Today’s the big day for Apple fans. After months of almost complete silence, Cupertino is primed to release some big details about the future of its products at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). We’re bound to find out more about iOS 7 and Mac OS X 10.9, but hopefully we’ll see much more announced publicly.
[12:30PM ET] The ever-popular Apple rumor mill has everything from iRadio to the iWatch to the iPad 5 launching today, but that’s mostly wishful thinking. This is a developersconference, so we can expect the vast majority of the announcements to be directly related to new software and APIs. If there are any hardware announcements, we can expect them to be small-scale like a Haswell MacBook refresh.
No matter what Apple actually decides to shows on stage, we’re in for some exciting news today. We’ll be updating this post as new information is announced, so keep checking back for the latest details directly from Apple.
[12:55PM ET] Apple’s video stream is live. We’re currently listening to some hot jams and watching countless tech journalists take photos. It’s almost time for the keynote.
[01:10PM ET] After a short intro video, Tim Cook takes the stage to much applause. He opens with a bit of bragging about how big WDDC is. It’s the biggest developer conference in the world, and two-thirds of attendees are first-timers. Impressively, tickets sold out in just 71 seconds.
Apple retail stores see a million daily visitors now. That’s no surprise since Apple now has 407 brick and mortar stores in 14 countries. Meanwhile, the iOS App Store is about to reach its fifth birthday, and it just recently reach 50 billion downloads. It has 900,000 apps, 375,00 apps customized for iPads, and over 575,000,000 accounts. More importantly, Apple has paid developers 10 billion dollars to date — three times more than all other platforms combined.
[01:15PM ET] The folks at Anki come up on stage, and they show off their brand new Anki Drive product. These tiny self-driving toy cars use low-power Bluetooth to let the Anki iOS app serve and the AI for the navigation. It’s neat, but pretty nerdy stuff. Just right for a developer conference. This is a kind of augmented reality that is taken much farther than previous attempts. This is real-world video gaming live on display.
[01:30PM ET] Wow! The Mac now has 72 million users. Over the last five years, it has seen 100% growth. Mountain Lion shipped 28 million copies, and has reached 35% penetration. Cook then takes a moment to slyly mention Windows 8′s measly 5% penetration of the PC market.
Apple was running out of cat names, so it’s punching the eject button. Now, we have a new Mac OS X naming convention: California-based names. What’s the next Mac OS X name? OS X Sea Lion? Just kidding! It’s OS X Mavericks. It’s no OS X Grumpy Cat, but we’ll all survive.
In OS X Mavericks, we can expect a tabbed Finder, file tagging, and better multi-screen support. That’s right! The menu bar and dock now work across all of your displays. More importantly, you can now make an app fullscreen on one display while maintaining full access to your desktop on the other screen. These are big improvements, and it’s shocking how long it’s taken for Apple to implement these features. Don’t have a second monitor? No problem. Now, TVs connected to an Apple TV will function as a full-fledged secondary monitor.
[01:40PM ET] Now, we’re talking the underlying tech in OS X Mavericks. The big head-lining features are Compressed Memory, App Nap, OpenGL 4, and Timer Coalescing. The goal in these features is, obviously, to increase performance and reduce battery life. On the same hardware, Mavericks has 1.4 times better responsiveness under load than does Mountain Lion. Even SSD users will see better performance.
[02:00PM ET] OS X Mavericks also ships with iCloud Keychain — taking on LastPass and 1Password directly. Hopefully, it has a better uptime than Apple’s other online products.
The system notifications have been completely revamped as well. Notifications are no longer static. Right from the notification pop-up, you can reply to messages or answer a FaceTime call. Notifications will now show up on the lock screen, and it now auto-updates App Store apps in the background. Finally, system notifications don’t suck anymore.
No more leather UI in the Calendar. Take that, Scott Forstall! Maps makes its way to OS X, finally, and it syncs up with iOS as well. In addition, iBooks is coming to the Mac. It’s a bit depressing how long it takes Apple to push these features to OS X after their initial iOS release. iBooks is three years old now — it’s embarassing.
The OS X Mavericks beta starts today for paid developers, and OS X Mavericks will make its way to the public later this autumn.
[02:05PM ET] New hardware! The new 11-inch MacBook Air now lasts 9 hours on a single charge, and the 13-inch model will last upwards of 12 hours. Part of the increased battery life is due to the addition of 802.11ac support in these new models. Of course, this means there is a new AirPort Extreme with 802.11ac functionality to go with it.
