It wasn’t enough for Cupertino to just update their iPad lineup on Thursday. Alongside the launch of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, Apple took the time to revamp its famous iMac.
Four months ago I reported that a group of Brony programmers were looking for help to make a Ponified Linux Operating System. Well, now a second group have started to design a Windows 7-esque OS called “PegasOS“.
It’s the same mantra that every multinational company is chanting at the moment – ‘we’re going green for the environment’… Apple is no different. Tim Cook has put into practice, what he mentioned during last month’s shareholders meeting, on recycling and Apple’s impact on the environment.
Oracle CEO and founder, Larry Ellison has been speaking to CBS news in regards of the latest NSA news, his fight with Google and now the future of Apple without Steve Jobs. During an interview, he didn’t take a ‘lets see and maybe hope’ approach to the future of Cupertino Company and made his thoughts plain and blunt.
So it looks like the iPad mini might be drawing close to an upgrade, here come iPad mini 2. Apple might be in the works of releasing a smaller tablet with a Retina display, despite production limits. GTA V, have you bought it? No, I haven’t – thats because I am waiting for a PC launch that will likely be in 2014. And you know that Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5s? Samsung might have its own…
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We have learned a lot from Apple at their WWDC opening Keynote this time round – they have definitely been working hard and possibly may have taken back a little lost ground. Apple had in some cases taken the safe ground and opted for a less adventurous and appeasing route, but it still got crowds standing on their feet. Apple would try to appeal to both camps in their WWDC conference, but like normal, for some it would not be enough. Yet Phil Schiller, Senior vice President of Worldwide Marketing, told the assembly that he felt that Apple could continue to innovate – and the rumours were otherwise ‘crap’:
“Can’t innovate anymore, my arse!”
Apple showcased their entire brand of products at WWDC and confronted daemons that many thought had got the better of Cupertino. Apple demoed several products such as a redesigned Mac Pro, new Macbook Air lineups and of course iOS 7…. The show started with the usual from CEO Tim Cook – Apple ensure we couldn’t forget how much Apple has come on in recent years, they announced that over 72 million users now rely on Mac and that $10 billion had been paid out in developer hand outs. Thats a lot of developers and a lot of apps.
Lets not forget Mac and Mac OS X
Apple showed us that it hadn’t forgot the Mac in a flurry of tablets and touchscreen enthusiasms. Apple had neglected its Macbook Air lineup in recent events and had not boosted its range to the worthy ‘Retina’ display, possibly a good thing. Well if you had waited for the likely Retina display – wait longer. Yes, Apple either forgot or deliberately excluded the high resolution display from their newest notebook. Apple most likely withheld the technology in effort to conserve battery and the basic hardware required for the display is non existent on the laptop. Instead Apple treats us to new Intel processors, Hasswell of course, and also introduced the new Intel HD 5000 graphics – the Air is no video editor, but Apple claims it can handle serious photo editing. We hope so for the price. Apple managed to shove a new 802.11ac wireless card into the laptop and now still receives a full 12 hours of battery. In contary with other later launches Apple did not grace the Macbook Air with the Thunderbolt 2 port but gave us USB 3. How nice.
The Macbook Air wasn’t really the highlight of the show for the Mac, want people wanted was a little more professional. Mac Pro maybe? Well Apple had guessed similarly, a new Mac Pro made an appearance following over a years wait. The complete redesign took many off their feet, if they weren’t already, the Mac Pro stood as Apple’s highest targeted model of Mac – aimed at professionals it seemed to have been forgotten since Apple decided to work more with consumer tablets and phones. But today it got a new shiny look, a circular new design – it looks more like a smarties tube than a computer – but it is definitely different. Apple has gone all out on the Mac Pro – new dual GPUs, up to 60GB DDR3 RAM, Thunderbolt 2, new PCIE flash storage. WOW. Well these numbers and figures mean a lot, so does the price tag, but Apple has tried to regain their position in the market with a strong hold on the pro industry. We expect the Mac Pro to sell like magic. In fact it is quite strange – the design isn’t common of Ive’s creation and resembles that of the older versions such as the iMac G4, hmmm interesting. Upon releasing Mac Pro Phil Schiller took a bash at those haters who felt Apple had lost its mojo, we’ll find out soon. Mac Pro will be available later this year, still unconfirmed.
