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Apple WWDC 2013 Impression

10 Jun

The streaming keynote is up at Apple.

The keynote started with a video about design and feeling, emphasizing that unlike other companies, Apple doesn’t just churn out products after products, that each Apple products involved something more. Pretty cool message, considering how people and the tech “journalists” are whining about Apple not innovating anymore because they don’t ship products every other month like Samsung. Also, looks like each Apple videos now will end with “Designed by Apple in California,” a PR spin, considering that most of Apple products are made in China.

Just with any Apple keynotes, it started with Apple stores’ experience, how great the app store, etc. Tim Cook looked more comfortable, but it’s hard to match the Steve Jobs’ energy on past keynotes.

First is demo of anki drive, a car toy using robotics technology and controlled by iOS. There was an almost demo fail. Neat idea showing what kind of uses iDevices can be, but this is probably going to be just an expensive toy. I want to see more medical devices powered by iOS as promised a while back.

Next, the Mac. As expected, new OS X. Running out of cat names? OS X Sea Lion? Well, nope. It’s OS X Mavericks. What is Mavericks? I guess it’s a surfing spot in California. New features. First Finder Tabs. Although navigating the Finder has been okay thanks to Expose, I guess having tabs will make things much easier if you want to have more than one Finder window open. Next, Tagging. Err, yeah, how many people tag their stuff? I don’t even tag my photos, let alone documents. Heck, I even have trouble tagging my blog posts. It is a refinement of color labels, not a completely new thing. In my view, this is a baby step towards going away from the standard file system. If we tag our files properly, we wouldn’t need folders anymore as the system can just rely on the tags.

Next, multiple display. Well, ever since OS X has full screen mode, it breaks multiple display feature. So Apple fix it by releasing a new OS. Meanwhile, Windows has been doing this just fine for a while. The menu and dock now can be easily accessible on any screens, and going full screen doesn’t blank out the other display. In fact, you can have two full screen apps at two monitors. Gee, what a concept. The amazing thing is, you can use Airplay to initiate multiple screen mode, meaning you can use the Apple TV-connected TV as another monitor. Frame rate seems low though as it’s going through LAN/wifi.

Other under the hood improvements, better power and memory management. Considering Apple is still shipping Macs with just 4GB of RAM, I guess they better make the OS more efficient.

New Safari. Again, focus seems to be, again, on power saving and memory management. I hope Apple can release this new Safari to older OS versions. I mean it’s silly to require a new OS just for a new browser. The power management demo is cool though. The endless scrolling for reading list is great, if you use the reading list.

iCloud keychain. I thought Apple has this already. Heck, even back in .Mac days, I think I can already sync keychains with all my Macs. I’m guessing it’s new for Safari instead of OS level.

More push notifications for OS X, appears in lock screen.

Next, calendar. No more skeumorphism. It also integrates direction and traffic time, pretty neat. Maps app for OS X, and integration to maps on iOS. Awesome. iBooks for OS X. Great app for taking notes (instead of using Preview) if it supports your own PDFs and documents.

Next, Phil Schiller with new Macbook Airs. As expected, Haswell, 802.11ac. Better battery life. New Airport Extreme base station, as expected also, 802.11ac. Also Time Capsule versions. Phil seems to be rushing through this, as if they are not that important. He didn’t even bother to do a spec list as usual.

And, oh, new Mac Pro. A sneak peek. A future for the pro desktop. It’s a cylinder, a lot smaller than the previous Mac Pro. “Can’t innovate more my ass,” said Phil. Specs galore, Xeon, flash storage, Thunderbolt 2, dual workstation GPUs. No price announced, other than it’s assembled in the US. All I know is that this will cost a dear fortune. If you want expansion and more storage, you have to rely on external devices. Doesn’t look like it has any optical drives.

Tim is back with iCloud. New iWork… for iCloud. I think they did a demo just to show that if you are a Windows user, you can still use iWork via your browser. Supported browser listed are just IE, Safari, and Chrome? No Firefox? Boo. 😦

Next, iOS 7, the most “advance” mobile OS (yet it still cannot do shuffle-by-album, a basic iPod feature on the iPod Classic, go figure). Cook keeps bashing Android, how not many users on the latest version. And ooohhh, he said “fragmentation.” Burn. 😀 But hey Apple, you are going to ditch 4th gen iPod Touch from iOS 7… so… yeah.

