Apple kicked off its 2013 World Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Francisco Moscone West conference center June 10 with, as the rumor mills had long foretold, the introduction of a streaming music service.
Apple followers have been expecting such a service since the company purchased streaming site Lala back in 2009. And Apple couldn't have kept its users waiting longer for it.
Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Service, introduced iTunes Radio during the final minutes of the morning's two-hour keynote, calling it "an amazing way to discover new music."
The Pandora-like iTunes Radio is built into the iMusic app in iOS 7. Apple has created featured stations, though users can also create their own. Users can also tap on a station to share it with a friend, or create stations based on an artist or song.
While it's built into iOS 7—which is available in Beta to developers today and to the rest of us "this fall"—it's also built into iTunes on Macs, PCs and Apple TV. A version with ads will be free, and an ad-free version will be available to iTunes Match subscribers.
Apple will release iTunes Radio in the United States first and then roll it out worldwide.
"This is the best music player we've ever done," said Cue.
New MacBook Air, Mac Pro
In the 110 minutes before CEO Tim Cook and his staff got around to iTunes Radio, statistics were shared—the iTunes store has 900,000 apps; Apple has paid out $10 billion to developers—and other detail-rich product introductions made.
These included new MacBook Air laptops with markedly improved battery life. The new 13-inch model—starting at a new lower price of $1,099—can get up to 12 hours of battery life, or up to 10 hours of iTunes movie playback. The new 11-inch version can get 9 hours, or 8 hours of iTunes playback.
They look a lot like the current models but are 45 percent faster, featuring fourth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, 802.11ac WiFi and entirely flash storage.
More dramatically, the Mac Pro was reimagined, inside and out. At a glance, it could be a shiny, thick, black vase.
"With the latest Xeon processors, dual FirePro CPUs, ECC memory, PCIe-based flash and Thunderbolt 2, all build around a revolutionary thermal core, the next-generation Mac Pro is the most radical Mac yet," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in statement.
The new Mac Pro is 9.9 inches tall, takes up one-eighth the volume of its predecessor but is 2.5 times as fast, and is made in the United States.
It's the first to come with dual workstation CPUs and connect to multiple 4K (or ultra-high-definition) displays.
Apple didn't share pricing or exact availability, saying only that it will arrive "later this year."
Apple ditched its big cats and took its naming convention in a new direction. It named its newest OS "Mavericks," after the insane surfing spot in its backyard, said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software. Mavericks is the first of what should be several California-themed releases, named after inspiring spots.