There were several items unveiled at Apple's latest press event this week and shifting through all of the new items can be complicated. Yesterday we looked at the various new hardware. Today it's time to give the software a breakdown.
One of the biggest complaints from users in the past when Apple updates their software and computer operating system has been the cost. Traditionally, the $29 price tag for a jump up from the previous incarnation doesn't seem like a lot, but if you are more than one version behind that cost starts to rise. However, Apple has done something that it very rarely does, by using the word free and ushering in a "new area of the Macs."
Ben Bajarin, a tech analyst for Creative Strategies, told ABC News that this could also be a new era for computers in general.
"Apple has forced [Microsoft] to do annual releases of Windows based on how Apple releases operating systems," Bajarin told the news source. "I don't think Microsoft is in a position to offer Windows upgrades for free, but they need to get much more competitive and lower prices. Even the last four versions of OS X have been $29."
More than 20 Apple applications were updated, including the new Mac OS X Mavericks, and all of them are available for the low price of $0. But what do you get for that investment and how soon can you get your hands on it?
Mac OS X Mavericks - Available now
The new computer operating system was revealed back in June at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference along with iOS 7, but in its Beta form. This week, Apple officials gave the platform another demonstration for users and right away it was noticeable that this upgrade was not a dramatic overhaul that the mobile counterpart was.
However, there are a number of improvements that Apple has packed into the system. Better use of compressed memory has increased battery life for laptops. Features including Finder, Maps, Calendar, iCloud Keychain and iBooks have all been upgraded and now have improved integration.
"Don't feel underwhelmed," a Gizmodo article reads. "We already knew that Mavericks was an under-the-hood upgrade that appealed to power users. But it's full of new features that you won't know you wanted until you try them out. You can download it right away, and it doesn't matter which version you're currently running."
iLife/iWork - Available now
Apple also upgraded its productivity and creativity suites, better known as iWork and iLife. Pages, Numbers and Keynote—which makes up iWork—received a slight interface upgrade to make them more user friendly. They also gained several new effects and animations for better presentation as well as iCloud integration to improve collaboration.
iLife–iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand—saw more robust improvements. All of the systems have been improved in their iOS formats to make projects easier. Apple also improved the integration between mobile and desktop through the use of the iCloud.
GarageBand had more going on. The program now supports 32 tracks (even in the mobile version), has new effects and Drummer - a robo percussionist that adapts drum tracks for any GarageBand song.
Hardware is only as good as the software that powers it and Apple has given the computer industry much to think about. On top of that, the free price tag will immediately pique the interest of businesses looking for these types of programs. An IT consulting agency that specializes in Mac integration can help any organization implement these solutions successfully.