Apple’s big tech news: revamps for the Mac Pro and iOS 7, announcement of OS X “Maverick”

Mac Mini (late 2012 version)This week, Apple announced a slew of new product information. While multiple tech sites have covered everything in detail, I thought I’d give my reactions toward the bigger news points announced, though more thorough reactions won’t come until I can see the products in person.

iOS 7

iOS is getting a big revamp for version 7. The icons have been simplified, for starters. Meanwhile, the interfaces for various software on iOS (and OS X) lose the skeuomorphism, which seems to have bothered some (though not myself). Siri is also gaining some new voices (French, German, and male versions). There’s even a flashlight app now built-in; as others have noted, I suppose it does undermine some of the market for third-party flashlight apps.

I think the iOS revamp is long overdue. iOS 7 seems to have taken some cues from Android (the notifications, lock screen features, etc.) and even the late, lamented WebOS (the displaying of multiple running apps). Contrary to some critics, I don’t see anything wrong with Apple taking some cues from the competition…or in WebOS’ case, a nice but defunct mobile OS.

Hardware

While the MacBook Air got some incremental upgrades, the biggest hardware news was the completely revamped Mac Pro, Apple’s professional-model desktop computer that’s been largely ignored over the past few years. The new one looks quite different from the old Pro, but still has lots of expansion options, though largely external ones on this model.

I’ve already seen some make comparisons to the ill-fated Mac Cube from over a decade ago. Presumably, Apple’s resolved the Cube’s problems quite awhile ago, given the ongoing success of their small-form desktop computer, the Mac Mini.

Software

Safari’s being given some revisions, though the bigger story might be OS X’s newest version, 10.9/”Maverick.” Yes, Apple’s finally run out of “big cat” names after all these years. It’s now naming operating system versions after California locales. I’m hoping “Needles” gets chosen, since it’s where Snoopy’s brother Spike lived in “Peanuts.” If interested, Apple’s also released the default wallpaper for Maverick.

Apple’s introducing a new feature: iTunes Radio, its own competitor to Pandora, Spotify, etc., with similar features. Hopefully it’ll work out better than “Ping” did. (You don’t remember Ping? Exactly.)

The new versions of OS X and iOS 7 will run on most recent versions of iPhones/iPads/computer hardware.

As I noted earlier, I’d want to see the revised iOS in action for myself at an Apple Store. I’ll likely be upgrading to Maverick at some point, as well.

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