Apple’s annual developer conference, which begins today, is expected to show an overhauled mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads, reports the WSJ, as well as new laptops and a streaming music service.
Apple gave developers an early preview of iOS-7, used by iPhones and iPads, at World Wide Developers Conference today. It will be released to consumers in the coming months. iOS-7, overseen by Apple’s longtime hardware-design guru, Jonathan Ive, will include new ways to share photos and videos with other iPhone users, a streaming-music service, improved notifications and photo options. Apple iOS 7 also supports Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0 for seamless roaming between carriers and WiFi hotspots.
New features in iOS 7 include Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Safari, Siri and introduces iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on the music you listen to on iTunes.
iTunes, Apple’s music-download service, has long been a cash cow for Apple. But that loyalty has been threatened as users shift to services like Pandora that allow on-line streaming music with ads or an unlimited number of songs for a monthly fee.
Google recently announced its own streaming-music service for Android devices, called Play Music All Access and Amazon.com is reportedly in discussions with record labels about one too. Meanwhile, streaming audio services like Spotify and
Rdio are booming.
Apple refreshed the MacBook Airs with Haswell CPUs, more memory, longer battery life, and new WiFi. Both the 11″ and 13″ models now come standard with 128GB SSDs (as opposed to 64 gigs on the 11-inch model). They’re available today, with the 11-inch version still priced from $999, and the 13-incher starting at $1,099. They come with 802.11ac WiFi. Apple announced a new AirPort Extreme WiFi router with support for simultaneous dual-band 802.11 ac and a “beamforming” antenna to enhance performance.
The cylindrical, 9.9-inch tall Mac Pro is stuffed with next generation Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, PCIe-based flash storage, and ultra-fast ECC memory. The all-new Mac Pro is said to be up to 2.5 times faster than the current Mac Pro and delivers up to 7 teraflops.
Apple’s OS X 10.9 Mavericks ships this fall with tabbed Finder, Maps and iBooks apps. Presumably new Macbook Pros will be available then as well.
The next iPhone isn’t expected until the fall, with the latest model expected to look a lot like the current one. Meanwhile, Samsung has widened its market share to about 33% of all smartphones shipped world-wide in the first quarter, up from 29% a year earlier. Apple had 17%, down from 23%, reports IDC.