SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Apple has been hearing the drumbeat of murmurs that it is yesterday’s (albeit very profitable and popular) news for at least a year now. Some of it is the inevitable fallout from Steve Jobs’ death, and some of it springs from the companies battle with a very strong Android/Google platform.
Still other roots can be traced to the fact that Apple is largely a hardware and software company in a world increasingly moving to online services as the hot button area of innovation. That said, Apple had some tasty innovations at its developer’s conference Monday. A few that piqued my interest.
iOS 7: The biggest change in the iPhones operating system since the iPhone debuted. It’s a flat look, with more gestures and lot of convenience improvements as well as the ability for every app to multitask or run in the background. To be fair, a lot of the improvements are playing catch up to Android, though Android has never had Apple’s cohesiveness.
iTunes Radio: Here, again, playing catch up with Pandora which does something very similar. Apple’s new service can create stations from a single song or artist choice, let you tie that back to purchase of music real easily and offers a couple hundred curated radio stations done by the Apple team. No broadcast radio like TuneIn, however. It will be available on all Apple mobile devices and any computer running iTunes as well as on Apple TV.
iOS in Cars: This had the least detail and the most intrigue for me. By 2014 a dozen carmakers will be showing the Apple interface in their dashboard screens for the first time. So when you play music, check navigation or handle messages from your connected iPhone (or presumably iPad and iPod Touch) that operation will show on the car’s main LCD screen in the Apple look & feel. Combine that with the recent announcements that a couple carmakers will be installing Siri in their vehicles and you have a real move by Apple to get into its first major new market in a while.
New Macbook Air models: The 11″ and 13″ each get several hours more battery life thanks to a less power hungry but even more powerful CPU from Intel. 12 hours on a charge is the rating for the new 13″ machine, 9 hours for the 11″. That’s seriously long battery life and fundamentally makes a laptop less of a hassle to live with, You could really leave your charge at home unless you’re travelling.
There was also a new Mac Pro (almost nobody will need one), new OS X operating system (your eyes would glaze over if I detailed it) and a new cloud version of Apple’s productivity apps that compete with Microsoft Office (there isn’t even a battle to win, there) so the four items above are the highlights in my mind.
None of this is earthshaking and much of it is catching up but in Apple’s very elegant and consistent way, which has value. But for the doubters who are looking for the innovation that will shove Apple’s competitors into the cellar, it’s not here. Yet. Look for maybe a new iPhone, iPad, iWatch or maybe even Apple HDTV in the fall.
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