Apple's iOS 7, iTunes Radio, MacBook Pros: What the Experts Say

1 - Apple's iOS 7, iTunes Radio, MacBook Pros: What the Experts Say
2 - iOS 7 Is an 'Exciting New Beginning,' Says Apple
3 - Redesigning and Problem Fixing
4 - You Say Tomato, I Say iOS 7
5 - Apple Mac Pro
6 - Apple Mac Pro
7 - iTunes Radio
8 - Pandora and Spotify Can Now Relax
9 - Apple MacBook Air
10 - Apple MacBook Air
11 - OS X Mavericks
12 - iCloud, Meet iKeychain
13 - Calendar, Multiple Monitors
14 - Coming This Fall
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Apple's iOS 7, iTunes Radio, MacBook Pros: What the Experts Say

by Michelle Maisto

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iOS 7 Is an 'Exciting New Beginning,' Says Apple

Everything from the fonts to the icons to the color palette and the way users work on an iPhone has been changed in iOS 7. The design changes have the effect of making the screen appear larger, says Apple. And while the new interface will give an older phone the feeling of being brand new, it's supposed to be still "instantly familiar" to users.

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Redesigning and Problem Fixing

"The new version is almost unrecognizable, which will make it polarizing. Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness," Ovum Chief Telecoms Analyst Jan Dawson said in a research note following the keynote. He added that many of iOS' new features are "fixes to problems, rather than dramatic or clever new ideas."

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You Say Tomato, I Say iOS 7

Analyst Ben Bajarin, in a blog post on the Techpinions site, applauded the new multitasking features, writing that they're on par with or better than those in Android. "The ability to jump back and forth quickly between applications is a key task of a powerful and efficient mobile OS, and iOS 7 does it simply and elegantly," said Bajarin.

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Apple Mac Pro

The Pro features next-generation Intel Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, Thunderbolt 2 and PCIe-based storage. It's 2.5 times faster than the current Pro, delivers 7 teraflops of compute power and is "one-eighth the volume" of the current Pro—which is an odd measure, until one sees the Pro. It's a 9.9-inch-tall shiny, black cylinder that looks like a white-wine chiller.

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Apple Mac Pro

The Twitterverse, by turns, called the Mac Pro design an efficient use of space, a turbine, an umbrella holder and a coffee carafe, among other things. Ovum's Dawson said it looks like Apple is "abandoning its hardcore creative users in favor of mainstream users." The smaller size, he added, means "additional hard drives and other hardware will have to sit outside the enclosure."

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iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio is a free service (with ads) that features all the music in the iTunes Store, more than 200 stations and the ability for users to make their own stations. The songs of top-selling artists will get a "first listen" feature, and with Siri integration users can tag or buy anything with one click.

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Pandora and Spotify Can Now Relax

"The iTunes Radio announcement turns out to be much ado about almost nothing," said Forrester analyst James McQuivey. While "perfectly adequate" for iTunes users, it doesn't change the game or move it forward, he added. Assuming Apple doesn't remove their apps from its store, "Spotify and Pandora have little to worry about from Apple."

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Apple MacBook Air

At a glance, the new MacBook Air looks much the same. But it's now 45 percent faster and features dramatically improved battery life. The 13-inch model can get up to 12 hours, while the 11-inch model can get up to 9. New Intel HD Graphics 5000 is said to make gaming and graphics-intensive apps 40 percent faster.

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Apple MacBook Air

The new MacBook Air, says Ovum's Dawson, is further evidence that, "[f]or all that competitors copy the look of Apple's computers, Apple itself is still ahead in terms of performance. ... Even when competitors start to adopt Intel's Haswell hardware, they will struggle to match the overall performance."

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OS X Mavericks

Apple gave its tenth major OS release 200 new features, including the ability to tag all kinds of documents, for easy searching; Tabs in the Finder and a Finder Sidebar; and support for multiple high-definition displays. It also incorporated iBooks and Maps. With the addition of the latter, the Calendar can now account for travel time.

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iCloud, Meet iKeychain

Mavericks also includes iCloud Keychain. Apple wants to be a high-encrypted vault for users' Website logins and passwords, as well as credit card information and expiration dates. It'll even suggest passwords.

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Calendar, Multiple Monitors

Here, Apple's Craig Federighi shows off Mavericks' Multiple Display capabilities. Gartner Research Vice President Carolina Milanesi tweeted, "Multiple displays are the future of computing and Apple addresses usability around that by giving [you] full menus on all screens—nice."

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Coming This Fall

Apple said OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 will arrive this fall—a bit of surprise, as many expected a new iPhone this summer. With the timeframe, "Apple acknowledges that Samsung will win its share of the business," said Technology Business Research Analyst Jack Narcotta. "But it's content to use the summer to make the software great right out of the gate."

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