WWDC 2013: all the latest news

10th Jun 2013 | 17:58

WWDC 2013: all the latest news

What's new from Cupertino?

Apple's WWDC 2013 keynote brought with it news of iOS 7, OS X Mavericks, a new MacBook Air, a revamped Mac Pro and even an Apple music streaming service known as iTunes Radio.

So what exactly is new? Join us as we delve into the news:

Mac OS X Mavericks

Apple announced that 28 million copies of Mountain Lion have shipped since it was unveiled at last year's WWDC, meaning that 35% of Apple's Mac users are using it now.

But the newest version of Mac OS leaves the feline-themed names behind and instead takes California as its inspiration. The next version will be known as Mac OS X Mavericks and incorporates folder tagging, improvements to how the software handles multiple displays including AirPlay integration.

You can also make Finder full screen, for the first time. Not hugely sexy, perhaps, but it will please a few people we know.

Apple's also addressing battery life in its notebooks through Mavericks - there'll be compressed memory, accelerated scrolling and timer coalescing.

Safari's had a lick of paint in Mavericks, too - you'll be privy to a new sidebar that Apple describes as 'great' as well as feed of links shared on social networks from within the bookmarks menu.

The new Mavericks version of Safari will also come with iCloud Keychain, a new cloud-based password keychain that remembers your passwords and credit card details across your various devices. The security code, however, you'll still have to remember in your own brain - that's what makes it secure, after all.

There's a newly redesigned Calendar app which has done away with all that pesky skeuomorphism, as expected.

Apple's added its controversial Maps app to the desktop, which can send route plans to your iPhone and vice versa. There's some cool 3D flying around Paris to be done, and it also adds expected travel times to your calendar entries.

iBooks is coming to Mavericks too, with the ability to sync libraries across Apple devices. Not sure how often we'll be reading books from our computer screens, but since this was on our Mac OS X wishlist, we're pretty pleased with it.

MacBook Air

There's a whole new MacBook Air in town at the Moscone Center and Apple is promising all day battery life - and it's built on the new Intel Haswell chip which is designed for energy efficiency.

Nine hours of battery life for the 11-inch MacBook Air, Apple reckons, and seven hours for the 13-inch. Both models are in line for a price cut too.

New Mac Pro

As expected and hoped for and longed for by many is the new Mac Pro - Apple said this was a sneak peek, however, so we don't expect these to go on sale for a little while yet. "Later this year" is all Apple is letting slip.

The Mac Pro has been completely redesigned into a mad new cylindrical shape. Apple promises double the performance of the previous generation, as well as the fastest memory Apple has ever put in any product. Its hard drive is, Apple says, 10x faster than any previous Mac Pro.

It'll be rocking Thunderbolt 2 with 20Gbps throughput, with 6 devices per port and it's backward compatible.

The new Mac Pro can handle three simultaneous 4K displays, which is pretty much insane.

iOS 7

Apple has made iOS 7 official, with a whole new look to show off. Promising "amazing new features" and "stunning new user interface", Tim Cook described this as the biggest iOS update since the launch of the iPhone.

When Cook said 'stunning', he wasn't exaggerating - it's a really attractive design. Skeuomorphism is out and a hot new font is in.

Multitasking will now be available for all apps, while the notifications bar is accessible from the lock screen so you don't even need to unlock your phone.

Apple describes the iOS 7 update as giving you a whole new phone, but one that you already know how to use. No word yet on how far backwardly compatible it will be - we'll keep you posted.

Control Center gives you quick access to your settings menu, while AirDrop allows you to share photos with any iPhone user in your immediate proximity - with no bumping required.

Siri is getting a whole new set of voices, as well as Twitter integration and the ability to read your iMessages out to you, while multitasking has been beefed up so that all apps can take advantage. Apps will also automatically update instead of making you faff about opening the App Store and manually telling them to get a move on.

Cars are the next big tech frontier and Apple's nod tot hat is to allow vehicles' built-in screens to integrate with the OS to read out directions and messages, as well as letting you dictate through the in-car system too.

As well as iTunes Radio, there's a newly revamped Music Player on its way in iOS 7; rather than just showing the music on your device, it also shows all the music you have stored in iCloud. There's also a new album art thumbnail overviews and it generally fits in with the OS's new aesthetic.

iTunes Radio

Apple has only gone and shown off iTunes Radio - say farewell to the iRadio sobriquet, thank goodness.

