Apple’s big yearly developer conference, WWDC, was held today, and boy, do we miss Steve Jobs. Unlike Apple events of years past, which contained some real gasp-inducing introductions and hewed to a familiar formula yet felt consistently fresh, today’s WWDC rollouts felt stale and half-hearted. Instead of introducing one or two killer products, Apple seems to have thrown a dozen mediocre things out into the public, in the hopes that volume would make up for originality.
We lost count of the new rollouts somewhere around the 40th paragraph of this live blog, but here are seven of the most underwhelming:
1. iTunes Radio
In case you’re not satisfied with Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, or any of the other hundreds of music-streaming apps out there, Apple has thrown one more onto the pile. Apple claims that iTunes Radio will “offer you an incredibly personalized experience on day one based on your listening history and past purchases from iTunes.” Meh.
2. OSX Mavericks
Apple announced today that it is updating its desktop operating system to something called Mavericks. And while the name evokes the failed McCain/Palin presidential ticket of 2008, Mavericks is maybe even less exciting than that. It has new power-saving technologies, Maps integration, and — wait for it — a feature that allows you to pick up an iBook in the same place you left off. (No joke — that is actually a feature they announced.)
3. iOS 7
Apple is also updating its mobile OS, the one that runs on your iPhones and iPads. The new OS has a “flatter,” less “skeumorphic” design than the old one, which means, basically, that the Notes app won’t look like a notebook anymore. Whatever. It looks better than the old iOS, but not enough to make anyone but the most committed design geeks click their heels in joy.
4. Mac Pro
Pictured above, I’m not sure what this thing is, really. It’s a desktop computer. It has “a central thermal core and superfast memory support,” according to TechCrunch. It is apparently going to be very powerful. It looks like R2D2.
5. iWork for iCloud
You know Google Drive? Apple has that now.
6. Dude Siri
Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant that comes standard in iOS, now has a male voice option, if for some incredibly odd reason you’d rather have a guy tell you where to find the nearest Thai takeout.
7. Improved MacBook Airs
Apple didn’t roll out new laptops today, but it did make its existing laptops slightly better. The MacBook Air now has a battery that lasts up to twelve hours — enough, Apple SVP Phil Schiller said, to “watch almost the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.”
As selling points go, “You can watch LOTR on this without plugging in” isn’t quite “a revolutionary and magical product.” But if the unexciting half-measures and updates announced today are any indication, Apple doesn’t have many more of the latter to tout.