Thoughts on WWDC

This year was very out of the ordinary for Apple, at least in my mind. It started when the page went live on www.apple.com. The image was completely different, it was colourful, vivid. It used a light font. It screamed “this is new”. Rampant speculation occurs. Then WWDC rolls around.

I’ll start with Mac. Mavericks came out, starting a new line of names because they ran out of cats. In my mind, as I type this on Mavericks B1, this is a very major behind the scenes update, without much of a surface change. The battery life got a major upgrade, which should go hand in hand with some of the stuff that I’ll talk about later. iBooks for Mac is also great for a student like me. Maps is kind of unneeded, but also a nice addition.

Then they announced the new Macbook Air. Apple has been very slowly iterating on the leading ultrabook and all around laptop on the planet, and this year is a huge one. Intel’s new Haswell processors push the battery life up to a claimed 12 hours, but early testing shows that the battery actually far exceeds that, with The Verge gettings 13.5 hours and PCMag almost hitting 16. This is definitely a nice upgrade, especially when it goes hand in hand with Mavericks. Then they announced the new Mac Pro, which is an amazing feat of engineering even if it does look a bit like a trashcan.

Then, iOS 7. This is what everyone was waiting to see and boy did Apple deliver. In a mere 7 months they completely redesigned the OS from the ground up and threw in a few new features to boot. It is still very unfinished, as you can see from the icons on the homescreen, but it is a huge update that the Apple team working under design guru Jony Ive should be proud of. Let’s hope they keep working on it to make it even better. As an Android user it is tempting me to switch, even though it is apparent where some of the new design features came from (Android).

Overall, this was a great WWDC – one I think that Apple, for once, over-delivered on the hype. I’m looking forward to see how all of these products do in the real world, especially iOS 7. Who knows, I might get an iPhone 5S.

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Apple ousts Google Maps with a home-grown system for iOS 6

Apple has announced that it will be removing Google Maps from its native application in iOS and will be replacing it with its own mapping system with the upcoming launch of iOS 6 this autumn for iPhone 3GS onwards, iPad 2, iPad (3rd generation) and iPod Touch (4th generation). It will include its own high quality 3D mode, and by all accounts it does pretty much exactly what Google Maps did, only in an interface that Apple think is far superior.

In the mean time, Google has been developing their own software on Android and both companies have been reported to have used fleets of planes that have ruffled the feathers of some privacy campaigners who complained having noticed an increase in airspace activity while tracking the movements of several large companies. Apple are set to create yet anouther easy to use and beautful app that will undoubtedly do its job very well. It is another example of Apple showing that making their products integratable with existing platforms is not the only field they are improving, but also the Apple universe that will one day probably be able to exist independently to every other system of computing there is. My concern is that Google has such a solid base, and with a single account you can connect all of Google’s existing services such as Gmail, Drive, YouTube and +, making them easier to use and more efficient for the user. That said Apple have added mapping support to Siri, the “eyes free” system which Apple is rumoured to have been working on with car manufacturers to develop add buttons for in new cars, allowing for a hands free, voice activated GPS and phone.

I think that Apple’s new mapping system will be good because things that come out of Apple are generally well received and the response by Google will probably improve on what they have now, which can only be a good thing for map users. If users wish to return to using Google Maps or use a different platform entirely, they should have the option to do it through the App Store, as there are a number of map apps available for the platform. Apple’s eyes free integration, however, is very promising, and it is very probable that it means Google Maps is on its way out for many Apple users. Apple’s initiative has yet again shown the company’s ability to remake everything in the image of their own minds.

WWDC in 5 word sentences

That screen sounds absolutely incredible.
You can talk to iPads.
USB 3.0 is now infiltrating.
Nobody likes massively oversized laptops.
Siri likes fridges, mocks Samsung.
Open Monsters Ate My Condo.
The Mac Pro isn’t dead!
Why did you expect iPhones?
Maps are the way forward.
Apple will survive without Steve.
FaceTime over cellular is pointless.
Want Ivy Bridge with that?
Sharing from notifications is egotistical.
Facebook is still a thing.
At least Ping is dead.

Techslice: The new iPhone rumour mill

Techslice is a column by Ali Wilson. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

In October 2011, Apple released their latest iPhone: the iPhone 4S. A lot of people were disappointed with the result that came 18 months after the 4 and were expecting something a bit more, well, new. By sight, the iPhone 4S is the same as its predecessor, the iPhone 4. The only major differences for a year of development were a dual-core A5 processor from the iPad 2, Siri and 3 additional megapixels in the camera.

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So with so few differences in the last upgrade, we are expecting great things from the iPhone 5/iPhone 4G/iPhone 6/new iPhone. There has been a concept design released and, as you can see, it does look very different to the previous model.

iPhone 5

Straight away, the first thing we notice is potential design overhaul of the new iPhone. Apple may reverted towards their old curved design from the original models. The shape is a lot less square and is much more rounded, a lot like the new Samsung Galaxy S III. The screen size may increase from the current 3.5″, with rumours circling that Apple may enlarge it to a whopping 4.8″, although Steve Jobs would turn in his grave. He was in staunch opposition to larger screens as he (rightly) thought that they made the iPhone resemble an Android phone.

The sixth installment to the iPhone series is said to be being released just over a year after its older brother. It was thought that if it was released earlier, then the new iPad’s sales would not be as high. Apple have therefore left a six-month gap between the iPad and the iPhone’s release. It is rumoured for early October 2012.

So, if you’re thinking of investing in an iPhone 4S, think again. It should be worth the wait of (potentially) just six months, because Apple could change everything. Again.