Apple’s 2013 World Wide Developers Conference

World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC 2013) ThumbnailThe World Wide Developers Conference is where Apple shows off its new toys. It’s also a mecca for developers. The week long conference is a place where tech-head can learn about Apple technology. It’s serious business. Even at $1600 a ticket, the event was sold out in little over a minute. So, it’s no surprise that I didn’t attend. However, I did watch the Keynote speech online and I liked what I saw. I’ve been wondering if Apple can survive in a post-Jobs era. Today, I saw encouraging signs that it can.

OS X – Apparently, Apple is breaking from the tradition of naming their operating systems after cats. Instead, Apple is trying to emphasize that it’s a Californian company. To prove this, the next version of OS X is called “Mavericks”. After the crushing defeat of John McCain and Sarah Palin in the 2008 Presidential Election, it’s a surprising choice of words. It seemed like things were off to a bad start.

Whatever, I can just call it 10.9. What are the new features? Honestly, they felt minimal. Tabbed finder windows, improved support for multiple displays and minor tweaks to Safari didn’t impress me all that much. What impressed me was Craig Federighi. He showed a passion similar to Steve Jobs. The main difference was that Craig was very funny. I liked how he made snide comments about Android and how he was playful with the audience. He added the charisma and energy that makes Apple cool.

iBooks – This announcement had me second guessing my exit from iTunes. Apparently, an iBooks app is on the way to OS X. That means millions of Mac laptops and desktops will be able to read content from the iBookstore. This creates opportunity for my publications.

Mac Pro – The MacBook Air was refreshed with a better processor and longer battery life, but I wasn’t readying my credit card to purchase the new hardware. No, the Mac Pro looked more interesting to me. While significantly smaller than the cheese grater style Mac Pro, the newer mode has significantly more power and a radically new design. It’s cylinder shaped with a thermal core in the center. Price wasn’t announced, but I imagine this will be far more expensive than a Mac mini. While I think it could be cool to have 12 cores of processing power, my old 2009 Mac Mini is still getting the job done.

iOS 7 – I was a bit concerned when I heard Apple was giving my iPhone a “flat” look. Skeuomorphism was out. Instead, iOS was given a clean design. While I liked the torn paper edges in the Notes app, I do feel that the new look is better. I like the parallax effect, which slightly changes the position of the background based on how the iOS device is held. I also like the unified approach, instead of a hodgepodge of apps.

iWork – I use Pages a lot. I think Keynote and Numbers are also suitable alternatives to their Microsoft counterparts. I was surprised to see that iWork is moving into the cloud. I can edit my documents from a Mac or Window computer. That’s quite convenient, as I’m no longer tied to my Mac desktop to get my books done.

iTunes Radio – I listen to a lot of music during the day… especially while driving and work. That’s why I like the idea of iTunes Radio. $25 a year for commercial-free music could be pretty cool. Even if I don’t spend the cash for an annual subscription, it might be alright with advertisements. I don’t know because it hasn’t been released yet. In fact, most of the stuff announced today won’t be fully available until the fall.

That’s when I started to wonder if I should take advantage of my Apple Developer account. I could get an early look at the latest operating systems. I think I can wait.

But after the hype started to wear off, I started wondering about what I didn’t see. Microsoft released more information about the XBOX One at the E3 expo today, so why is Apple holding back with the Apple TV? It’s trivial to turn that device into a game console. So, where’s the Apple TV app store? Additionally, where’s the iWatch? With thousands of developers at the ready, I’m surprised that Apple didn’t unleash such awesome power.