The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is that special time of year when everyone in your company’s tech department turns their chat to “unavailable” and watches intently as Apple unveils their latest innovations. This year’s conference kicked off on June 10th with the customary keynote unfurling some notable announcements surrounding core Apple products.
Apple confirmed the rumors about iOS 7, announcing the completely redesigned operating system will make its debut this fall. You’ll notice the substantial cosmetic changes before the functional ones. Apple has taken a cue from Microsoft’s Metro interface and gone with a clean and simple look that eschews skeuomorphism for a “flatter” design.
The iOS core functionality has also received some much needed attention. These updates include the new Control Center, which allows you to access the device settings with a simple swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Automatic app updates also find their way to the feature list.
Despite the absence of a cat-themed moniker, Apple continues to push the boundaries of mobile and desktop integration with their latest OS X, Mavericks. Coming this fall, Mavericks will include tighter communication with iOS devices, allowing apps like Apple Maps to easily share directions and notifications between phones and computers.
The tech giant has also joined forces with car manufacturers including Nissan, Honda, Mercedes and Ferrari to develop iOS in the Car, an in-dash system that interfaces seamlessly with iOS devices. Siri looks to play a large role here by allowing hands-free command of your vehicle’s infotainment system with an iOS 7 device.
Although there were plenty of iOS enhancements, Apple’s WWDC keynote was light on mobile hardware announcements. Recent rumors suggested we might catch a glimpse of the iPhone 5 successor or possibly a new iPad configuration. Along the same lines, products like Google Glass prompted suspicion of a possible Apple competitor in the wearable tech arena. Alas, the WWDC keynote came and went without a hint of such devices.
Apple also announced a striking new redesign of the Mac Pro, featuring a curiously cylindrical form, and the MacBook Air, now with a battery-friendly Haswell Intel processors. The new processor provides up to five hours of additional battery life, faster processing power and beefier graphics, thanks to the integrated Intel HD 5,000.
All in all, this year’s WWDC was about even on hits and misses. The Twittersphere seemed pretty jazzed about the streamlined iOS 7 design, playful interactions, iCloud Keychain, automatic App updates, new Siri voices and AirDrop. But they were less than impressed by the lack of Siri APIs, an unnecessary lock screen UI, the stagnant App Store and iPhone designs, an abundance of neon and the new Safari icon.
One thing’s for sure, Apple’s WWDC hasn’t been the same since the untimely passing of Steve Jobs. Neither has the company.