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Apple unveils big plans for software, hardware for 2013

Philip Michaels | June 12, 2013
Apple product releases may have been few and far between so far in 2013. But if Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday is anything to go by, the company has put the time since its last major press event in October 2012 to good use.

Apple product releases may have been few and far between so far in 2013. But if Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday is anything to go by, the company has put the time since its last major press event in October 2012 to good use.

The company unleashed a torrent of announcements Monday, starting with a preview of the latest version of OS X and wrapping up some two hours later with a look at a substantial overhaul of iOS. And while much of what Apple showed off won't be available to the buying public until later in 2013--only the updated MacBook Air lineup and redesigned AirPort products shipped on Monday--the WWDC keynote was a reminder that the company has big plans for the rest of the year. It also served as a rebuttal to Apple critics who've made note of the company's relative lack of product news in recent months.

"Can't innovate any more, my ass," Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller snarled when showing off a redesigned Mac Pro on Monday--a not-at-all subtle poke at an increasingly common critique of the company among the Internet's chattering classes.

OS overhauls
The biggest news on Monday centered around Apple's pair of operating systems--OS X and iOS--and their forthcoming updates, both slated for the fall. iOS gets the more dramatic makeover--CEO Tim Cook called the iOS 7 updated the "biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iPhone." That does not appear to be marketing spin. But OS X saw its share of changes, too, putting to rest any notion that Apple's Mac operating system was fated to play second fiddle to its mobile counterpart.

The first thing you'll notice in OS X is a change to the naming convention. The cavalcade of cats that have marked OS X updates since the operating system's 2001 debut have given way code names based on inspiring places in California--hence, Monday's unveiling of OS X Mavericks, named after a picturesque surfing spot in Northern California.

There's more to OS X Mavericks than just a name change, though. Highlights include Finder tabs (which let you combine multiple Finder windows into a single tabbed interface) and Finder tags (a more modern way of categorizing files). Mavericks improves support for multiple displays--a much-requested feature among power users--and sports a number of under-the-hood enhancements aimed at boosting OS X's performance. There's also a new version of Safari, while Calendar gets a design overhaul that will certainly please critics of the current skeumorphic look-and-feel. Mavericks also introduces Mac versions of Maps and iBooks.

 

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