The World Wide Developers Conference was today. That is “World Wide” as in the Apple world. iOS gets an update. OS X Mountain Lion is discussed and new hardware is announced, most notably the MBP (MacBook Pro) Retina edition. Small footnote the Mac Pro is still kicking, for now.
As far as iOS 6 goes I think some of the changes are long over due, (read turn by turn nav) and some are to just fill out the presentation, for example passbook.
My big concern is the choice to ditch the Google Map base and do maps & nav in-house. Google Maps has a proven track record and is my GPS App of choice. I still cary a Droid X just to use the Google Navigation when the myriad of iOS navigation apps fail me. I’m not sure why apple would abandon Google Maps as the back end other than to further brand their OS and steep the user deeper into the Apple world, which brings us to a decision that has just the opposite effect, the Facebook integration… Why? Yes, it is wildly popular, but that withstanding I see no reason further integrate it into iOS, it just feels shortsighted to me. To be fair I am probably the minority on this issue being that I’m your typical socially awkward geek. I feel overall that the decision to ditch Google Maps is a fail as is the Facebook integration. We will see. Facetime over 3G is a no brainer. Canada has had it for sometime now and most networks here in the states can handle the data, I mean we are already doing it with Jailbroken iPhones with Facetime and Skype anyway.
Next up is Mountain Lion,
Dictation. Sounds great, but will it work? And how well?. This will be an amazingly useful feature when alone. Who is going to talk to their computer with other people around? We need this in all current operating systems. Whether voice control will be ubiquitous like in all the sci fi movies or not, we need to have fast and accurate dictation software as a base to build upon for the operating systems of the future.
File sharing through screen sharing will be one of those things that you wondered how you lived without after you use it…. But that being said, has anyone reading this ever used screen sharing?? I doubt it.
$20 upgrade for all your Macs. Ok $19.99, whatever, I think this might be the biggest selling point of Mountain Lion.. Will they sell a ton just because it is so “affordable?” Probably. Would all the updates gotten people to jump that $29 hurdle for each and every machine? Of-course it would, for the hardcore fans that are already submitting their orders as I type this. Heck, they probably would of paid $39 or $49 for an incremental update. The average user on the other hand? I doubt it. Now on the other hand a $20 update that you can use on all your OS X machines? That is nothing. That is a very low risk/low entry barrier with potentially high rewards for multiple machines… This might be the reason that Apple post better earnings than Wal-Mart…
Hardware time –
Mac Book Pro with a Retina display? Yes please. Until now the highest resolution screens came in the form of 30 inch models that weighed in at 2560 x 1600 and I love mine. But to get even more in a display that is half the size? Hell yeah.. Sign me up. Now for the negatives and why I will be passing on this version for the time being. No ODD (Optical Disk Drive.) Not normally a deal breaker right? Right, but with the removal of the ODD there is now nowhere to add a second internal hard drive. That is a big bummer for me as I have become accustom to having 2 internal drives, an SSD for speed and a standard HDD for storage. They did put that extra space to some good use though in the form of a larger battery with a higher capacity. This is overall a good decision because most people don’t need or want a second hard drive in their MBP, Again I’m just an outlier on that one. Which brings me to the other big gripe and the thing that when combined with the aforementioned items, and the extra $$$ for the Retina version, totals to a deal breaker. The port support. USB 3, great. I love the speed of USB 3. HDMI built in great, one less adapter to carry around. Thunderbolt, cool it is wicked fast and can be used for lots of stuff. Was there really a need for 2 of them though? I mean I use the crap out of my MBP and I own a repair shop, but I almost never use the Thunderbolt port. So was there really a need for a second one? The interface is just not that popular or ubiquitous yet. No Ethernet jack. Big sad face here for me. I like a wired connection. Maybe leave out the 2nd Thunderbolt port and save my antiquated ethernet? Please? I suppose that on this one I am again just the oddball person that likes having a hardline connection, But I hope not. Could that second Thunderbolt port be for the next gen iPhone to more quickly sync with your iTunes? I wouldn’t put it past Apple to do something like that. Especially if it helps the port become more standard fare in Laptop and Desktop PCs. Or maybe they will only include a Thunderbolt cable for the new iPhone and sell a $45-60 adapter to use it with older USB only machines.. Who knows?
As it has always been with Apple, only time will tell.