Lets talk Mac OS X – Apple liked to play games with us, they tried to pull the wool over our eyes, Mac OS X Sea Lion – no. Mac OS X Maverick – yes. I still have no idea what a Maverick is, if you’d tuned in for the live stream you may have found myself and Shivering Yeti spending a good 10 minutes trying to find the answer without luck. But to follow suit with the latest lineup of computers Apple also decided to give OS X a tinker. Mac OS Maverick could of been used as a crystal ball for the upcoming iOS UI – the logo of Maverick seemed to reflect Apple’s new design ethos. Maverick isn’t a complete UI overhaul but still is welcomed. To cover the major changes Apple unveiled Apple Maps for Mac, YAY I hear you cry – well don’t worry, Apple has improved the mapping experience since its launch. It won’t force you to use it – but it is merely a simple and quirky little addition that Apple added and now makes Mac OS X feel a lot more like iOS. As well as Maps, Apple added iBooks to the fun – now you can read, sync and store book ands bookmarks across all devices – we knew this was a long time coming. But harnessing the bigger real estate of Mac means that users can have multiple books open, don’t know how useful it is or when you’d ever read two books at the same time, but still I am not moaning.
Maverick will also allow you to automatically generate passwords via Safari and Keychain, a new AES 256-bit encryption protects your passwords but means you don’t have to keep making new ones. Handy, but how long until somebody bypasses the security. The rest of the features fall into place along with the new UI ethos. Calendar and Contacts now feature the simplistic design and UI colour scheme that iOS has followed with. Maverick has a new look and better implementation of mobile features, the OS is a step to becoming a more mobile and wider integrated ecosystem that will work more seamlessly with iOS and other devices. For Apple a tightly knitted ecosystem is key, it only allows its software on its own hardware – people want an ecosystem that is connected nt fragmented and this is a step closer to that idea.
iOS…Where to start
Well if Apple thought that iOS needed a refresh they definitely had a go at it. Trust me – it needed a refresh. But if you had imagined widgets flying around the screen, new customisation features and a lot of added ‘wow’ – then this iOS might not be for you. But don’t worry, it is a start. Tim Cook took the wraps off Apple’s new iOS 7 towards the end of the presentation – unlike Job’s famous “One last thing…” Cook just decided to let it all spill out. Cook told us it was the biggest change to the OS since iPhone’s launch – you can definitely say that again. A audible gasp from developers at the new lock screen and you could tell that Apple may have taken the hint, slightly. Jony Ive has headed up design, discussing the ethos in a traditional Apple style video, he explained the aim was to make iOS “cleaner” and “simplistic”. Those haters of skeuomorphic design, faux leather and paper bindings can finally rejoice. Where many thought iOS 7 would be a gradual phase out of skeuomorphism they were wrong. All faux leather and fake dodgy contact books have all gone. iOS now features a more sleek, flattened and rather stark colour scheme that will likely become the next hated part of the OS. This follows on from the slight adjustments made in Mac OS X, Jony Ive is certainly making his presence felt.
A complete redesign now means everything is more simplistic, where a physical slider sat on the lock screen is now just a swipe anywhere – a nice feature. The noticeable addition, or lack of addition, is the physical menus, buttons and UI that was custom on iOS – mail loses its blue header, they keyboard is now translucent and the whole OS feels that little bit more – whiter. This can only be a good thing. Game Center got a complete overhaul, and for me is the only hate of iOS 7 – it reflects a childlike/balloon birthday party and the colours are rather harsh on the eyes, but thats a personal opinion. Throughout the OS the UI is consistent, Craig Federighi jokingly said during the Game Center demo:
“We just completely ran out of green felt and wood – this has got to be good for the environment.”
