aNewDomain.net — WWDC 2013, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, is now underway in San Francisco. Apple’s announcement of its new Apple iOS 7 mobile operating system is riveting news for most attendees here. Available to developers now and on Apple mobile devices this fall, execs said its new design will be the single biggest UI overhaul ever.
It looks cleaner, no question. But deeper, more noteworthy changes include an upgraded Safari browser, the iCloud Keychain feature, support for AirDrop, new gesture-based commands — and the option to hear Siri speak in a male voice. And he — or she — will recognize more words and commands.
Other notable changes: Apps will update automatically in iOS 7 and, arguably, more intelligently. Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch systems with iOS 7 will update apps customers use most frequently. And the new operating system, execs told the crowd in San Francisco, will now support full multitasking.
Apple also announced that its Apple iPhone will get an Activation Lock that, because it requires logging in, will deter thieves, execs said. Also, motion sensors will now track the Apple iPhone in your hand to perform certain functions — this is something already existing in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Another welcome change is the Control Center. This lets you swipe up with your thumb as a quicker way to get to Settings. Also, the camera app will have live photo filters and feature photo-sharing options and photo editing directly in the app.
Apple execs also, as predicted, announced a version of iTunes Radio that will be integrated across all devices. Like Pandora, it will be available as a free ad-supported service and as an ad-free paid version.
New versions of iWork for the Cloud will also be available. These programs will work entirely in the browser, but it will look just like the apps on a desktop.
Windows users will be able to run them, too, and they will be more compatible with Microsoft programs overall. For instance, Pages for iCloud will be able to edit Microsoft Word documents and Numbers for iCloud will work with Microsoft Excel files.
It’s been a long time since Apple updated its desktop computer, but the crowd at WWDC got a sneak preview of the new Mac Pro. It will be brimming with power and will even support multiple 4K displays. This new Mac Pro will be only one-eighth the size of the current Mac Pro, and it will measure only 9.9 inches high. Some liken its shape to a bullet and its looks to Darth Vader’s helmet. True, that.
Other hardware announcements included a wider range of Airport Extremes, some with 2TB and 3TB drives. MacBook Airs will be getting the Intel Haswell processor that unleashed recently, an improvement that promises to bring customers up to a full day of battery life.
And the Cat Dynasty bit the dust. Apple’s new Apple OS X will be called OS X Mavericks — the name refers to the mega surf waves in California.
It seems like it was just a few years ago that Apple iOS was borrowing things from OS X. Now the tide has turned with Apple OS X borrowing things from Apple iOS.
For example, Apple execs announced that the new Apple iBooks app will now work on OS X-based Macs. And Maps for OS X now will feature the ability to share locations with mobile devices. It will also support tagging to help you find files more easily.
All in all, Apple’s changes will be quite noticeable. Except for the Mac Pro, they may not prove to be earthshaking, but will be welcome by iPhone, iPad, and Mac users everywhere.
Based in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sandy Berger is a veteran tech journalist and senior editor at aNewDomain.net covering tech tips and tricks, apps, gadgets and consumer electronics. Email her at Sandy@aNewDomain.net. Follow her on Twitter @sandyberger, +SandyBerger on Google+, and www.facebook.com/sandyberger on Facebook.