Apple touts next-generation OSs, Mac Pro

Apple Inc. has answered critics who have complained the company has been sitting on its laurels, announcing an overhaul of its iOS mobile and OS X desktop operating systems, and updated Macbook Air with an all day battery and a cylinder-shaped Mac Pro.

The deluge came Monday at its annual WorldWide Developers Conference, outlined by Candice So, a writer at our sister publication

In Apple’s words, iOS7 – to be released in the fall for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and iPod Touch fifth generation – is “designed with subtle motion, an elegant color palette and distinct, functional layers that make it feel more alive.”

More significantly, it has two features that bring the iPhone into the modern era – several apps can be open at once, and there’s a notification centre that like BlackBerry 10’s Hub, brings notifications into one place.

The unusually-shaped Mac Pro is one-eighth the size of the current model and comes with Intel Xeon E5 processors, two AMD FirePro workstation graphic processors and flash storage. Apple [Nasdaq: APPL] says it’s enough to let users edit full resolution 4k video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background. However, there’s no room for extra drives: They’ll have to sit outside.

As for OS X, the next version is called Mavericks with some 200 new features.

One more thing: Rumour is the iPhone 5S will be released in the fall.

For Candice So’s story click here.

Industry analysts were quick to comment.

The new version of iOS is almost unrecognizable, wrote James Dawson, chief telecom analyst at Ovum, “which will make it polarizing. Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness.

“Finding your Settings app is hard when the icon has totally changed, and the many people who easily get disoriented by their gadgets may well have a negative experience. On the other hand, this is a clear statement from Apple that it acknowledges the need to refresh the user interface and is willing to do something pretty dramatic.

“Many of the new features Apple added to iOS 7 are fixes to problems rather than dramatic or clever new ideas – Notifications, Siri, and Multitasking enhancements and the introduction of Control Center all deal with deficiencies rather than providing surprising new features no-one would have thought of. The fact that neither iOS 7 isn’t coming until the fall is a disappointment from a user perspective, but the delay is necessary to give developers time to rework their apps to take advantage of the new operating system and fit in visually.

The Mavericks desktop OS is a good upgrade, he said, which continues with the iOS-ification of the Mac OS. The addition of Maps and iBooks and iOS integration for Notifications, Maps and other features are signs that Apple sees iOS as the future paradigm for all its operating systems, and it is driving a slow convergence towards that reality, he said.

“The new MacBook Airs are further evidence that for all that competitors copy the look of Apple’s computers, Apple itself is still ahead in terms of performance. The battery life improvements put it way ahead of other players in this space, and even when competitors start to adopt Intel’s Haswell hardware, they will struggle to match the overall performance.
On the other hand, Dawson wrote, the new Mac Pro “feels like another sign that Apple is abandoning its hardcore creative users in favor of mainstream users. Even though the new Mac Pro looks very different and stylish, the smaller size means that additional hard drives and other hardware will have to sit outside the enclosure. This feels like a poor tradeoff considering that most of these computers sit under, rather than on, desks in video editing and advertising firms around the world.”


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