2013 WWDC Summary

No more kitties. One of the big surprises from  the 2013 Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco was the name of the new operating system release. For what seems to be forever, Apple has always named their software after cats, Tiger, Lion, Snow Leopard, the list goes on. But this year is different. They’ve switched their naming conventions to California landmarks. This year: ‘OSX Mavericks’. I have to admit, I had no idea what it was. But I later learned it’s a hot surfing spot near San Francisco. But the new name was just one of several surprises from the big company. Here’s a summary thanks to ZDNet:


OS X Mavericks

The newest version of the Mac desktop operating system is due in the fall and focuses on better battery life and responsiveness. It boasts over 200 new features including a tabbed Finder, Tags and much improved multiple-monitor support. As expected, Mavericks is decidedly flatter in design as evidenced by the updated Calendar app which has ditched the leather and paper metaphor for a more simple and clean design.

Notable features in this 2013 WWDC summary: Calendar is now location, travel time, weather aware and adds local weather and travel time directly to calendar events. Safari is much faster and comes with some handy sidebar improvements to Bookmarks, Reading Lists and Shared Links. A new dedicated Maps application features bookmarks, real-time traffic and one-click send to iOS. A surprising omission is full Siri support. You can read about the new features on the OS X Mavericks preview page and in the press release.


iOS 7 & iTunes Radio

The most anticipated software announcement was iOS 7, the next major release of the OS that powers the iPhone and iPad. New features include Control Center, iTunes Radio, AirDrop and major updates to Notification Center, Multitasking, Siri, Camera, Photos and Safari. Like Mavericks, iOS got the flat treatment, but even more dramatically. The entire OS has a more subdued and subtle look and feel and all of the Apple icons are simpler and cleaner.

Notable features in this 2013 WWDC summary: Control Center provides a slide up tray with quick access to AirPort, Bluetooth, brightness, music, AirDrop, AirPlay and a welcome built-in flashlight. Notifications, Multitasking and the Camera app are greatly improved, but the show stealer is iTunes Radio, which is free ad-supported Internet radio. The kicker is that iRadio is ad-free for iTunes Match subscribers (which costs $25 per year) — a nice surprise. You can read about the new features on the iOS 7 preview page and in the press release.


MacBook Air

On the hardware front, Apple used WWDC to announce refreshed MacBook Air notebooks based on Intel’s latest Haswell processors, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and flash storage that is up to 45 percent faster than the previous generation. The best feature in the new MBAs is all-day battery life. The new 13-inch MacBook Air gets up to 12 hours of battery life and the 11-inch MacBook Air delivers up to 9 hours of battery life. The 11-inch models featuring double the storage and 13-inch models starting at a new lower price of $1,099. You can read about the new features on the MacBook Air product page and in the press release.


Mac Pro

Billed as a “sneak peek into the future of the Pro desktop” the new Mac Pro is just one-eighth of the volume of the previous Mac Pro (9.9 inches tall, 6.6 inches in diameter). The new Apple tower (or should I say cylinder?) features a new unified thermal core, with three logic boards mounted on a triangular-shaped heat sink with a fan at the top. Hardware-wise the new Mac Pro features a new-generation Intel Xeon E5 chipset with up to 12 cores of processing power, 2.5x faster dual workstation AMD FirePro GPUs (4096 stream processors, 384-bit memory buses, 528 GBps total bandwidth) and 2.5x faster flash storage (PCIe controller, 1.25 GBps reads, 1.0 GBps writes).

It also features 2x faster ECC memory (1866MHz DDR3, four-channel controller, 60 GBps bandwidth) and 4K video support (multiple streams, supported on every port, three simultaneous displays). The new Mac Pro come with a ton of ports on the backplane, including Six Thunderbolt 2 ports being driven by three controllers (20 Gbps throughput, 6 devices per port, backwards compatible), also includes USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 ports

Apple said that the next-generation Mac Pro is coming “later this year” and that it’s designed and assembled in the United States. You can read about the new features on the Mac Pro product page and in the press release.

What was your favorite announcement? Drop me a comment and let me know what you thought about 2013 WWDC.

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Josh Benson

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