  • View PDF annotations - View annotations, probably inside of iBooks, and perhaps email attachments as well.
  • FaceTime audio - Audio-only calls over Wi-Fi.
  • Notification Sync - Notifications from apps on the iPhone and the iPad will be able to sync across devices, allowing users to dismiss once and be done with them across on every device.
  • Wi-Fi HotSpot 2.0 - If a user is able to access public Wi-Fi hotspots, like those provided by cellular carriers, for instance, they will be able to connect to them automatically.
  • Do Not Track in Safari - Prevent websites from tracking you after you leave them, depending on website participation.
  • Night mode for Maps - Makes Maps easier to use at night.
  • Managed app configuration
  • Turn-by-turn walking directions
  • Maps bookmark syncing - Users can now bookmark their directions and sync them across devices, most likely including the new Maps application in OS X Mavericks.
My biggest hope for iOS7, and one that I don't think was addressed in this Keynote--there's still time, Sir Jony--is that Apple work on TRUE PUSH EMAIL. I cannot stress that enough. Regardless of carrier, regardless of provider, find a way for Apple Mail to be true push with true IMAP or Exchange support for all. I don't know too many people who can function well in business with "fetch" that is currently set up at the fastest increment of 15 minutes, while only having iCloud mail set to Push, and having to forward mail to iCloud for a Push alert is simply not acceptable. If you tout your products as "it just works", it better "just work" without the user needing a workaround.  I know that Google/Gmail chose to disable Exchange earlier this year for iOS to force people into their (entirely worthless) Gmail app or to go with an Android (NO) and that kinda borked it all up, but there's surely a workaround that Apple can come up with, IMAP or otherwise. So figure it out, and make it "just work" again. 

Also announced in the Keynote that was of interest to me was the new Mac Pro, which looks completely unlike anything Apple has ever released. 

Photo Credit: iMore.com, collage by me

That is good and bad, as far as I am concerned. While I can appreciate the departure they took from their norm with the shape, I don't know if I am feeling the chrome case. I really love the brushed aluminum Apple has been known for. It's clean and simple. This new case is a little too stark for the brand, I think. Yes, it's still clean and simple, but it's just...not Apple. Though maybe that's what they were going for.  The technical benchmarks are pretty remarkable though, and this thing is going to scream! I'd say the most notable feature is that this unit will be made in the US, which is pretty incredible. I look forward to seeing how this unit performs, and how the quality and longevity is vs the previous foreign made units. 

All in all, a pretty incredible keynote, as always. Obviously, they're not the same without Steve Jobs, but I think Tim Cook is doing pretty well. I have a feeling that Jony Ive will one day be in Steve Jobs role, and I look forward to that day.  I think he is a brillant visionary and an even more brilliant designer. 

What did you think of the WWDC Keynote, if you watched it?

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