As well as amending the OS interface there were other additions such as Control Centre, an Android like notifications bar that can be dragged up from the bottom of the screen. It allows you to control brightness, basic system settings and alter music playback. If you hadn’t been a fan of the crippled multitasking in iOS then you’ll like the change. Double tapping now brings up a full screen view and thumbnail of open apps and sliding up closes them, hmm familiar. Our old girl Siri got a tinker, she now has a new remastered voice and can retrieve tweets and web results inside of the Siri UI.
iTunes Radio wasn’t expected in the Keynote, but heck they added it. I was joking – it wasn’t an iRadio but iTunes Radio is a start, it allows you to stream music stations that are tailored to a user’s music library. It is not a dedicated app but sits nice and snuggly inside the Music app in iOS . It is free and is Apples way of letting users “discover new music”. The launch comes a month after the Google Play All Access music came out. A large portion of users use iTunes but Apple hope that iTunes Radio can bring new life to their ecosystem.
Apple has been working hard on their WWDC launch. We haven’t been able to cover the entire launch schedule but we have given it a try. Apple had been behind on their UI ethos in comparison to Android. iOS 7 is a step in the right direction for Apple. We hope they build upon the design that is showing that it is an early idea. The colour scheme, interface and typography are all nice, but we could have seen more innovation. iTunes Radio is a clear indication that Apple wants to drag people back who had been swayed by competitors. They have alienated anybody outside of the US as iTunes Radio won’t be available instantly everywhere. But it’s a start. That is the message of this WWDC, it is a start – Apple had a lot of work to do and now it has begun the journey of reimagining their brand. It could take time. Apple will need to build upon WWDC, it will need to capture the imagination of developers and consumers and ensure that they show us they can still innovate. I suppose that is the story of Apple, the ups and downs. Phil Schiller definitely believes that Apple can still innovate – the whole of Apple was trying to prove this at WWDC. With the launch of newly designed Macs and a new iOS, Apple wanted the world to know, that innovation isn’t dead in Cupertino…
Apple’s 24th WWDC conference is on route next week. We’ve heard speculation, rumour and whispers about likely upcoming products and ‘software’ revamps – but how realistic are these? It’s Apple’s first event in over seven months and we are expecting something that will change the direction of Apple – therefore the Apple toaster, iToilet and other ridiculous rumours on the web won’t likely be on Tim Cook’s schedule. Anticipation is running high, merely due to the fact Apple hasn’t released anything new in a long time. WWDC is set But nevertheless lets take a look at some of the rumours we think are more likely, so hear are the top things Gadget Nibble expect to see at WWDC 2013…
We all know iOS is flagging a bit in the design space and that Android has been seen as a more superior alternative for over a year. Yeah well we hope (expect) Apple to finally fix the life long issue of their stagnated OS. Nothing has changed in iOS since its original launch in 2007 – sorry they added an extra row of icons (I feel privileged). iOS has club to skeuomorphic design by its bare hands – nobody else in the market illustrates a contact list with faux leather bindings and page animations… Bring in Jony Ive – Apple replaced Soctt Forstall as iOS leader and now Ive manages the development of UI. We’re hoping for less skeuomorphism in the latest release – the rumour mill suggest a more flattened OS – this can be backed by the replacement of the Podcasts app with a sleeker and more modern looking sibling. Apple will need to replace iOS without a doubt to ensure their iPhone and iPad stays top of its game. Apple may also be looking to redesign the home screen, talks of widgets and ‘live’ icons are bustling on the web. It would be a nice change, Apple had previously worked to a click or button ratio as such. For a UI to pass Steve Jobs’ vigorous approval it would need to get the user to where they wanted in minimal clicks or in this case taps. Apple seems to have forgot this. It is no longer a story of hardware but users want the best from their software too. Hear that Apple?
