Apple’s 2013 WWDC: the Good, the Bad, and the Meh

Apple’s 2013 WWDC: the Good, the Bad, and the Meh

Apple 2013 WWDC

As with all big Apple events, I once again find people turning to me for my opinion on the announcements from Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement. Honestly I can’t blame them, as my opinion is often the only correct one when it comes to such things. I seem to have the uncanny ability to cut through the hype with laser beam-like precision, and somehow categorize the day’s events into one of three categories: Good, Bad, and Meh. Here’s how Apple’s 2013 World Wide Developer’s Conference event broke down:

The Good:

OS X Mavericks: Horrible Name, but that’s why Mac OS’s also go by numbers, right? So let’s just call this OS 10.9. What’s new? Well, Finder tabs, document tagging, multiple display support, new Mac Maps app, Improved Calendar (no longer has that stitched leather look)… All nice, nothing ground-breaking/must-have, except that Apple claims to have also fixed the way memory and processing power is utilized for open apps on the Mac, which they claim will speed things up by a factor of 1.4x. And you know what THAT means, don’t you? Safari will feel snappier!.

MacBook Air

New MacBook Airs: Well, they got new Haswell processors, but I’ll assume the only difference we’re likely to notice will be battery life, which appears to have gone up from 7 hours to 12, assuming you ever got 7 to begin with. That’s pretty impressive, and to make that jump while increasing speed is a nice feat. However, now that the MacBook Pros are so skinny, the idea of continuing to invest time in new Airs seems a bit silly to me. I have still yet to see a MacBook Air out in the wild (outside an Apple Store) and do not ever plan to see one in MY house, so I’ll generously file this under “Good” to humor anyone who is a fan of the Airs but it is kind of a “meh” announcement for me.

New Mac Pros

New Mac Pros: AWWWW YEAHHHHH! NOW we’re talking! Or ARE we? I always get excited by these keynotes and then 3 hours later, people who ACTUALLY know what hey’re talking about tear these things down and tell us how under-powered they really are. But screw them. For NOW< I'm excited! First, they made the thing look like the old SGI Octane workstations for some reason, which is cool. Of course, the one machine where size does NOT matter is a workstation, and I have to assume this shrinkage will bite us all in the ass eventually, most likely starting with the "Mac Pro Tower-sized" tower of Thunderbolt devices I am going to have to build right NEXT to this thing to make up for its lack of storage/expansion. Anyway, it appears to be super fast (2.5x over the previous model, upon which I am currently typing) and Holy Smokes! It's still has FireWire and is Made in the USA! Only downside? It will be available “Later this year”, and there are 6 months left in this year…

iOS 7

iOS 7: WOW. Well, the big news coming out of this keynote is iOS 7, and I gotta say, this update REALLY shut me up. All the leaked reports of a “flat” design were extremely misleading, and the new iOS has more virtual “depth” than ever, as well as an all-around cleaner look across the board. The new Control Center (just swipe up) will be a Godsend for me, as one of the first times I ever jailbroke my phone was to get SB settings and its quick brightness adjustment. Safari’s new tabs are the kind of fresh, sexy, useless iCandy we needed. Airdrop looks nice, but I’ll need to see what developers do with it. Right now it doesn’t seem much faster than texting a picture, and I think you need to all be on Wi-fi (?) to use it. I’m sure it will be a hit with the kids and it gave Apple a nice chance to take a dig at the “tap-to-share” method of its competitors (which I never understood as a selling point). I’m also loving the automatic App updates. Really, there are a TON of new features, and from what I’ve seen, they are ALL improvements.

iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio: It’s Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, etc. So while functionally, it’s nothing ground-breaking, the fact that it is free (with ads) and ad-free as an iTune match subscriber (me!), means I may be ditching my Spotify subscription… Plus it can play Led Zepplin, and presumably other classic bands that I can’t find on Spotify.

The Meh:

iBooks on Mac… Even if I used iBooks, I doubt I would use it on my Mac. But hey, I guess this kept SOME Apple intern busy for a couple months, so good for them!

iWork in the Cloud: OK! iWork! In the Cloud! Are you excited? I WILL say that the spreadsheets shown on stage actually look like something you might look at for a few seconds before saying “Oh, this is a spreadsheet…” and moving on. So kudos to the design team.

