Apple had its big annual event this week, their World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). The big Apple show case used to be Mac World. That event started in the mid-1980s and during its heyday offered the faithful an east coast and a west coast exposition. I fondly recall attending the last two east coast Mac World shows in 2004 and 2005 (held in Boston). With the launch and popularity of the iPhone and the iPad three years later, Apple decreased their reliance on Mac World and eventually began having their own press events for new product launches. The WWDC was focused on developers in the past, but their keynote address is now attended for a general audience.
Apple’s announcements were very conservative in nature this time around. There was no big splash. Here is a summary for you.
Mac: Concerning our Macs, Apple will be updating the OS to 10.11 – “El Capitan.” Remember that since OS 10.9 Apple is using California landmarks to identify its operating systems. OS 10.11 will not bring revolutionary changes. This is a good thing. The current OS, 10.10, needs some refinement. El Capitan will give us security and stability enhancements. Around the world, whether its Windows users, Mac users, iOS users, or Android users, people are saying JUST GET IT RIGHT. We don’t care about radical revisions right now. Give us a few new things, but don’t change the old things that work. I really think Apple, Microsoft and Google are listening this time.
My advice will be the same as it was last year. The new Mac OS will be out in the fall, late September – late October. Give the launch a few weeks and then it can be updated from the App Store. You can do this on your own, but some of you will also want my professional assistance through this process. I will make a backup copy of the new OS like I did last year. All Macs that have 10.10 should have no problem upgrading to 10.11.
iOS: iOS will be updated to version 9 later this year. As with the Mac OS update, Apple is focusing on stability and security enhancements. iOS (the software that powers iPads and iPhones) is a very upgrade-centric user experience. The latest version, 8.3, was released in early April. I think most of you have it already. It was a critical update. Within days after its release, Apple deemed all previous versions insecure. With a computer operating system, you may have more leeway to update to the latest version. However, with iOS devices — if there is an update — you do it. There will be an 8.4 that comes out soon and maybe an 8.5 before version 9 comes out.
iOS iPad specific features: There will be some iPad specific enhancements in iOS 9. One will be improved cursor functionality. Compared to computers or even Android devices, placing the cursor on an iOS device is not one of its strong points. However, given the very favorable reception to Microsoft Word for iPad and its use with other apps which require typing (ex. note taking and email), Apple really needed to improve the user’s ability to have more control over the cursor. This feature is coming. Furthermore, there will be a “snap” feature which will allow users to have two apps open (or snapped to each side of the screen) at once. To be honest, this new feature seemed surprising because it was one of the features that Microsoft introduced with Windows 8. It was not a bad option, but rather just another brick in the wall in the disaster that was Windows 8. All of the features were not bad, the problem was that Microsoft tried to give people too many features at once.
iOS devices on their last legs: With every new iOS release, it is very possible that some older devices may not be supported anymore. I think the likely candidates this time around are the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s. Both of these devices were released in 2011. You may have purchase one more recently than that, but the possibility of their deprecation drives home a point that I have made for some time. Our mobile devices are not computers. They will not be getting software updates for 5 years. Do not be fooled by a cell phone store offering a 2 year old iPhone for $0. It isn’t free and your ability to update and enjoy it to its fullest potential will be severely limited. Apple may say that iOS 9 offers limited support for older devices like the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s. If this is true, they will still get the security updates. It will still be safe to use them under this scenario.
I will discuss the Apple Music service in a future update.