After weeks of rumours, speculation and gossiping Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference began in San Francisco yesterday. With absolutely no leaks from the company ahead of the conference (unlike at previous Apple events) there has been a lot of anticipation, even by Apple’s usual standards, simply because it’s been years since so little was known ahead of a big Apple event. So far the announcements have been nothing out of the ordinary. Many of Apple’s new products have been insinuated in different statements by Tim Cook and other senior figures.
Here is a quick countdown of Apple’s future releases.
As was expected Apple has launched a new version of iOS. New Head of Design Jonathan Ive has phased out the skeuomorphism (the use of leather, wood and other real-world inspired features in apps) favoured by Scott Forstall and has replaced it with subtle 3D effects and animation. New, thinner fonts and a brighter interface have also been introduced which gives iOS 7 a flatter, more functional appearance compared to its predecessor. A parallax effect where icons shift against the background image as an iPhone user tilts their handset one way or another, based on the feedback from the device’s accelerometer, has also been incorporated. Other features include wireless file sharing between phones, automatic app updates, the ability to carry out searches via Microsoft’s Bing service within the voice-controlled Siri app and an anti-theft measure which requires a user to enter an associated ID and password. The iOS 7 Control Centre can also be accessed from anywhere, even from a locked screen, and gives users instant access to the flashlight, brightness, volume, airplane mode and do not disturb.
A music streaming service, to challenge Google’s Play Music All Access, was widely anticipated and reported in The Guardian, Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal a week prior to the event. iTunes Radio will offer access to themed stations that can be tailored according to a person’s listening history on iTunes. The new service will be available once iOS 7 is released in the autumn and will be free for hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users. There are already 300 million iTunes users across the world which means that iTunes Radio could steamroll Spotify and Pandora. As Chris Cooke, Business Editor at the music industry news site CMU says; “If we are seeing a shift- which many in the industry think we are- from a situation where downloads are the norm to one where streaming becomes more popular, then Apple has a large audience which it can persuade that its streaming service is the one to shift to.” Apple’s service also has one or two advantages over Spotify; it is cheaper for users and does not have any limits on listening time per month.
Apple’s stations will be powered by its Genius service which scans users’ libraries to find songs that they typically play or own. The success of iTunes Radio will depend partly upon Apple’s ability to enter into contracts with record labels. This has not been a problem for Apple in the past and it has already secured agreements with some major labels in the US, including Sony. Some commentators, however, remain skeptical about the service’s ability to make revenue predominantly from advertising. This problem could be exacerbated by Apple providing an ad-free version of iTunes Radio to its Cloud Service subscribers.
Mac Pro Desktop
The Mac Pro Desktop is the next version of Apple’s operating system for Macintosh computers. Its aluminium cylinder encasing has a diameter of 6.6 inches and a height of 9.9 inches meaning that it won’t take up a lot of desk space. Its small size belies the amount of data it can store; it’s built around Intel’s new Xeon E5 chipset and has up to 40GB/s of PCI Express gen 3 bandwidth, and 256-bit-wide floating-point instructions. This gives the new Mac Pro twice the floating-point performance of the existing Mac Pro. The Xeon core is backed up by a four-channel DDR3 memory controller running at 1866MHz which will deliver up to 60GB/s of memory bandwidth. It features an array of ports- including built-in Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 ports. In terms of wireless technology it is kitted out with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The new software includes the ability to access the firm’s mapping software via a new app, read books brought from its iBooks store, and tag flies to make it easier to call up documents that share information in common.
Transitioning to iOS7
The digifi.it development team are already working on ensuring our apps take advantage of all the latest iOS7 features in readiness to it’s release this Autumn. Watch this space for further updates!