The Bad:

iOS seems to look awesome on a white iPhone: In fact, it looks so good on a white iPhone I am wondering if I will need to buy one. When will Apple show it running on a black model?

No new “regular” MacBook Pros?

New Mac Pros Available “Later this year”: :(

Tim Cook sucked the excitement off the stage each time he appeared: Sorry Tim. Craig Federighi was really quite dynamic though. Let’s see more of him in the future.

So, that’s it, the Good, the Bad, and the Meh from today’s “2013 WWDC” event. All in all, VERY little to complain about – and believe you me, I loves to complain! Feel free, as always, to tell me how dead-on correct I am in the comments.

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Comments
8 Responses to “Apple’s 2013 WWDC: the Good, the Bad, and the Meh”
  1. Scott says:

    Agree with the luv for app auto-update AS LONG as there’s a preference for updating via WiFi only (capped data plans suck!)

  2. Darin says:

    Those are some pretty idiotic comments about the Air. Plus you must have never been in a coffee shop or airport or book store or any other public place.
    iBooks on Mac and iWorks in cloud plus Maps on Mac are all things I have been waiting for and will use heavily.
    The Mac Pro looks very little like an Octane.
    http://hardware.majix.org/computers/sgi.octane/octane.shtml
    Really some dumbass commentary all the way around.

    • Sorry, it was the O2.
      And I was going by the initial hard to see video. Although I’ll stand by it as looking more like it than the old Mac Pro.
      And yes, I don’t drink coffee.
      - The Doc

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks Apple – just what we need, more loosers hanging out in coffee shops and book stores sucking up the free wifi and seats. From what i see they are only checking Facebook playing inane video and or games. Man, all those “dumb ass” toads taking up all the space for paying customers like me and my paid for food and drink. I’ve got to admit that I do cut Apple users some slack, but all day coffee shop sitters that are Windows users (the worst kind of losers) ought to be gathered up and sent to Mexico.

  3. JL says:

    Being connected to a wireless network is not required for AirDrop to work. If it’s not available, it will use Peer to Peer wireless, which is essentially a temporary wireless network created for the passing of the data/file/picture…

  4. Jon says:

    I agree with you for the most part, but the MacBook Air rocks. What disappointed me about the new one is that there is no retina display. That probably means this is an interim upgrade and there will be a newer update in a couple of months. Other disappointments include:

    • No arrow keys in iOS. I am tired of trying to move the cursor over by a character or two with my finger. We need cursor arrow keys.
    • The new MacPro has no PCI slots. I can live with external storage, but no card slots?
    • The file system hasn’t changed in OS X Marvericks. HFS+ is old, inefficient and prone to corruption. How long is it going to take Apple to replace HFS with ZFS?

    Aside from that, these are nice upgrades. Oh, the new MacPlus reminds me of the Cray 1, one of the original supercomputers. It had a cylindrical shape for cooling and for uniform cable lengths. Of course the Cray had a bunch around it that you could sit on. That wouldn’t be practical or desirable with the MacPro.

  5. ArtOfWarfare says:

    iWork is in need of an update, and moving it to the cloud really didn’t do a single thing. I was so excited to hear that they were updating it, and incredibly disappointed to hear that all they’ve done is reproduce it in the cloud.

    iTunes Radio is a complete meh. It’s in no way a competitor to Spotify.

    iBooks on the Mac, however, was probably the biggest thing at WWDC. It’s not going to happen overnight, but bit by bit I see Apple revealing their master plan to turn education systems worldwide upside down. I expect that within the next two decades, and quite probably sooner, the education bubble is going to burst and the price of higher education is going to plummet because of technological advancements from Apple rending the current system of universities totally obsolete.

    • Sunny says:

      There are still a lot of Windows-only software packages used by universities, and still more Windows-only professors that will keep most 4-years Windows-centric. At the university which employs me, there has been a gradual shift towards Mac brought on by the MacBook Air and to a lesser extent, the iPad and even cloud services, but it’s still very heavy on the Windows side. Despite total cost of ownership, usability, user experience, and all that, price point is still a major factor. Until you can fill a classroom or lab with $500 Macs, most public universities won’t make the switch.

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