Apple announced a raft of new initiatives at the WWDC, key of which was news of a new Mac Pro aimed squarely at designers and developers. Engineered around workstation graphics with dual GPUs, PCI Express-based flash storage, high-performance Thunderbolt 2, new-generation Xeon processors, ultrafast memory, and support for 4K video, the new Mac Pro delivers state-of-the-art performance across the board. Below are the highlights:
New MacPro: stunning looks, stunning power
The stunning new black tubular design is only 9.9 inches tall with a diameter of just 6.6 inches. It utilises the new-generation Intel Xeon E5 chipset and can be configured with up to 12 cores of processing power, up to 40GB/s of PCI Express gen 3 bandwidth, and 256-bit-wide floating-point instructions.
That includes a four-channel DDR3 memory controller running at 1866MHz. It delivers up to 60GB/s of memory bandwidth, which means you can fly through even the most compute-intensive tasks. And fast memory requires a fast drive, so the Pro has next-generation PCI Express flash storage that's 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based solid-state drive and up to 10 times faster than a 7200-rpm SATA hard drive.
Expansion is proved by built‑in Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 ports. Each Thunderbolt 2 port delivers twice the throughput, providing up to 20Gb/s of bandwidth to each external device supporting 4K desktop displays and up to six peripherals.
Two Gigabit Ethernet ports let you connect to multiple networks and an HDMI 1.4 port provides support for the latest TVs, projectors, and displays, including Ultra HD TVs. You can also access your network over three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi for the latest in high-speed wireless connectivity.
Connection is easier too. No more scrabbling round the back to plugin your peripherals. As you rotate the Pro it senses the movement and automatically illuminates the I/O panel.
MacBook Air: all-day power
Due to compact all-flash storage in the MacBook Air there’s more room for a big battery giving 'all day' power for word processing, presentations, email and more. Now the 13in model gets up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge and the 11in model gets up to 9 hours. And if you’re watching iTunes films, you get up to 10 hours of playback time on the 13in and up to 8 hours on the 11in. Put the MacBook Air to sleep for more than 3 hours, and it enters standby mode to conserve battery life for up to 30 days.
The MacBook Air is powered by the all-new fourth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and the new Intel HD Graphics 5000 offers up to 40 per cent faster graphics. It
now supports ultra-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi so when connected to an 802.11ac base station — including the new AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule — wireless performance is up to 3x faster than with the previous generation of MacBook Air. And your Wi-Fi range improves as well.
Part of what makes MacBook Air so responsive is that it’s designed entirely around flash storage. Available in capacities up to 512GB, this next-generation flash storage is up to 9x faster than a traditional 5400-rpm notebook hard drive. And it’s up to 45 per cent faster than the flash storage in the previous-generation MacBook Air. The 11in model now comes as standard with double the capacity — 128GB.
Expansion is handled by a Thunderbolt port and two USB 3 ports, so you can connect the latest USB 3 devices and all your USB 2 devices as well.
OS X Mavericks: cards on the table
Having run out of cats Apple's new OS (and the further ones) take their names from California beaches. So 10.9 is Maverick. Key features include:
Finder Tabs: Declutter your desktop by consolidating multiple Finder windows into one. You can switch between tabs, customise views, and reorder them. To move a file from tab to tab, just drag and drop. And now you can even expand a Finder window to full screen and effortlessly move files wherever you want.
Tags: This is a powerful way to organise and find files, even documents stored in iCloud. It works a bit like Google's tags… simply tag files you want to keep together with a keyword then just click the keyword in the Finder sidebar or enter it in the search field. You can tag a file once or give it multiple tags.
iBooks: Despite even recent denials that you'll be able to read your iBooks on your Mac, Apple has included iBooks in Maverick. Now the books you’ve already downloaded on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch will automatically appear in iBooks on your Mac. And when you take notes, highlight passages, or add a bookmark on your Mac, iCloud pushes them to all your devices automatically.
Maps: After a pretty disastrous launch Apple reckons it's got Maps fixed in Maverick. Maps now makes it simple to get information on local points of interest like restaurants and hotels, showing you phone numbers, photos, and even Yelp reviews. It’s also easy to get there on time, thanks to point-to-point directions, real-time traffic conditions, and suggested alternate routes. When you’re ready to go, send your map to your iPhone for voice navigation on the way. With OS X Mavericks, maps are built into Mail, Contacts, and Calendar so wherever you see an address you can see it on a map.
