WWDC Keynote: Impressions

The Apple Keynote just completed at WWDC, and there was a lot of exciting things announced. The Macbook Air will now have all day battery life, which is something I've wanted in a laptop for a long time. OS X will be named Mavericks, having run out of big cats, and has a lot of awesome new features. OS X Server has some new features like Cache Server and Xcode Server, which look very exciting. iOS 7 looks awesome, clean, and has quite a few new services that make sharing easy between devices. And, of course, the new Mac Pro teaser to keep us excited about this new device.

First, let me talk about the few points that I really like that was revealed:

  • iOS 7: Everything about iOS 7 looks awesome. I like the new design, I like the new direction. It's definitely different, more modern-looking, but won't alienate any long time users that I can see. It's an upgrade to make one glad to own an iOS device. The cool thing is that it's compatible with iPhone 4 and later, and iPad 2 and later. That means a lot of people are going to be very happy with this new upgrade.
  • OS X Mavericks: The name isn't that big of a deal, I suppose, but it's odd to think the big cats are gone. Still, the back end upgrades are great, and I'm looking forward to using the new OS.
  • OS X Server on OS X Mavericks: This one was not directly mentioned in the keynote that I recall, but after perusing the website I found a little blurb about it. And while I'm a big fan of OS X Server in general, the Xcode Server was pretty exciting, and the Caching Server caching your app downloads was pretty cool too. I'm looking forward to seeing the server in action.
  • Macbook Air: Performance hasn't always been a concern for my laptop usage. Generally I'm showing stuff either on a server, through a Keynote presentation, or editing documents. Occasionally I'll do some video editing in Final Cut Pro X, but not much. So the real news here for me was the battery life. 9 hours for the 11 inch, and 12 hours for the 13 inch! That's huge battery life boosts, and makes traveling and working on a laptop that much easier. Granted, I've started migrating a lot of my laptop usage to iPad, but it's awesome to see that when it calls for a laptop, Macbook Air will have the juice when I need it.
  • The New Mac Pro: I don't have a Mac Pro. I haven't had a tower since my last beige beast running Linux died. Since then it's been laptops or our iMac, with plans to get a Mac Mini Server should we ever need one. Part of that is because of the cost, I just can't justify a $2500 computer, no matter the performance. But this one, reminiscent of the G4 Cube in a way, gave me pause for thought. It looks awesome, and running OS X it will perform well. The design is radical. I look forward seeing more about it.
  • iWork in the Cloud: Awesome. Just awesome. Finally, editing your documents on the go from any computer, any browser. This is what I wanted in iWork for a long time, and we finally got it.

Okay, those are general impressions, now let's talk about iOS 7 specifics. I mentioned that I love the clean design, which I do. With less visual clutter, it lets you focus on the task at hand. But what's more, the new features that I love are Control Center, changes to Multitasking, AirDrop, and iTunes Radio.

  • Control Center: One frustration I have had for a while is trying to quickly change WiFi settings in iOS. You can't, unless you are already in your Settings. Control Center changes that, and it looks great. It's obviously an answer to "what about sound/brightness/audio controls with the new multitasking tools?", and it's better than what we currently have. I like the swipe up from the bottom for access, I like that it takes up a lot of room so you have more room for tools. All in all, it's a great piece of work. Well done Apple!
  • Multitasking: This is definitely way better than prior iterations. It's somewhat reminiscent of WebOS in a way, if anyone remembers. I liked the way WebOS handled multitasking, so it's exciting to see something similar show up here. I can't wait to see it in action.
  • AirDrop: This is huge, this is what makes an iOS device more like a computer, and less like a phone or tablet. Sending files from any application to someone else using AirDrop changes a lot, simplifying the process of sharing files with others. Granted, they need to have a compatible iOS or Mac device, but still, it's a huge step forward. Next, AirDrop for Windows/Linux maybe?
  • iTunes Radio: I love music, and I love a lot of music, I just don't much care for most of the popular stuff out there. My tastes are very specific, so I've been relegated to apps like Pandora and Last.FM to listen to new music. It's been great, but makes a wish list for that music more complicated. iTunes Radio fixes that, simplifying the process of marking music for purchase later.

So that's it for first impressions. But what about my disappointments?

  • Apple TV: I didn't see anything about the Apple TV. Perhaps I'm just anxious, and any new news about the Apple TV will come in the Fall with the new iOS devices, but I wanted to hear some news about the Apple TV getting an app store. Here's hoping!
  • New Server Hardware: Still no new server hardware. To date it was pretty much left up to the Mac Pro and the Mac Mini, but with the new design of the Mac Pro, it's clear Apple doesn't want it in a rack, but on a desk. That leaves just the Mac Mini, which requires third party hardware to mount in a rack (though three in the same rack, so that's something). There's so much more that could be done, but I guess it's just not meant to be.