Apple focused much of its time at its Worldwide Developers Conference opening keynote June 10 on software by announcing a new version of iOS, as well as a new OS X, called Mavericks.
Still, the company found time to discuss other important topics, including how it believes it’s doing a better job than Android in the mobile space and Windows in the desktop market. Apple even gloated about its prominence in the design space.
Still, there were some important new products that stole the show, one being a new Mac Pro that will ship this fall that looks downright beautiful for power users. And then there’s Apple’s completely redesigned iOS 7, which received a standing ovation at the keynote. And the company is now a Pandora competitor with a new service, called iTunes Radio.
Once again, Apple delivered some surprises. And once again, there were some glaring no-shows, such as the lack of the rumored iPhone trade-in program and the iPhone 5S. All in all, though, Apple made a strong showing at its WWDC keynote.
Here are the key takeaways from Apple’s 2013 WWDC keynote:
1. Apple is paying serious cash to developers
The company announced on June 10 at its WWDC keynote that it’s App Store is a huge revenue generator for developers. In fact, Apple has paid out over $10 billion to developers in the last five years its app marketplace has been open. What’s more, it accounts for about three-quarters of all revenue given to mobile developers. Not bad.
2. So long, cats. Hello, OS X Mavericks
Apple has decided to ditch its long-standing “cat”-themed operating system names with a new one focused on California landmarks. This one is named Mavericks, which is the Pacific coast surfing grounds a few miles south of San Francisco famed for its monstrous waves that draw the world’s best surfers to an annual wintertime competition. With Mavericks, users will find tab support in Finder, the ability to tag documents for easier access to them later on and better support for multiple-display setups.
3. Apple’s continued desire to deliver some, but not all, features
Apple has an uncanny ability to deliver products each year that, in one way or another, fail to deliver all of the features customers are after. In this year’s software releases, the company showed off several features— such as tabbed browsing in Finder and better CPU usage on Mavericks—that should have been available in Mountain Lion. It would be nice to see Apple just once deliver everything customers want and not just some of those things so the company can bundle the upgrades into a “new” OS next year that customers are forced to buy if they want such improvements.
4. iCloud is very important
Apple spent a considerable amount of time talking about the ways in which iCloud can be used to enhance the overall experience of using its products. One of the most important features is iCloud Keychain. That feature not only automatically saves passwords from the browser, but also suggests passwords for users that they won’t need to remember because iCloud is safeguarding it for them. iCloud Keychain can even keep credit card information on file to make it easy to buy products.
Apple’s WWDC 2013 Opening Keynote: 10 Important Takeaways
5. iOS and OS X are coming together
Apple clearly wants to continue to blur the line between iOS and OS X. The company announced that in Mavericks, several formerly iOS-only applications, including Maps and iBooks, will be available in OS X. The company also updated handling of notifications, background app updates and more. There’s also an easy way to transfer content between the operating systems, thanks to AirDrop. iOS and OS X are coming closer together.
6. Macs weren’t forgotten
Apple loves its MacBook Air. The company announced at WWDC that it has updated its MacBook Air lineup with a better, more powerful processor. The computers also come with faster WiFi, thanks to 802.11ac, and have extended battery lives. With a starting price of $999, the devices are affordable for notebook buyers.
7. Power users are finally happy with Apple again
After years of waiting, Apple has decided to update its high-end desktop, the Mac Pro. The computer was given a grand entrance at the show and is entirely cylindrical. At first glance, the computer appears to be one of the most beautifully designed products Apple has ever announced. The desktop will run the latest-generation Xeon processors, will boast faster memory and will have the latest flash storage. It’s also the first Mac to come standard with dual workstation GPUs. The Mac Pro will launch later this year.
8. Apple takes the fight to Android
Apple CEO Tim Cook targeted Android and its chronic fragmentation for quite some time at WWDC. He pointed out that while 93 percent of iOS users are employing the latest version, just one-third are on the latest Android version. Apple execs also noted that iOS users are more likely to surf the Web, use apps and buy products. If Apple is to be the judge, Android doesn’t stack up to iOS.
9. Jonathan Ive got his way with iOS
Apple’s iOS 7 is a huge design shift that Apple says is far simpler and totally redesigned. The operating system uses transparency to help users see more of what’s on the screen, and they can adjust the icons to the angle at which the software is viewed. The operating system was redesigned by the company’s design guru Jonathan Ive, and the latest features come by way of Craig Federhigi. Even the built-in applications are completely redesigned.
10. Apple is trying to kill Pandora
One of the last announcements at WWDC was iTunes Radio—Apple’s long-awaited streaming music service. The application is designed to take on Pandora, and allows users to access songs and stream them over the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The stations they choose can also be curated, similar to the way Pandora works. Apple was already in the music industry, but now the company is making a huge new move in that space. It should be interesting to see how this new venture in online music turns out.