The Apple music streaming service comes with iTunes, iOS 7 and Apple TV, and will be free to all who are prepared to put up with ads, launching this fall in the US with other countries to follow in the months after.

The service works on a 'radio station' basis, building playlists of similar songs to help you find new music that's similar to the kind of thing you already like - it's a lot like what Pandora offers, and very similar to some services you'll find in Spotify apps.

Some of the more than 200 'radio stations' will be personalised based on the music that a user has downloaded, others will be genre or artist based.

If you're not big on ads interrupting your music listening, then you'll need to upgrade to an iTunes Match subscription.

How does what launched compare to what we thought was coming? See all the pre-show speculation below:

What's Apple Cooking up?

On to the pre-show speculation! The clue is in the title regarding what Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is all about.

Like every year, though, it won't only be app developers keeping a beady eye on proceedings, because WWDC often provides insight into what's next from Apple.

At WWDC 2011, Apple showed off OS X 10.7 and iOS 5, along with enthusing about iCloud.

Last year was mostly about iOS 6 (including boasts about a certain mapping app that wasn't all it was cracked up to be), but also added hardware to the mix, with Phil Schiller talking up Apple's notebook range. (By contrast, the Mac Pro got a behind-the-scenes spec bump, and was pulled entirely from the EU this March.)

WWDC 2013 sold out in under three minutes, yet all we officially know about the event is that Apple likes really colourful logos. But on examining previous events, donning our speculation hat and subduing our iUnicorn wishes, we've compiled a list of what we'll see at this year's WWDC, what we'd love to see and what we probably won't see as Apple execs take the stage on June 14.

What we will see at WWDC 2013

iOS 7 preview

The banners strewn around the Moscone Center are adorned with sleek and colourful sevens. We wonder what that could possibly refer to.

The rumour mill reckons iOS 7 is getting a major visual overhaul, courtesy of Jony Ive, along with radical changes to Calendar and Mail.

Ahead of the show, some fuzzy and generally suspect images of what is supposedly a handset running iOS 7 surfaced showing a fairly unchanged homescreen with only a couple of tweaked icons to write home about.

Potentially more reliable are some iOS 7 screen mock-ups based on a beta preview that the crew over at 9to5Mac, showing off some pretty hefty design changes as expected.

With just hours to go, the WSJ reported that the new version of iOS will offer jazzed up photo and video sharing between iPhones, iPads and Macs.

What's definite is we'll see an iOS 7 preview of some sort, perhaps showing off revamped aesthetics, but definitely outlining some new and improved features; these could include a better Siri, more eyes-free car integration services, an improved lock screen or Notification Center, or even file-sharing via AirDrop.

And we're all hoping the company will finally let us delete the Stocks app.

OS X 10.9 preview

Mac pundits have claimed OS X 10.9 was held back to ensure iOS 7 ships on time. It's just as reasonable to imagine Apple's staggering its OS releases, and OS X 10.9 was always due later in 2013. Regardless, we'll be amazed if Apple's desktop OS doesn't make some kind of appearance at WWDC 2013.

Again, we expect some form of preview, most likely showing off interface upgrades and more glued-on bits of iOS.

Although rumours about iOS-style multitasking are baffling, we wouldn't say no to iBooks, Newsstand, Maps and Siri on OS X. And happily for us, reports have long surfaced suggesting that Maps and Siri are being tested for an OS X 10.9 debut.

At the eleventh hour, an SKU bug report has leaked suggesting that OS X 10.9 will be available to developers at the show itself given its listing as being at an advanced stage - specifically at 451 builds of the software. For context, Mountain Lion was Gold Mastered after 269.

WWDC 2013

What we'd love to see at WWDC 2013

iRadio

With rumours that Apple now has deals with Universal, Warner and Sony Music in the bag, it looks as though we'll at least the fruity streaming service unveiled at WWDC 2013 - even if we have to wait a few months for a proper launch.

Hours before the big event, the WSJ reckons it has the inside track on iRadio making its debut at the show, including the 'facts' that iAds will form part of the service and there will be a 'Buy' button for downloads.

iLife '13 and iWork '13

Apple no longer refers to collection names - iWork is Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and iLife is GarageBand, iPhoto and iMovie - but we put the numbers above for a reason.

Check out the Mac App Store pages for the current versions of these apps and you'll see how neglected the OS X incarnations are; the ex-iLife apps still retain '11 branding, and Pages and Numbers still refer to '09.