Finally, we get to see the next Mac Pro. It’s a shiny black cylinder, and it looks really superb. It’s rocking a new Intel Xenon CPU — 2x faster than the previous gen, and it ships with 1866MHZ RAM. The flash storage is 2.5x faster than previous options. Unsurprisingly, it comes with Thunderbolt 2 support, so external devices will enjoy 20Gbps connection. Dual graphics cards (2.5x faster last-gen) will now come standard with the new Mac Pro. It will even support 3 separate 4K monitors. All of this comes in at one-eighth of the volume of the previous Mac Pro. This is an amazing jump forward for professional Mac users.
It sports HDMI out, gigabit ethernet, tons of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 ports. This is all wonderful, but we won’t get to see it until later this year. It will be made in America, though.
[02:15PM ET] iWork for iCloud now allows document editing in the web browser. IE, Chrome, and Safari are supported, and it’s available today for paid developers. The public will get access later this year.
[02:25PM ET] Now, it’s onto iOS. Tim Cook brags a bit about how much more people use iOS devices compared to competitors. More people browse the web and buy products with iOS devices than Windows Phone, Android, and Blackberry.
That’s not the end of the Android-bashing, though. Cook is going for Android’s jugular. 93% of iOS users are on the latest version. In comparison, Android is still widely splintered. Ouch.
iOS 7 is official, and now we get to watch a video featuring the notoriously sage-shy Jony Ive. Turns out, everything is far from flat.
[02:30PM ET] Instead of just copying the Metro UI, this looks like a whole new take on the classic iOS look. For example, as you tilt the iPhone, the internal sensors allow for the screen to simulate 3D-like visual shift. This is the opposite of what most rumors implied.
That said, the rumor mill got something right: Skeuomorphism is all gone. Now more wood, leather, or felt. This current team sure is sticking it to now-forgotten Forstall iOS design aesthetic. That said, it seems they are going very heavy on animation — everything you do is animated. It demos well, but let’s hope it doesn’t bog down the phone.
[02:40PM ET] Now, we’re onto new features. First off, it’s control center. Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and you get your settings. It even works on the lock screen.
All apps will be able to multitask now, but we’re supposedly still going to retain superb battery life. It will do background app updates based solely on your usage patterns. Push notifications will now work as a trigger, so any app generating a notification will automatically be updated by the time you launch it.
Safari is getting an update with better tabs, iCloud Keychain support, parental controls, unified search, and a new fullscreen mode. Just like Safari on OS X Mavericks, it has a unified and infinitely-scrolling view of bookmarks, Reading List, and shared links. Better yet, we’re no longer limited to only 8 tabs.
[02:50PM ET] Just like the rumors promised, AirDrop is now built-in to iOS 7. It’s system-wide, so any app can share files. It’ll work on the iPhone 5, 5th-gen iPod Touch, iPad Mini, and 4th-gen iPad.
The camera and photo apps have gotten a complete overhaul. Fan of Instagram’s filters? Well, now you can take photos with live filters. Better, the Photos app will automatically organize and display your photos for you. No more scrolling through thousands of photos in a line.
Siri has a new voice. No, wait, TWO new voices. English, French, and German will get access to both male and female voices in iOS 7. It will also sport Twitter, Wikipedia, and Bing integration right out of the box. Siri will also serve as the core of Apple’s new service called “iOS in the car.” Starting in 2014, over 10 car makers will be integrating iOS and Siri support directly into their vehicles.
[03:00PM ET] The App Store is getting much more than a face-lift. New features include “Apps near me” and “Age range” search criteria, but the biggest feature is the inclusion of background updating. No more manual updates! Hallelujah.
Worried about jerks stealing your iPhone? Now, Activation Lock will keep thieves from using stolen iOS devices even if the device is completely wiped. Once the “Lost or Stolen” switch is flipped, you’ll need to enter your iCloud username and password to use the device.
iTunes Radio is a Pandora-like listening experience launching soon. It’s free with ads to all users, but iTunes Match subscribers will get ad-free access. It works on iOS devices, Macs, and Apple TVs. It’s US-only to start, but more countries are coming.
Other iOS 7-exclusive features include notification syncing, Weibo integration, per-app VPN settings, and call/message blocking. The iOS 7 beta for the iPhone is available to paid developers today, the iPad beta will come later, and the public will get iOS 7 this autumn.
[Image credit: Apple, PCMag Live]