At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced upgrades to its OSes, Macbook Air, and Macbook Pro — and a direct competitor to your favorite internet radio station, Pandora.
iTunes Radio is coming this fall and will contain, at least, the following features: It will be available on all iOS 7 devices (that means it won’t be on your iPhone without an upgrade); it will include ads, unless you subscribe to iTunes Match; it can create custom stations built around a song or artist; it will allow you to buy the songs that you stream; and it will allow you to “thumbs-up” a track you like. Yes, it’s a lot like Pandora.
Other highlights from the WDC below:
Apple execs announced the OS X Mavericks — which isn’t named after a “sea lion,” as software head Craig Federighi joked. The Mac desktop OS will have new support for multiple monitors, an iCloud Keychain for managing multiple passwords, a redesigned calendar, and many tech-crunching improvements that should, Apple says, improve battery life.
On the mobile platforms, iOS 7 (available this fall for iPhone 4 and newer, the iPad 2 and newer, iPad Mini, and iPad Touch 5 and newer) brings its own suite of upgrades. Notifications will now be available from the lock screen — trading convenience for privacy — while the core apps (weather, email, photo) have been redesigned, some significantly. Safari will have a “cover flow” capability, allowing you to speedily scroll through multiple pages. Also, apps will now update automatically. Siri has a new voice! Most importantly, you’ll be able to block Facetime and iMessaging.
Food for thought: The OS redesigns emphasize flatness and sleekness — an embrace of the Windows aesthetic instead of a rebuke?
The Macbook Air — available now — has “all day” battery life, including up to 10 hours of iTunes movie playback. (As someone tweeted, that’s almost enough to marathon the LOTR trilogy.) Additionally, the Macbook Pro hard drive is 10 times faster than the previous model and supports 4k displays.
And still the Internet is abuzz with the news of Apple’s new radio service, which is both a direct challenger to Pandora and clone-like. Will iTunes Radio be an organic extension of the program’s services? My advice: Be Switzerland: Listen to Spotify.
TechCrunch has a great live blog of the conference, which is worth your attention. What’s got you most excited?