Jun 11, 2013 (05:06 AM EDT)
8 Apple Changes That Matter
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
OS X and iOS at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday, along with new portable and desktop computers. Among the products and features discussed, these eight are the ones that matter most.
1. Mac Pro
There's a certain logic to the decision: Media professionals who use the Mac Pro have been pressing Apple to demonstrate its continued commitment to high-powered desktop workstations as the company's product line has become increasingly mobile-focused.
Following a lackluster Mac Pro update last summer, Cook reportedly wrote an email to one concerned customer, reassuring him that a new Mac Pro was planned for 2013. That's about as close as Apple gets to disclosing an enterprise roadmap.
The Mac Pro obviously matters to Apple, not just as a nod to the company's past, but as a proof of life: When Phil Schiller, SVP of worldwide marketing, said Apple was breaking with tradition to show off a future product, he did so in a way that was clearly intended to rebut criticism that dogged the company: "Can't innovate anymore, my ass!" Schiller declared as he showed off the forthcoming hardware.
[ Learn more about Monday's WWDC keynote. Read Apple Debuts OS X Mavericks, iOS 7, Mac Pro Tube. ]
Apple changed its name from Apple Computer, Inc., to simply Apple, Inc., in 2007, following the introduction of the iPhone. More than six years later, the company has demonstrated that it's still committed to traditional computers, even as the market moves away from them.
2. MacBook Air
Apple is promising all-day battery life. The company says its new 11" MacBook Air will last nine hours on battery power and its 13" model will last for 12 hours, up from about five hours. For users who can recharge their MacBook Air at night, this effectively eliminates the possibility of being without power.
Much of the credit goes to Intel's power-efficient Haswell chip set -- something competing computer makers will be using, too -- but Apple is also focusing on tuning its OS X software to use less power. The forthcoming version of OS X, known as OS X Mavericks, adds features like Timer Coalescing, App Nap and Compressed Memory to further prolong battery life on Mac notebooks. When it comes to power consumption, less is more.
3. iOS: AirDrop
Craig Federighi, SVP of software engineering, noted that AirDrop works, "no bumping required," in reference to Android's approach to local data transfers, bumping phones. Whether having to click "Accept" is any better than a physical gesture isn't immediately obvious. But AirDrop is a much needed feature in iOS.
4. iOS: Activation Lock
iOS 7 offers an answer: It includes a feature called Activation Lock that prevents the Find My iPhone feature from being disabled without the device owner's Apple ID and password. It also prevents a device from being reactivated after it has been remotely erased (which can be done via Find My iPhone). While this won't make a powered-down iPhone trackable or erasable, it should make stolen iPhones less valuable to thieves.
5. iOS: Automatic App Updates
Users of iOS devices with a significant number of apps soon discover that it takes a lot of effort to keep every app up-to-date. iOS 7 will dispense with this administrative chore by automating app updates. When this feature was mentioned at the WWDC keynote presentation, the cheering was noticeably louder than for almost any other announcement.
6. OS X/iOS: iTunes Radio
7. OS X: Maps
Now Apple is bringing its mobile Maps technology to its desktop operating system. The company has been working feverishly to improve Maps since the app's underwhelming debut last year. By adding Maps to OS X and introducing a Maps SDK for OS X app developers, Apple is demonstrating that it isn't going to roll over and cede mapping services to Google.
Apple can't afford to give up because Google isn't taking prisoners. Google is reportedly finalizing a deal to acquire Waze, a community mobile mapping service that both Apple and Facebook were said to have been pursuing, for $1.3 billion. Map technology remains a highly contested area.
But Apple is using its home field advantage to encourage the use of its mapping services. OS X Mavericks will put Apple's maps into Calendar and other apps.
8. iOS: The New Look