It’s very clear what this year’s WWDC opening keynote was about for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): software and services. While the WWDC presentation usually includes some hardware announcements, software and services were the show stealers today.
Speaking of hardware
On the hardware front, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) expectedly refreshed its notebook lineup with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)‘s newest Haswell processors, which will facilitate dramatic improvements in battery life. The new MacBook Airs will sport these new chips, and received some modest bumps in other departments. The external design that’s been in place since 2010 remains unchanged.
The same can’t be said of the Mac Pro though, which received a major redesign. The Mac Pro had gone neglected for so long that some wondered if Apple was abandoning creative pros. Last year, in an email to a user, Tim Cook teased that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had new Mac Pros due out in 2013. Cook had also mentioned that an upcoming Mac would be assembled in the U.S., and we now know he was referring to the Mac Pro.
The new pro desktop is significantly smaller than its predecessor, and packs in Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s newest Xeon processors. While Apple has adopted NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) graphics throughtout its consumer lineup, the Mac maker is using Advanced Micro Devices in the Mac Pro.
Speaking of software
WWDC being a developer conference, software was the show stealer. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has completely redesigned the iOS 7 user interface, ditching the controversial skeuomorphic design philosophy embraced by Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall. Software chief Craig Federighi made several digs at the old approach, saying that there were “no virtual cows harmed in the making of this interface,” referring to the faux leather stitching in previous apps.
Apple is moving toward a cleaner, simpler, and more minimalist look to its operating systems that was all facilitated by the executive shakeup last year that left design head Jony Ive in charge of interface. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is addressing criticisms that iOS has begun to feel dated in recent times, at a time when Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has dramatically upped its game with Android’s interface design.
In fact, the new iOS borrows several aspects from Android, such as the popular gesture of swiping things away to discard them. iOS apps will also now update automatically in the background, something Android already does.
iOS 7 is easily the most important unveiling today, since iOS devices now drive more than 70% of revenue.
OS X is also getting some updates, although Federighi said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has “run out of big cats” to name releases after. As such, the company is transitioning toward California-themed monikers, with OS X 10.9 being “Mavericks.”