While their at it many expect Apple to give Mac OS X a quick tinker – the platform has become more and more like its younger sibling iOS. We again, expect Apple to continue this step and possibly port Siri to the Mac – that would be amazing. Siri needs work on iOS, more implementation and usability are expected – in comparison to Google Voice, the old girl is a little slow.
iCloud will be a defined point of the keynote – expecting iCloud on your android? On Windows Phone? Well don’t get your hopes up, at D11 Cook told the gathering he felt the time wasn’t right to offer to multiple platforms but would do so if circumstances changed. What the hell that means, I don’t know. iCloud is currently available on Mac OS X, iOS and in very basic Windows form. Considering WWDC is for developers we hope to see some inclusion here with developers – iCloud has had numerous issues with syncing causing developers headaches – so therefore Apple should wake up and smell the coffee. Apple would do well to open iCloud more to allow more APIs for the service, developers could implement cloud services directly into their apps – seems a little too logical though for Apple. The Big A may also be pondering over the resurgence of iDisk – lost at the death of MobileMe Apple has since only had limited online storage through iCloud. A possible dedicated app and Google Drive like functionality would be welcomed.
It is practically a God given right that Apple will change iOS – just look at the Podcasts app before and after Forstall. But Mac OS has become a little quaint too – we haven’t seen a major refresh since, we’ll OS X came out. Now we’re not talking Windows 8 style here, just more of a facelift – just here and there to improve our experience. Possibly alter the Mail app, go on Apple you know you want to… While we discuss a reinvention of their UI, Apple may also look at opening up sharing features of their platform – a nice added feature would be AirDrop for iOS, allowing sharing of files without a wifi connection. Apple you know where you got the idea from…
Attack of the Mac
Apple killed off their Mac Pro in Europe after regulations meant they had to alter fan designs – we haven’t seen a replacement yet – nevertheless the Mac Pro wasn’t exactly cutting edge, on the pinnacle of technology. Apple has the opportunity to put the Mac Pro back in business – the model has become woefully neglected, it is a chance for Apple to revamp the line up. Something we haven’t seen done since the MacBook Air.
Apple TV anyone?
Well if you answered yes, you may be disappointed. Apple will unlikely be releasing their mystical television set. The Apple TV on the other hand, the small set too box version (not to cause confusion), may get a little more friendlier with apps. It is possible more providers will make their way to the small box and may receive their own apps to go along with them! I would personally like to see iOS become more of a part of the Apple TV experience – wider integration would seal Apple’s ecosystem.
iRadio, ready for some Apple tunes?
Apple has confused us all with their iPad release schedule, the iPad 3 came last year and only 8 months later had it been replaced – now Apple is leaving us in the dark. It is a possibility they may add new inner specs such as a speed bump, which could hint at a possible iPhone tech sheet but its unlikely. The most anticipated rumour is the launch of an Apple iRadio – hinted at by numerous rumours from record labels and industry sources – Apple is apparently working closely at looking into the likelihood of streaming content for customers. Google has already got their snout deep into the trough, their Google Play All Access launched earlier this month in the US and allows full streaming, Apple is still working in the dark ages of download and iTunes… We hope that an streaming service would come at a competitive price, it would have to work with iTunes and most likely would find itself deeply integrated into iOS and Mac OS X.
Anybody got the time?
Well if you wanted to hear a little more about the iWatch, here it is. Apple is rumoured to developing a smart watch that could rival Google Glass. Cook hinted at D11 that he felt the wrist was more “natural” than glasses – he may have let his guard down their. But little sources of evidence have cropped up in recent weeks. That said a recent trademark filing in Russia saw Apple grab the title “iWatch” – this might be a major hint, or just sensible business. The industry itself is at the early stages of smart wearable computing. Apple may feel it needs time to work on the iWatch – or we could get the Apple back that we all love and lead the market and wow us all (maybe a bit too hopeful).
Either way Apple will be making a show and dance of their Keynote on Monday, 10 AM EST time and will likely commence from 6PM BST. We will be watching live and waiting to give you feedback exactly as it happens. Apple will have a lot to talk about and answer too.