This week saw Apple's annual Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) take place in San Jose, California and as always, we saw a new array of Apple products and indeed, a shed-load of ridicule from some wonderful people on Twitter...
The New Mac Pro - A Hefty Price Tag, But Worth The Money
Perhaps the most intriguing addition to Apple's product lies in the brand new Mac Pro tower. This follows on from the 'trash-can'-designed Mac Pro from 2013, but instead, the new Mac Pro takes on the form of a cheese grater, as described in various Twitter memes:
Indeed, these new names do seem much more creative than the classic Mac Pro, although there were some calls from social media users to rename it the classic iGrater. Some design features did catch the eyes of Rich DeMuro too:
Besides the various memes that have spawned out of the work of some eagle-eyed Twitter users, the actual specification of the new Mac Pro does seem to be designed for hardcore editors at production firms. It boasts a 28-core Intel Xeon W processor, as well as a maximun of both 1.5TB of RAM and 4TB of internal SSD storage. Despite the starting $5999 price tag according to the Silicon Valley developers, the new Mac Pro packs an almighty punch, and that would be expected from its hefty price tag, to consumers certainly.
However, the $5999 price tag is only for the tower system. The Pro Display XDR monitor will set you back an extra $4999 and indeed, that's only for the panel. Any prospective buyers will also have to have the financial means to shell out an added $999 for a stand, which, personally speaking, does seem a tad excessive. According to the calculations of website The Verge, a fully upgraded Mac Pro could set you back well in excess of $50,000.
MacOS Catalina & The Demise Of iTunes - The Progression Of Societal Habits
Also represented at the WWDC was an upgrade for MacOS named Catalina. Most notably, Catalina will do away with the old desktop iTunes app and instead split it up into three new sections - Apple Music, Podcasts and Apple TV. Users now wishing to connect their iPhone to their Mac will have to operate through MacOS's Finder system.
One landmark addition to MacOS Catalina is a new process called 'Sidecar' that allows users to connect their iPad to their Mac and use it as a second screen. Some applications such as Adode Photoshop will immediately support Sidecar, but Apple has said that the new applications should work straight out of the box and require little to no optimisation.
Apple has also introduced full voice control for their accessibility requirements on both new iOS and MacOS builds. A full release of Catalina is expected this coming autumn, whilst a public beta will be released in July.
iOS 13 - A Faster And Safer Operating System
This year's WWDC also saw the advent of Apple's latest operating system - iOS 13. It brings a wealth of all-new features, such as a new 'Dark Mode' and also a exclusively phone-based system. Instead of running iOS 13 on the latest iPads, from now on, Apple has split down their operating system into the phone-exclusive iOS 13 and an all-new iPadOS for its iPads.
The landmark feature for the latest iteration of Apple's mobile operating system is 'Dark Mode'. Dark Mode will allow for the user interface to be changed to a white-on-black look, as opposed to the reverse. This allows for a more eye-pleasing look that will help for those who are using their phone late at night ans also will aid greatly in prolonging battery life.
FaceID has also had a revamp and now runs 30% faster than its older counterpart. App sizes have been reduced by 50% and updates by 60% .
Indeed, this is compounded by apps launching twice as quickly as usual. Apple's Senior Vice President Of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, was quoted as saying: "Nothing is more important to our iPhone users than performance." with regards to the new speed fixes.
Rather intriguingly, the new iOS has also seen support from Xbox and Sony to provide both Xbox and Playstation controller support, allowing for more precision in gaming. This comes in part with Apple's new 'Apple Arcade' service, with a game library with over one-hundred exclusive titles from developers and key players such as Sega. Indeed, all of this combines to increase Apple's presence in the gaming community as they look to rival Microsoft's Project xCloud and Google's Stadia project that was unveiled only a couple of months ago.
WatchOS 6 - A Greater Degree Of Independence
Finally, this year's WWDC did not disappoint when announcing the latest incarnation of Apple's watch operating system, WatchOS.
WatchOS will now feature its own standalone Watch App Store and grants app developers the ability to develop new apps that do not require the usual companion of the iPhone. Also coming to Apple Watch is a new voice-memo application, along with both a calculator and audiobooks, and some new watch faces.
Tracking on the Health app now compares metrics on physical activity such as steps and floors over the past 90 days to the rest of the year, providing users with coaching when their trend fitness levels are down. Menstrual cycle tracking has also been added to both the Health app for iPhone and the Apple Watch itself.
A new app, Noise, also managed to find its way into the WWDC, and provides users with a new feature on surrounding decibel levels, warning them when it gets closer to damaging your hearing, such as being at a concert or construction-site noise.
In short, Apple's WWDC performance this year could be considered to be stellar and its lineup of new products and services has not disappointed. It gives an inside look into the minds of the California boffins and also kick starts hype and confirms longstanding rumours.