New Apple Mac features unveiled

2014-06-02 20:03
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu, AP)

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu, AP)

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San Francisco - A new design and better ways to exchange files are part of Apple's new operating system for Mac computers.

Apple says the next version of the Mac system will named after the Yosemite National Park in California. Although it is separate from Apple's iOS system for iPhones and iPads, Apple CEO Tim Cook says the two systems have been engineered to work seamlessly together.

The company is previewing new features for phones, tablets and Mac computers at its 25th annual conference for software developers in San Francisco.

There's speculation that Apple could use Monday's keynote to showcase its plans to help manage people's health, finances and homes. There's also a Ferrari spotted in the building, an indication that Apple will update people on CarPlay, its project for embedding cars with some of the iPhone's main applications.

Here are the highlights on what's been announced so far and what's coming:

Mac computers

Apple appears to be updating its Mac operating system more frequently now that it is migrating many of the phone and tablet features - such as notifications - to desktop and laptop computers. The next version will be called Yosemite, now that Apple is naming the software after California locales rather than cats.

The new Mac will have a translucent design. The notification centre will use that design, for instance, to give you an advance look at your calendar, weather and other information.

You'll be able to search for content on the computer and on the internet at once, similar to a feature that came with Microsoft's Windows 8.1 system.

Apple is expanding its iCloud storage service so that you can store and sync files of any type, not just the ones designed specifically for iCloud. It's similar to how services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive let you work with the same files on multiple devices more easily.

A Mail Drop feature will make it easier to send large files. Instead of pushing the entire file by email and overloading mail servers, the Mac will create a link that the recipient can click for the full file.The Mac's Safari Web browser will have more privacy controls and ways to share links more easily.

iPhones and iPads

Apple is expected to preview new features in iOS 8, the next version of the operating system for iPhones and iPads. The new software will possibly come with new devices for the holiday season, with free updates available for recent models. The current version, iOS 7, came out in September and sports a new design that favours simplicity over three-dimensional icons that try to mimic their real-world counterparts.

IOS 8 is widely expected to include a built-in health-management tool to help people track their vital signs, diet and sleeping habits. This tool could be similar to Passbook, a feature that Apple built into iOS two years ago to store tickets for flights and events, as well as digital gift certificates.

Apple's chief rival, Samsung Electronics, incorporated fitness-related features in its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5.

The new iOS may also include a long-awaited digital wallet that enables Apple to process payments on iPhones and iPads. Google has already tried something similar on its Android software for smartphones, but it hasn't gained much traction in digital payments.

There's been speculation that Apple will unveil a home automation system that will enable iPhones and iPad to become a remote control for managing lighting, security and other household appliances with wireless connections.

Cars

Apple is developing a CarPlay to let drivers can control cars with voice commands, a touch on the steering wheel or a swipe on a display screen in the dashboard. Cars with built-in CarPlay services and radios that are compatible with CarPlay are both expected this year. Apple might give the developers an update on CarPlay's progress.

Beats

Last week, Apple announced a deal to pay $3bn for Beats Electronics, a headphone and music streaming specialist. The deal brings rapper Dr Dre and recording impresario Jimmy Iovine to undetermined roles at Apple. In an interview, Cook indicated Beats' music streaming service was the main selling point in the deal, though the headphone line also is expected to continue growing, too.

Dre and Iovine may make an appearance at the developers conference, too.

In late April, Apple updated its MacBook Air laptops with faster processors. It also lowered the starting price to $899, down from $999.

September

Apple typically holds a separate event in September to announce new iPhones. Updates to the iPad are also likely, possibly at yet another event. Many analysts also believe the company will release an internet-connected watch later this year as part of Apple's expansion into wearable technology.

- AP
Read more on:    tim cook  |  apple  |  technology
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