WWDC 2013: Predictions, and New Revelations

So I said a lot of stuff about what was going to happen, and some of it came true and some was wildly off the mark, as is to be expected. A prediction wouldn't be complete without a wrap-up, so here goes, in the order in which they were discussed at the main keynote.

OS X 10.9

The Name
My Prediction: Cougar (and more recently, Lynx, because I'm an idiot and didn't check my earlier prediction) What Happened: Mavericks

They left cats, and went to beaches/locations in California. As I noted, they were running out of Big Cats, and this is a tasteful and forward looking strategy. But, still, wrong-o.

Release Date/Details My Prediction: DP Today, Public release in August. What Happened: DP Today, Public release in "Fall".

Close, and as per traditional iOS updates debuted at WWDC. Mountain Lion got a very early preview, so it released earlier, but OS updates introduced at WWDC debut in the fall.

Features My predictions:

What will happen is that, even more so than last year, the updates OS X will get are going to be tailored to the smaller-screen, power-efficient-over-brute-strength style of laptops over desktops.

Surprisingly, not the case, especially considering this addendum from the same section;

(I'll let the multiple-monitor crowd talk about full screen apps, and share their pain and frustration with you in private.)

They addressed this head on, and fixed it. Go figure. Many thanks, and I'm really looking forward to a multi-monitor setup that works.

iCloud should have a lot more data from system preferences and settings on the desktop than it does now, so multiple Macs stay in sync as far as preferences are concerned.

iCloud Keychain could be seen as a step in this direction, and the amount of data synced with iCloud in the system is growing (i.e. the Maps app), but it's nowhere near as extensive as I predicted.

That's why I wouldn't be surprised if iCloud doesn't add many new features, but they market an increased level of reliability.

It's technically under NDA, but some of the session videos I've seen validate this, specifically in the area of Core Data. Good for them.

Remember the book layout of Address Book, the "notes in a leather notepad" look for Notes, or the faux Corinthian leather lining of Calendar? Yeah, gone. From what's being said around their campus, the word of the day as far as Apple UI design is "flat".

The Notes, Game Center and Calendar redesigns happened, but the redesigns seemed to stay there - not much on an OS-level design shift, more so "cleanup" of disgustingly skeumorphic apps, most likely waiting for a fundamental OS X rethink in 10.10 (or OS XI?).

I'd like to see App Store be the locus for all Apps, an iBooks for OS X that takes care of the iBookstore and a dedicated Podcasts app (I'd say this is why they pulled it out of the Music app on iOS). I could even see Quicktime become a more useful Media Center, or simply "Videos".

Got the iBooks app with the built in iBookstore, but nothing else.

Also, Safari 7 will release with it, and I'd imagine it's a full Webkit2 browser with support for even more CSS3 and with greatly enhanced JS rendering. It'll leapfrog Chrome as the fastest browser on OS X...for two months.

Nailed it. (I don't know if Safari 7 is the name, but it's the version number: they called it "the new Safari").

In order: a new file system, retinafied system fonts, updated features for the Finder (TABS TABS TABS), updated iWork apps, a replacement for the traffic-light (green is redundant with Full Screen), and the removal of legacy cruft like Stickies.app.

Got the Finder Tabs, iWork for iCloud showed up (with a promise for new iWork app updates for the fall), and there's a great bit of developer news regarding text, but Lucida Grande still remains and it looks like Stickies.app is here to stay. New file system was a pipe dream, and I knew it.

Hardware Updates

MacBook Air

So, I don't anticipate any striking changes on this front. No new design changes, no new ports (what would they be? HDMI? That's what Thunderbolt is for. And where would they go?) and no major new components to screw with an already stellar formula. They'll get Haswell when it arrives in late Q2, which will give them a nice speed boost and a better power consumption ratio, and with upgraded graphics they'll be even more capable machines. I don't even see a price drop - Apple has never sold a laptop for less than $1K and I don't expect them to start now because people are more than willing to pay it. I'm not in the camp that gives the Air a Retina display, either, which you'll understand in a bit.

Pretty much spot on, except for the price drop - the 13" actually dropped $100 to a $1099 starting config.

My hope against hope? An LTE radio. Likely? I honestly don't know. They've screwed around with it before, and now would be the time to do it, but making iCloud mandatory means a lot of bits are getting pushed and pulled in the background, and I don't know how much data people expect to use on their laptops, but I bet it's not that much. Consider this a sad "not likely."


AirPort / 802.11ac

This is the year that 802.11ac comes to the Mac and iOS family. I'm even going to say that an update to the AirPorts will include it as well.

Yup. One of those new AirPort Extremes will be mine very shortly (maybe even a Time Capsule, but I'm not sure yet).

Macbook Pro / Macbook Pro with Retina Display

My pre-WWDC prediction bet on updates to the whole laptop line, but they only touched the Airs on Monday. I was a bit surprised, so we'll see what happens to these lines in the fall.

Mac Pro

Currently, the Mac Pros are running on the Nehalem E-series chip, which was the generation before Sandy Bridge, making the chips inside the current generation Mac Pro one generation old (there were no Ivy Bridge E-series chips). If they make a new Mac Pro, it is with complete certainty that I can say the next generation will have Haswell E-series architecture in it, making it undoubtedly the fastest and most powerful Mac they sell.

Nope. The releases for Xeons were staggered a bit, so it looks like the Mac Pro will be running the "new" Sandy Bridge E series, which is still currently the latest Xeon. So, my bad on screwing around predicting Intel timetables.

