Every year tech journalists wait eagerly for Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), and every year they are treated to the wide variety of new features, hardware, and software that aim to keep Apple at the forefront of the industry.
Although every year, Apple acts overly enthusiastic as they introduce updates for their products that underwhelm even the hardcore fans. This year, for example, I saw a lot of features that were just replicates of stuff already available for Android. Despite this, we all know that everybody’s going to buy Apple products and keep satiating the tech giant’s hunger.
So what does Apple have to offer us this year? A new device? A brand new OS? Yes on both counts.
As predicted, Apple introduced iOS 6. This doesn’t come as much of a shock considering the company introduces a new OS every year. IOS 6 has 200 new features, including updates to Siri, an entirely new mapping system, FaceTime for cellular phones, and new features for incoming calls such as screening and quick text messages and reminders.
OS X Mountain Lion will also have over 200 new features, according to Apple. This includes a notifications bar that is less “disruptive,” and Facebook integration.
This may have been underwhelming for Android and PC users, as I see a lot of similarities to features already available on other devices.
You know, I don’t want to constantly compare Apple to Android or Windows phones. It’s only good marketing, after all, that they keep up with what consumers want.
However, it’s really hard for me to report on anything else if Apple spent the bulk of the presentation playing around with Siri. Yes Apple, we get it. Siri is kind of neat. She’s knowledgeable, and can be snarky as hell. Apparently she’s quite the stand-up comedian too, since she spouted one-liners throughout the conference.
“Hello and welcome to WWDC. I’m Siri, your virtual assistant and today I was asked to warm up the crowd, which should be easy since the high will be 75 degrees.”
She also now can relay sports scores, movie times, and much more information. That’s comedy gold right there. Apple had a new update for iCloud Storage as well, the most interesting update being a cross-platform sharing of windows that lets you work with the same data on all of your devices. A web page on your iPhone can be seamlessly transported over to your iPad.
Apple also revealed a new line of Macbook Airs and Pros which represent a huge leap in hardware. The Air is getting an Ivy Bridge update, and promises to be faster (up to 60 percent faster graphics), have more memory (up to 8GB of 1600MHz memory), and now contains USB 3.0 and other ports. Never has the crowd been more excited for a wire port than when Apple announced that today. The 13-inch model starts at $1199, and the 15-inch model starts at $1799. Yes that is for what amounts to a shiny netbook.
The Pro got a bit more of a hardware upgrade, as it now features a retina display, a higher resolution screen at 2880 x 1800, and is the lightest model ever at 4.46 pounds. The software has also been upgraded, including new features for Final Cut Pro, and other stock apps. If you have the thousands of dollars to spend, this new laptop starts at $2199 with a 2.3GHz quad-core chip, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, and can go up to $3000 with more features.
Oh hey bank account, you can stop screaming now.
The problem with most of the conference comes with priorities. Apple continues to add more user-friendly features to their products, but their prices will never be user-friendly. Things like Siri are promoted incessantly when people want something new. There are only so many Siri jokes that you can take in one sitting. The company continues to promote the same kinds of features such as size, design, and display, but they lag behind other hardware in terms of new features.
This does not necessarily mean that Apple is not worth it as a tech company. Their stuff works well, and people love it, so they’ll continue to make more of the same. However, considering that much of the praise Apple gets for its products are spouted only by the heads of the company, it seems more fabricated than anything.
“There are such heartwarming stories out there of what the combination of our incredible devices and your amazing apps have made in peoples lives,” said Tim Cook. This was one of many praises he gave to his own company.
This seems to confirm for many what Apple is and what WWDC always will be: one big circlejerk.