So, iOS7, biggest change since the iPhone. Err… what? The new rumored flat look is here. New phones, more transparency, animated wallpaper. Oh, the wallpaper can tilt back and forth and sideways…. 🙄 The Calendar app looks nicer. New game center, iBooks, no more skeumorphism. Yay. The signal bar is just dots now.

The new slide to unlock feels like Touch Wiz or Windows Phone. New animations on weather app. Cleaner calendar look. Transparency galore. Wonder how the old iPhone 4 would handle this. Multiple pages inside folder (sweet). Notification has Today’s view, kinda like Google Now. Notification can be accessed on the lock screen, hopefully this can be disabled due to privacy concerns.

Control center. Yes, finally, quick access to settings like wifi, airplane mode, brightness (YES!), and music control. Kinda like… Android. Intelligent scheduling for all apps multitasking. Doesn’t sound good to me. Sounds like it’s a scheme to screw the older iPhones that may suffer in battery life, so they would get the upcoming new iPhone. New app switcher… I mean multitasking screen. Looks like… WebOS or Windows Phone. Nothing too exciting, swipe up to close apps instead of holding the icon. Full-scren Safari, new switching tabs, looks like the old Windows Vista flip 3D.

AirDrop. Finally, file sharing between iOS devices. Peer to peer wifi. No need for bumping your phone. Ouch. Very limited iDevice support though, only the iPhone 5, 4th gen iPad, iPad mini, and 5th gen Touch. So yeah, a lot of devices are left out, including the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S. 😦

New camera app. Live(!) photo filters, and easier to access panorama feature. Photo app has moments, same idea as events on iPhoto. So why can’t Apple simply combine these two apps in one? More iCloud based photo sharing, but that is assuming all your family and friends are on iOS.

New Siri is now full screen. Choice between female and male. Siri can control the phone hardware too. Twitter, wikipedia, and… bing(!) integration. Yeah, the enemy of my enemy (Google) is my friend. Car integration. This is great, as iOS took over the car’s interface, where most manufactures cannot even do it right after all these years. Of course, it’s coming for 2014 models on some cars. 😦

New app store feature, apps near me. Useful when traveling. Auto update apps. Sounds good and people were cheering, but wait a minute. Some apps actually reduce features on their updates, or, some even broken with developers recommending users to not update until they submitted a newer update. Doesn’t sound like a good idea.

iTunes Radio. Apple’s version of spottily-like service, built-in to the music app. Comes with ads. If you subscribe to iTunes match, it’s ad-free. Meh. I doubt it will have any music that I want.

Notification sync, which is highly welcomed. Many China focused features (Apple is really warming up to China). Activation lock, where you need your iCloud username and password to activate a phone, even if it’s completely wiped. Well, how about if I want to sell the phone? This is sketchy, and hopefully it is user controlled. I don’t want to have to call Apple just to sell my iPhone.

Beta for iPhone available. Beta for iPad coming up. Release in the fall (in time for new iDevices). 4th gen iPod Touch is dropped. The last A4 device supported is the iPhone 4. iPad 2 and up, iPad mini, and the 5th gen Touch are supported. Of course, many of these won’t get some features like the Airdrop.

If you noticed, they only show the white iPhone 5 so far. Yes, even on Apple’s website, they only feature the white iPhone 5 on iOS 7. Sure, it looks great with the white background of the OS, but what does it mean? That it won’t look great on the black iPhone? Interesting. I hope there’s a way to invert the theme (white on black) so it will look just as nice on the black iPhone.

Anyway, how’s my prediction? I was right about the new Macbook Air, but I thought Apple would refresh all their other lineup. I was right that they are releasing new Airport Extreme base station, but I didn’t expect them to announce a new Mac Pro. And as expected, no new iDevices.

Well, there you go. Another fun keynote. I’m still running Lion on my iMac. The Finder tabs might be useful, but is it worth upgrading the whole OS? Maybe for the Maps app? Apple didn’t announce a price, but I’m sure it’s going to be inexpensive as Apple is making money on the hardware. iOS 7 has expected and welcomed UI changes, but it seems Apple is really pushing people to buy the latest iDevices. I am concerned with battery life on older ones, especially with the different approach to multi-tasking, although who knows, maybe it will actually improve battery life. Nonetheless, a fresh UI is good to shut the tech bloggers up about iOS being stale.

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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in apple, impression, Keynote

 

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