Apple’s new era
Last week saw the most significant set of announcements from Cupertino since the passing of Steve Jobs. Is Apple’s new dawn enough?
Steve Jobs saw design as something beyond what products look like. Design, he said, was how things work. This principle underscores product development at Apple and is alive and well in its latest offerings. Things have changed when it comes to aesthetic philosophies, however. Last week at the annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) CEO Tim Cook and his team unveiled a set of Apple products with a striking new look. The company is more secretive than ever about what it is working on and the reigns of design have been fully handed to Sir Jonathan Ive who has always sculpted Apple’s hardware, but who now oversees software interfaces too.
We didn’t see an Apple television set, watch or any of the other things that wilder speculations have suggested the company may be working on. WWDC also isn’t the kind of event where Apple would announce new product categories anymore – that stuff happens before and after. June is about existing platforms and how they are changing and improving. Apple announced a new Mac Pro tower, version of the OS X operating system entitled ‘Mavericks’, an update to the MacBook Air and the latest version of iOS that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch products.
Cook kicked things off on the mobile front by rubbishing Android and displaying statistics about how Apple users spend more money on their devices – whether on or in apps, or in online shopping in general. The message was clear: if you want to make money, you need d to do it on our stuff.
iOS 7 was intro- duced as a new be- ginning. It adds some e features that are simi- lar to Android – such h as the ability to quickly access toggles for WiFi, Bluetooth and d other frequent settings gs – along with a new, w f latter look and feel. The operating sysstem interface is quite strikingly different from anything else on the market, using stark luminescence and colour matching to bring something that is both minimal and f lat in look, while still personal and polished in feel. It’s a big departure from the skeumorphic presentation of interfaces (which made them resemble their real life non-digital counterparts) in previous versions of iOS, but isn’t quite as f lat as what Microsoft is doing in Windows Phone, nor distinct as what Google is doing in Android. It certainly is unexpected.
Unveiling iOS 7, Ive said, “There is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity pp g g is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation, it it’s about bringing order to complexity.” Bringing order to complexity is so something Apple does v very well, even if it has brought disdain from more technically-savvy d detractors who mistake t that simplicity for inadequacy.
Then there was the brilliantly engineered Mac Pro that looks like something out of a Stanley Kubrick science fiction film wi with a sleek, black, cylindrical case and some of the planets most sophisticated guts lurking within. Manufactured in the USA, the new Mac Pro is a ridiculously powerful workhorse for creative professionals and software developers.
After running through the key features of the new Mac Pro, Apple’s Philip Schiller remarked: “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass.”
Finally, iTunes Radio was announced as a streaming music service that will be free to customers who are happy to endure advertising, or who are subscribed tom to Apple’s iTunes Match service. Nothing major here – but does enhance discoverab ability in iTunes.
The market seemingly approved of Apple’s new offerings. The stock was up 2.95% at time of writing on a day when most tech listings were down. A return to massive highs is going to require new product categories, however, so expectations i are high for more announcements b before the end of the year.