Released just this morning, Jony Ive by Leander Kahney — editor of Cult of Mac — explores the early life and meteoric rise of Apple's famous product designer. It's not based on direct conversations with its subject in the way that Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs was, but it looks pretty interesting nonetheless.
Now that Mac OS X Mavericks is available, there are some things I recommend reading to get up-to-speed:
As always, John Siracusa has written an epic (24 pages!) review of the new OS for Ars Technica. And as always, I recommend preparing beforehand by doing some calisthenics and brewing a cup of coffee (or three). Also be sure to read John's additional explanation of the review and the various formats you can read/purchase it in.
Stephen Hackett also has a great review of Mavericks you should check out. I'd say it's for those people who prefer a shorter review than Siracusa's, but who am I kidding — the true geeks among us will end up reading both anyway.
Last but not least, Federico Viticci and the other guys at MacStories have put together a list of over 70 tips, tricks, and details that will help you get the most out of Mavericks. Lots of goodies to discover here. In another article from this morning, Federico outlines what it's been like to do his work on Mavericks after a year of predominantly using iOS.
Apple just wrapped up an event that was loaded with new product announcements. I won't bother going into insane detail since the big-name blogs will have it covered, but here's a quick rundown on what was talked about.
The biggest news here is that OS X Mavericks, the iWork suite, and the iLife suite have all been made free (the caveat being that iWork and iLife are only free for newly-purchased devices from this point on) and they're all available for download today. Mavericks will also work on devices dating all the way back to 2007, which I think is pretty cool.
The iWork and iLife apps have been totally redesigned across the board, with new features throughout.
- Full file compatibility across all Mac and iOS devices.
- Pages has way better text-formatting tools than before.
- Numbers has interactive charts. For example, you can see your expenses animated over some amount of time.
- Keynote seems to be the biggest update, with new effects, animations, and transitions, with old transitions being updated with better physics. There's also real-time iCloud collaboration for your presentations now.
- iPhoto now lets you create and order photobooks on the iPad, a feature that previously was only available for the Mac.
- iMovie now includes a feature called "iMovie Theater", which is a nice-looking collection of all your videos and clips in one place. Reminds me of a media center-type interface.
- GarageBand on iOS now supports up to 16 tracks (up from 8) and lets you add customizable "drummer tracks" that are recordings of actual session drummers that can automatically play over the song you've created. Projects now sync over iCloud as well.
Hardware was really the juiciest part of today's keynote. Along with the iPhone 5s/5c, Apple has now refreshed nearly their entire hardware lineup ahead of the Christmas season (excluding iMacs and cinema displays, basically).
The Retina MacBook Pros have been updated to be more powerful, and yet cheaper to purchase. The 13" model is now $1299 (down from $1499) and the 15" model is $1999 (down from $2199).
The new Mac Pro that will be available in December and starts at $2999, making it the most expensive ashtray I've ever seen. All kidding aside though, it does have some neat features:
- Fastest processor and memory of any Mac ever
- Dual-workstation GPUs (a first for Macs)
- All storage is flash-based — no more spinning HDDs
- Thunderbolt 2 ports
- 4K video support, and for multiple displays
- 70% less energy consumption than the previous Mac Pro
- It's somehow as quiet as a Mac mini
Now, the new iPads were the most exciting announcement for me personally. Rather than calling the new full-size model 'iPad 5', they went with 'iPad Air', and they're releasing an iPad mini with Retina display!
A quick rundown:
- Thinner, lighter, and more powerful.
- Bezel is 43% smaller.
- 7.5mm thick, which is 20% thinner than the iPad 4.
- Only weights 1lb, down from 1.4lb.
- Reduced battery size, yet same battery life as before (10 hours).
- A7 chip and M7 coprocessor (same as iPhone 5s).
- Support for even more LTE bands, meaning better connectivity.
- Available in two colors: silver/white and space gray/black.
- Available at $499 (non-LTE) and $629 (LTE), and starts shipping Nov 1.
- iPad 2 still available as a lower-cost full-size model at $399.
- Retina display!
- A7 chip, but no mention of M7 that I can recall. (UPDATE: I've been informed by my buddy Nate that it does indeed have an M7 chip.)
- 10-hour battery life.
- Thinner than a pencil (as shown in a great video that I imagine will be available online soon)
- Priced at $399 (no LTE) and $529 (with LTE).
- New Smart Covers ($39) and new leather cases ($79). Both are available in Product (RED) in addition to the standard colors.
- The non-Retina iPad mini is still available, and has been lowered from $329 to $299.
Overall, this was a huge announcement by Apple. This holiday season is sure to be exciting for a lot of people.
The Verge interviews the man behind Apple's iconic product images. The Apple stuff is interesting of course, but I particularly liked this part:
“What do you photograph for fun?”
“My kids! I know that sounds boring but it’s not. I’ve been taking a photograph of them everyday since they were born. This is a great outlet for me because it’s very different than my normal work. It’s something I can do and not worry what a client or anyone else thinks. Without that pressure I can take risks and experiment. I’m the dad that shows up to baseball games with a 400mm lens. I can hear my kids say to their friends, "It’s just what my dad does — ignore him.”
Frasier Spiers looks at the history of iOS:
“Three times in my career, Apple has shipped software that conventional wisdom said basically couldn't be done. The first was the Carbon layer of Mac OS X: most of the Mac toolbox running on a preemptively multitasking, protected memory Unix kernel. The second was Rosetta: PowerPC apps running unmodified and, for the most part, perfectly well on Intel processors.
iOS was the third. Conventional wisdom said that you couldn't possibly get a desktop OS running on a phone. Conventional wisdom said that you couldn't get rid of a user-visible filesystem. Conventional wisdom said you couldn't require all software on the platform to come through a first-party app store.
Right now, just before WWDC 2013, I think it's important to take time to appreciate exactly what iOS has achieved.”
He presents some fantastic data points, then delves into items he believes iOS should improve on for power users. Highly recommended reading, so grab a cup of coffee and go check it out.
I don't typically dabble in Apple rumors around here, but this one makes me very excited, with only a slight tinge of worry:
“According to multiple people who have either seen or have been briefed on the upcoming iOS 7, the operating system sports a redesigned user-interface that will be attractive to new iOS users, but potentially unsettling for those who are long-accustomed to the platform...”
“The last thing Apple should do is ignore Samsung, to just sit there and take it, stoically. I think Microsoft took that stance against Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign and it hurt them. When you’re the market leader, you do need to be more graceful, it’s harder, but you still need to fight. That’s why Pepsi will trash Coke by name, but Coke will never mention Pepsi. ”
Couldn't agree more. It's kind of hard to believe that, despite the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" campaign from only a few years ago, people thought Apple wouldn't be the type to directly respond to Samsung's recent (and popular) attack ads.
Apple is a company with plenty of fight in it, don't worry.
"This was the most open decision — in Wu’s sense of the word open — in the entire history of Apple Computer Inc.
And it nearly bankrupted the company."
Gruber doing excellent work, as always.
"The Wallet app is designed to let users store things such as event tickets, boarding passes, membership cards, and coupons in one central location, much in the same fashion as Apple's Passbook app for iOS."
"As for the Apple influence, aside from the look and feel of the app and icon (pictured above), the Samsung Wallet app doesn’t seem to provide any additional functionality above and beyond what Passbook already offers."
Passbook has been around for a while now, but I have yet to be impressed by it in my personal life. In fact, I think it was a pretty poor launch on Apple's part.
Say what you want about their penchant for copying Apple, but this could have been Samsung's chance to blow the competition out of the water. Sounds like they blew it.