This is part two of a three-part series that will look at Apple's announcements from the Worldwide Developers Conference Keynote presentation as well as the rumors that are still just talk. Today we look at some new and upgraded hardware and services.
While iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and the new Mac Pro were the main headline grabbers from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, there were several other upgrades and new products or services that have people talking.
MacBook Air, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule
Apple's slimmest laptop received a much needed refresh. The laptop will now come with Intel's new Haswell processors and a massive battery life upgrade. With regular use, the computer will last 50 percent longer than the current model and allow for nine hours of HD video playback, instead of the current six hours.
The computer will also feature dual built-in microphones, Wi-Fi boost with 802.11ac and was dropped slightly in price. The line is available today.
The Airport Extreme and Time Capsule were also updated to match the new wireless technology.
iCloud and iWork
Yesterday we touched briefly one feature of the iCloud update – the iCloud Keychain for saving all passwords in Safari and credit card information with 256-bit AES encryption. The new iCloud will also improved syncing of and sharing of Calendar, Maps and Notifications applications, which allows users to operate on all devices seamlessly.
However, the big news is the creation of a browser-based version of iWork – Apple's office productivity suite. The program will operate on both Macs and PCs and be a full version of the program, not a watered-down version. Now users can easily drag and drop projects and edit on the fly from their computers, iPhones or iPads.
iTunes Radio and iOS in your car
Rumors of a Pandora-style streaming music services had gained major steam in the weeks leading up to WWDC. This was fueled by reports that the company was in the process of finalizing deals with several music production companies for the rights to stream their artists' music.
The new service is called iTunes Radio and will be a built-in, standard application on iOS 7 and free to use. It features artist-based radio, a simple and friendly interface, voice search, and iCloud integration. If you like a song, you will be able to purchase it through iTunes.
Apple also teased an iOS for your automobile. While details are scarce we do know that a launch date of 2014 is set with car manufacturers like Honda, Mercedes and Volvo on board, this could be as close to an "iCar" the market gets.
The service is powered by Siri and includes an integration for settings and web searches, as well as access to apps like Twitter and Wikipedia. Drivers will be able to safely sync their iPhone 5 with the car's dashboard to can use voice controls to "make calls, access music, send and receive messages, get directions and more," according to the Apple website.
While the hardware may be available today, some of the services are still in the beta stage and many experts have yet to get a hand on them to really test them out. Many businesses will be looking into ways to add these services and devices to a Mac integration solution that is already in process. With the help of an IT consulting firm that specializes in Apple solutions, any company can feel confident about this decision.