Calendar: The fake leather skin is gone and Calendar is improved with continuous scrolling that lets the weeks and months flow by smoothly and a new event inspector that suggests addresses and points of interest when you start typing in the location field. It shows your event’s location on a map, calculates travel time, and even displays a weather forecast.
Safari: Thanks to the new Nitro Tiered JIT and Fast Start technologies in Safari, the web pages you visit feel snappier and more responsive and innovative new features make it simple to return to sites you visit often — and discover new sites as well. Shared Links in the new Sidebar shows links posted by people you follow on Twitter and LinkedIn, so you can keep up with interesting new content. And with the redesigned Top Sites, it’s easy to organize your favorites.
iCloud Keychain: Remembering your passwords can be a real pain. But now iCloud Keychain remembers them for you. It stores your website user names and passwords on the devices you’ve approved, protects them with robust AES 256-bit encryption, and keeps them up to date on each device. And it automatically fills them in whenever and wherever you need them. iCloud Keychain also works with credit card information but we'd still probably keep that sort of data off our Macs.
Displays: Designers should like this. There’s no longer a primary or secondary display — now each has its own menu bar, and the Dock is available on whichever screen you’re working on. You can have multiple app windows running on either display. Or run an app full screen on each one. Even show a desktop on one display and a full-screen app on another. Mission Control can give you a bird’s-eye view, making it easy to drag what you want where you want it. You can even drag it across the room, because now AirPlay and Apple TV can wirelessly turn your HDTV into a fully functional display.
The new iPhone OS now has a thin cool clean look with a new Helvetica Neue UltraLight typeface and redesigned icons. New features include:
Control Center: Just swipe up from any screen — including the Lock screen — to get quick access to the controls and apps you always seem to need. Do things like switch to Airplane mode, turn Wi-Fi on or off, or adjust the brightness of your display. You can even shine a light on things with a new flashlight. Turn on or off Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Do Not Disturb. Lock your screen’s orientation or adjust its brightness. Play, pause, or skip a song. Connect to AirPlay-enabled devices. And quickly access your flashlight, timer, calculator, and camera.
Notification Center: Find out about new mail, missed calls, to-dos that need doing, and more. And a new feature called Today gives you a convenient summary of, well, today. One glance at your iPhone and you’ll know if it’s a certain someone’s birthday, if you’ll need an umbrella, or if traffic will slow down your commute. You’ll even get a heads-up on tomorrow. You can access Notification Center from any screen, including the Lock screen. Just swipe down.
Multitasking: Now iOS 7 learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favourite social app at 9:00 a.m. every day, your feed will be ready and waiting for you. Press the Home button twice to see preview screens of the apps you have open. To quit an app, just swipe it up and out of preview.
Photos: IOS 7 introducesCollections, Moments, and Years — smart groupings of your photos and videos based on time and place. Tap Years and all your shots fill the screen. Tap the Year view and prepare to be amazed. Every photo and video you’ve ever taken appears onscreen, almost like artwork.
Airdrop: AirDrop for iOS lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, no setup required. And transfers are encrypted, so what you share is highly secure. You’re automatically visible in AirDrop to your contacts running iOS 7 but you can also make yourself visible to anyone nearby using iOS 7 or to no one at all.
Safari: Buttons and bars now stay hidden until you scroll to reveal them, so you see more content than ever on your screen. And with a swipe, you can go back or forward a page. Safari now also gets the unified smart search field.Type a URL or search term into the box and Safari automatically suggests the closest match. The new tab view opens web pages in a consolidated view that lets you scroll effortlessly from tab to tab. To close a page, just swipe it offscreen. Shared Links lets you see all the URLs in your Twitter timeline, who posted them, and what they had to say about them.
iTunes Radio: (initially only available in the US) Tune in to iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, or Apple TV. You’ll have access to Featured Stations, stations inspired by the music you already listen to and more than 200 genre-focused stations — including everything from Hard Rock to Doo Wop. Your stations evolve based on the music you play and download.