AHEAD OF WWDC, APPLE QUIETLY RELEASES TWO UPGRADED MACHINES
Hiding behind the search for earth-shattering hardware improvements, the whole apple ecosystem, using a combination of incremental speed and power increases, coupled with major system software improvements, is the real emerging story to watch from this year’s WWDC
Before Mojave, the macOS version that began, in earnest, the process of integration with iOS apps and features, a simultaneous upgrade to iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 Catalina would have perhaps yielded a yawn.
With a new MacBook Pro featuring an 8-core, 9th generation chip, and a new iPod Touch with the Apple A10 processor and With a new Mac Pro likely to be announced this week, there appears to be a pattern emerging.
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With iMacs upgraded in March and the Mac mini already last October, it seems the entire Apple inventory will be refreshed by the end of 2019.
The one missing piece to the puzzle could be software. And, as if on cue, WWDC this week is expected to drop news on a variety of projects, but perhaps the best will be the two system software upgrades for iOS and macOS.
‘ONE MORE THING’ SYNDROME?
Doesn’t it seem, at times, as if the magic of hardware advances and even inventions of previously non-existent technology were expected to be a “given”? Suddenly, the absence of astoundingly new devices, created from thin air, is treated almost as a failure.
Anyone who attended CES 2019 would have noticed that we are in an era of gradual, incremental change. Many decry the lack of “innovation” yet seem to miss where the real action is and, even more, where it likely will be.
“The Future Might Be Sexier Than You Think”– D.L.
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Based on the various updates alluded to above, Apple has set the stage for a year of incremental hardware improvements.
The Mac Pro is expected to be a complete re-design, iPhones are always a mixed bag or upgraded with some new features. But what all of these share, is the dependence on, and ability to benefit from, improvements in system software and apps, both free from apple and at various cost from third parties.
THERE’S A REASON SYSTEM IS IN ECOSYSTEM
Quietly, almost imperceptibly, macOS has been improving in leaps and bounds. Mojave was the first version of macOS where many long evolving technologies began to ripen. One need only look at the iCloud saga to see an example. Born as “Mobile Me” almost 20 years ago (!!) only with the Mojave / iOS 12 partnership did it really begin to show its potential.
photos by Apple
Naturally, the more machines and devices connected to the same iCloud account the more useful it is. But, in a small business setting, with a few computers, iPhones, and iPads, it really begins to shine and becomes more useful with each (free) upgrade.
photos by Apple
A few items from the list of functioning features already present in the Mojave / iOS 12 iCloud system:
- Synchronized Desktop and iCloud folders, accessible also on iOS
- Synchronized and shared notes with virtually any content
- Synchronized photos and videos across all devices
- Synchronized passwords and usernames when using Safari on any device
- AirDrop also between devices and machines in or out of the account
- Hand-off between nearby machines and devices
- Various app Sync and hand off features: Apple News, Books, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Find Friends, and more
IS THAT ALL?
It’s not so much the length of the list but the way the depth of the functionality of each part of the software expands over time. Every function or app listed above was, admittedly, barely ready for prime-time when first released.
But, with each update, including the “minor” ones, the functionality increases and often new features are added. Sometimes one has to dig for them and other times they ‘just work’, only better.
The one caveat is that relatively ‘fast’ internet access on all devices at all times is mandatory. With overall improvements in connectivity coming with 5g, not to mention all the satellite systems being built, the triumvirate of hardware muscle, software sophistication and hi-speed networking will be the “one more thing” of the era to come.
Will it be sexy like the first photo-pinch on the first iPhone ? Perhaps not. But with layering software systems, S.a.a.S. for businesses and AI infusing more and more ‘everyday tasks’ (tasks that once required expansive hardware, software and a computer science degree) with a ‘wow’ factor as yet to be measured, the future might be sexier than you think.
HOW’S THAT FUTURE LOOKING AGAIN?
Apple is leading the way with serious simultaneous improvements in 2 of the 3 pillars of the golden triangle: more muscular hardware such as the new MacBook Pro and iPod Touch, shown here, and a new galaxy of capabilities that will grow out of iOS13 and macOS 10.15 Catalina, both announced and showcased this week at WWDC.
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