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Apple

Apple Shows Off New iOS 7, Mac OS X At WWDC 607

Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off his company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco with a short video emphasizing the importance of design, particularly that which evokes some sort of emotional connection such as love or delight. But that sentimental bit aside, this WWDC was all business: huge numbers of developers attend this annual event, packing sessions designed to help give their apps an edge in Apple's crowded online marketplace (some 50 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, Cook told the audience during his keynote). Apple also uses its WWDC to unveil new products or services, attracting sizable interest from the tech press.

This time around, the company introduced Mac OS X 'Mavericks,' which includes 'Finder Tabs' (which allow the user to deploy multiple tabs within a Finder window—great for organization, in theory) and document tags (for easier searching). Macs will now support multiple displays, including HDTVs, with the ability to tweak elements between screens; Apple claims the operating system will also interact with the CPU in a more efficient manner.

On top of that, Apple rolled out some new hardware: an upgraded MacBook Air with faster graphics, better battery life (9 hours for the 11-inch edition, while the 13-inch version can draw 12 hours' worth of power). Apple has decided to jump into the cloud-productivity space with iWork for iCloud, which makes the company's iWork portfolio (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) browser-based; this is a clear response to Office 365 and Google Docs.

And finally, the executives onstage turned back to iOS, which (according to Apple) powers some 600 million devices around the world. This version involves more than a few tweaks: from a redesigned 'Slide to Unlock' at the bottom of the screen, to the bottom-up control panel that slides over the home-screen, to the 'flat' (as predicted) icons and an interface that adjusts as the phone is tilted, this is a total redesign. As a software designer, Ive is clearly a huge fan of basic shapes—circles and squares— and layering translucent elements atop one another."
OS X

OS X Mountain Lion Review 424

John Siracusa at Ars Technica has published a lengthy and detailed review of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. (Lengthy enough that the review garnered a review of its own.) Siracusa methodically goes through all of the changes in the new version, covering everything from the minor new features to the overarching goals. Quoting: "Despite the oft-cited prediction that Mac will eventually be subsumed by iOS, that's not what's happening here. Apple is determined to bring the benefits of iOS to the Mac, but it's equally determined to do so in a way that preserves the strengths of the Mac platform. Where we Mac nerds go wrong is in mistaking traditions for strengths. Loss aversion is alive and well in the Mac community; with each 'feature' removed and each decision point eliminated from our favorite OS, our tendency is to focus heavily on what's been lost, sometimes blinding ourselves to the gains. But the larger problem is that losses and gains are context-dependent. A person who never uses a feature will not miss it when it's gone. We all pay lip service to the idea that most users never change the default settings in software, but we rarely follow this through to its logical conclusion. The fact is, we are not the center of the market, and haven't been for a long time. Three decades ago, the personal computer industry was built on the backs of technology enthusiasts. Every product, every ad was created to please us. No longer. Technology must now work for everyone, not just 'computing enthusiasts.'" A somewhat briefer review is available at ComputerWorld, and there's a quick one from John Gruber.

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