On iOS, these apps are regularly updated, and include features desktop users would kill for. We'd therefore like to see Apple give its OS X software a little love - or at least dust off the cobwebs - and WWDC 2013 would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

An Apple TV SDK

Apple refers to the Apple TV as a hobby, but it's not even that for developers. The unit remains locked, with only Apple having the keys to new apps.

For everyone else, squirting content across Wi-Fi from an iOS device is the only way on to the Apple TV. We'd like to see an SDK for the Apple TV, opening it up to a world of apps.

At the very least, the Apple TV could do with more content channels, but in the hands of skilled devs and with enough great apps and games, it could become another must-have item from Apple rather than a hobby the company may soon tire of.

Apple TV

The 2013 Mac Pro

Shortly after WWDC 2012, Tim Cook replied to a pro customer who'd emailed outlining his concern about the lack of a new Mac Pro: "Our Pro customers like you are really important to us. Although we didn't have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro [at WWDC], don't worry as we're working on something really great for later next year."

A new and radically rethought pro machine - extensible but not a giant like the old Mac Pro - would undoubtedly go down well at WWDC 2013.

Happily for fans of the Mac Pro, Apple's Pro project manager Douglas Brooks let slip that "something really different" is on its way.

Although such a thing being a niche (pro market) within a niche (desktops) within a niche (Macs) in Apple's books might scupper its chances, regardless of Cook's promises.

Retina iMac and Retina MacBook Air

Sooner or later, high-res displays will be the default. Apple tends to lead in such things rather than play catch-up, and its MacBook Pro line's currently transitioning towards Retina displays.

If Apple's going to make a dev-oriented Mac-based hardware announcement at WWDC 2013 that doesn't involve the words 'new Mac Pro' and doesn't merely entail minor upgrades, Retina displays for the MacBook Air or even the iMac could become a reality. (On the latter, it's even possible that could be Apple's new vision for a 'pro' Mac, as much as that would irk certain professionals.)

In early June, SKU-based hints were dropped that the MacBook Air would be getting the high-res Retina display at WWDC - unless it turns out to be another Retina-toting MacBook Pro.

What we won't see at WWDC 2013

A single merged Apple OS

Whenever rumours appear about Apple welding another bit of iOS to OS X, pundits inevitably claim that, eventually, Apple will only have a single OS for desktop and mobile.

But Apple cares more about user experience; it's not conceivable it'd shoe-horn a desktop OS on to iOS or force desktop users to work with something entirely designed for mobile and touch. Perhaps in a decade, the argument will be moot, Macs will be gone and everyone will have an iPad 10 glued to their face, but until then, OS X and iOS will remain separate.

A new Apple television/the mythical iTV

We're sceptical an Apple television will happen. People rarely upgrade TVs (Apple likes people who regularly buy hardware), margins are razor-thin (Apple likes margins), and the industry's under pressure from the so-called second screen, a business in which Apple already does rather well (Apple likes this also).

If an Apple television did appear, it'd almost certainly be iOS-based, and so any 'announcement' at WWDC 2013 could be sneaked in under the radar, as part of a general Apple TV SDK. The hardware could then be shown off at a separate event.

Apple iTV

The iPhone 5S, iPad 5 and Retina iPad mini

Although WWDC 2013 will undoubtedly provide us with insight into iOS 7, we doubt very much any new iOS hardware will be unveiled (although it might be possible to guess at new features, if software demos make them obvious).

Our reasoning: despite gaining a certain amount of coverage in the press, WWDC remains a conference for developers, and a new iPad or iPhone would warrant its own show, where it didn't have to share the stage with anything else.

Also, we might be tempting fate a bit here, by stating clearly that Apple definitely won't unveil a Retina iPad mini, because, man, we'd look so stupid if Apple unveiled a Retina iPad mini that we definitely don't want. Therefore, Apple absolutely won't unveil a Retina iPad mini at WWDC 2013. (Crosses fingers.)

An Apple iWatch

Wearable tech! It's the latest thing, what with Google's sci-fi specs and smart watches people mostly don't care about! We think it's pretty unlikely an Apple watch will ever appear, but, again, like other iOS devices it would warrant its own special event.

It's not going to show up as second billing to the next version of OS X, after an Apple exec's got all excited about something new and technical that iCloud's totally supposed to do (and, in the event, probably won't).

Apple iWatch

WWDC 2013 Apple techlife
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