I can also say with certainty that, if they make a new Mac Pro, it will boot from a Fusion drive, standard. The Haswell chips will necessitate new motherboards and internal architecture, so it will have Thunderbolt (at least 2) and USB 3.0 (at least 4). It will have NVIDIA's latest desktop graphics card in it, so if it needs to power an external Retina display, it could.

They went full flash instead, using custom PCIe Flash and 1866Mhz RAM. 4 USB 3.0, but 6 Thunderbolt (2), and that's what they're using for expandability, so no internal drive bays. I also didn't anticipate a switch to AMD for primary graphics cards. However, while they didnt explicitly say so, 4K support through those cards and TB2 means a Retina display is in our future.

I'm also going to come out and say that it's not going to ship with an optical drive.

That was an easy guess.

Not having that is going to enable them to slim the profile down a bit. It'll be smaller, but not miniature - it's still going to be underneath a lot of desks, so it doesn't need to shrink, but it will slim down.

Um, it's the size of a coffeemaker. They decidedly went miniature. Just because it didn't need to shrink doesnt mean it shouldn't, at least according to them.

That product will make people who were waiting for a new Mac Pro happy. It's modern, fast and just what they expected.

Happy? Who knows. It's a fundamentally different product than the previous Mac Pro, even if it's made for the same customer. It also depends a lot on there being TB2 accessories to plug into it, as well as displays that use TB2 to push 4K. "Sneak Peek", hopefully, was more for OEM's than for the developers, to get them started filling that need.

Overall, I'm excited to learn more about this, but I'm going to reserve judgment until we get more info - after all, we don't even know how much this is going to cost, and the TB accessories that will really make this a true Mac Pro replacement are still too expensive. Intel made a point of talking about the work they are doing in driving those prices down, so lets hope they do that before this comes out.

iOS 7

I think it was because they knew that the day would come where Federighi would stand up at WWDC and say that now iOS developers have the ability to get into the share sheet on iOS - and OS X, by extension.


I expect at least one of the things Eddy Cue will say at WWDC was that iCloud has seen a lot of under-the-hood work, and that speed and reliability have both seen improvement. I'd rather see that than even a new iCloud app of some kind - I understand that they might like to prove they can walk and chew gum at the same time, but they need to learn to walk first.


Apple's not a toggle company - they want people to set it and forget it. Anything you have to repeatedly switch on or off is either a) horribly designed and/or implemented, by Apple's standards, or b) something that can and should be automated in the background, like brightness and proximity sensoring. "Widgets on iOS" goes alongside "Linux on the Desktop" - always next year, never this year.

Nope. Control Center gives us toggles, always accessible from a swipe up.

It could be said that one cycle is too soon to see a complete Ive-ification of iOS, but I'm going to take Gruber's statement that iOS is running behind to say that there's lots of small refinements all across the board for iOS this year, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were chiefly in the area of UI design. Not all the skeumorphism will go, but the overly-cartoonish leather and stitching will.

There was a redesign, it was extensive, and the "running behind" was shown by the iPad version slipping behind so the iPhone could see the light at WWDC. All the skeumorphism went. They got a lot done in 7 months. Holy shit, they got a lot done in 7 months.

take PDFs out of iBooks, which is hooked up to iBooks for Mac via iCloud. Then, make Preview for iOS, and hook it up to Preview on the Mac via iCloud, and automatically take all the PDFs out of iBooks and put them there.

There's an iBooks for Mac, but no Preview. This is the thing I was really most disappointed about from WWDC.

(I'd like to see swiping a message do more than ask to delete it - give me options of what to do, or just delete it on the swipe.)


It's been a while since they've gone on stage and said "iOS is now faster." It's time...

Nothing explicitly about that. The tone of Apple's remarks about performance seem to suggest that the priority is decidedly toward reducing power consumption and conserving resources than increased speed and performance. The lack of texture and graphical assets I assumed would speed up standard processes has really been covered by the Dynamic transitions and animation, so I bet it's a wash, raw-speed-improvement-wise.

if I share a photo stream with you, you should be able to add to it.

Yup. Very happy about this.

Other stuff: nothing really added to Messages, so that just went through a redesign and got no new major features. I thought I remembered saying something about AirDrop making its way to iOS, but I was looking for any reference to it and didn't find any. In any case, AirDrop for iOS makes a lot of sense, and I wasn't surprised they added it: I'd been saying stuff about that since it came out on OS X. I just wish I'd written it down beforehand!

I've got iOS 7 installed on my phone. It's buggy, and some things are obviously incomplete, but it's not prohibitively broken to the extent that it's unusable. Put it this way: I walked around with a jailbroken device for months and have so far experienced less bugs now than I did jailbroken, so I'm OK walking around with it.

This is all to say that I'm going to spend some time walking around with it, and maybe wait until DP3 or 4 before I even begin to think about reviewing it or putting my inital thoughts down. Not only do I have a feeling that they're not done refining this thing, but it's too big of a change to think about all at once. I'm still finding little bits of it that have changed, and most of it for the better.

I will say this, however: after loading it on a dev device for a day, the transition between that and my iOS 6 device was so stark I had to put it on my primary device just to keep my head together.

I also have absolutely no idea what to expect for the iPad version of this. iOS 7 makes liberal use of space and text to delineate function. Where space is appropriate on a 3.5- or 4-inch screen, on an 8- or 10-inch screen it could be really stark, especially if it's whitespace. I hope iOS 7 on the iPad diverges from the iOS 6 layout enough to compensate for this.