WWDC: Other Announcements

Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday provided a glimpse into the company’s future. The company showed off iOS 7 and Mac OS X Mavericks. While iOS 7 stole the show, there were some other interesting updates provided at WWDC that are worth discussing.

MacBook Air

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Intel announced their new Haswell chips a few weeks ago. It was speculated that Apple would update their entire Mac line to Haswell because of their low power consumption. The only line that received an update, however, was the MacBook Air. While the Air did not receive a Retina display as many had hoped, it did receive a spec bump. But the updated specs do come with positive and negative points.

On the positive side, the prices of the 13″ MacBook Air did drop $100 and the base model 11″ comes with 128GB of flash storage instead of 64GB. The real story, however, is the Haswell chips. The battery life of the 11″ model has improved to 9 hours and the 13″ now boasts 12 hours of battery life! Pretty impressive, but the processors are a bit slower. Benchmark scores are lower for the newer models, but not enough to make a huge difference.

Mac Pro

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Pro users have been waiting for an update to the Mac Pro for over two years, and Apple previewed the all new Mac Pro that will be available this fall. The new Mac Pro is 1/8 the size of the previous model and includes updated processors, internal flash storage, and 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports. This is going to be a very powerful, and expensive, machine. But there are pro users who need this type of power. The best thing about the new model is that they are being assembled in the United States.

Air Port Extreme

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Air Port Extreme received a major update at WWDC. It now features the blazingly fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The device has also been completely redesigned and looks great! Users of the Air Port Extreme can upgrade to this new model with a 2TB or 3TB Time Capsule built in. Prices start at $299.

iWork in the Cloud

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One of the less reported updates from WWDC was the fact that users would be able to edit their iWork documents in iCloud. All three apps, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, will be available on iCloud. I know what you are thinking, iWork documents already sync with iCloud. True, but users will be able to EDIT iWork documents in the cloud. Apple seems to be targeting Google Docs and Office 365 here, but will it be enough? I do not use iWork on my Mac, and I refuse to subscribe to Office. Apple says it will continue to make the stand alone apps, but what will they cost? Will iWork in the cloud have a fee too?

We do not know the answers to these questions yet, but I have always thought iWork, like iLife, should be free with every Mac. Maybe iWork in the cloud will be free, but having the Mac app will cost the standard $19.99 per app. We will find out more this fall, but I would like to see Apple make iWork a free feature of iCloud and the Mac.

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