WWDC 2013 keynote: top 5 things we learned from Apple's iOS 7 reveal

There are people out there who still manage to live an unconnected life. Right now, they might be foraging for berries amongst the orangutans in Borneo, or enjoying some quality clothes-free time on a sparsely populated Greek island. For the rest of us, there's Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. If you missed the big keynote, make sure you catch up on all the action from WWDC, because a lot went down at the Moscone West conference centre on 10 June. Without further ado, here are the top five things we learned from the WWDC keynote.

iOS 7 is Apple's next history boy

Apple's illustrious history is filled with many key moments and a number of seminal products, from the original Macintosh to the iPod and the iPhone. In iOS 7, the company has the latest jewel in its crown. To say that onlookers, techie or otherwise, have been impressed by the new iteration of Apple's mobile platform is an understatement. Admittedly, WWDC is largely a temple for the converted, but even advocates of other mobile operating systems have begrudgingly admitted that Apple's new OS looks pretty slick - if only because some iOS 7 features are an obvious nod to rival platforms. What features impressed the most? iPhone and iPad owners who use their device in a business context will be particularly pleased by the new Control Center, which provides easy access to key settings, via a swipe from the bottom of the screen. From there, you can tweak wireless modes, Do Not Disturb, and screen brightness, as well as make use of shortcuts to the Camera app and other utilities.

App management has also been improved by the ability to swipe between programmes - a feature that closely mimics the virtual desktops of OS X. Out of the office, the revamped iOS 7 Photo app offers edge-to-edge image presentation, a welcome feature that is pleasing to the eye, as is the new minimalist messaging interface. There's even a flashlight now, in case you were thinking of taking your iPhone cave diving. Make no mistake, this is Apple's most accomplished mobile platform to date.

...But iOS 7 isn't perfect

It has to be said that major Apple events like WWDC produce a fair bit of hysteria. There's little doubt that the Cupertino crew turned iOS 7 into one of the better releases, but that's not to say it's flawless. Enterprise iOS users will wish that Apple's new mobile platform had introduced directly actionable Notifications, and it's also disappointing that Safari still doesn't have room for a file-manager. Similarly, a native document management app - especially one integrated with iCloud - would have been a real boon for iOS in the eyes of business users. Elsewhere, there's a sizeable chunk of people who will be disappointed that iOS 7 will only come to the iPhone 4 and above - eventually, OS updates always end up having to leave older devices behind, but it's still sad to see the iPhone 3G and 3GS now firmly on the chopping block. Others still may be surprised that it will come to the iPhone 4 at all, given that both the fourth-gen iPod and the original iPad - both of which use the same processor - won't support it.

Apple is angry

Looking back on WWDC 2013 down the road, the sound bite that will stick in many people's mind is Phil Schiller's declaration that Apple "can't innovate any more, my ass!". While Schiller's comment was obviously intended partly to amuse the audience, there was a certain combativeness to Apple at this year's WWDC as the firm looks to bounce back from a relatively subdued 2012. The iPhone 5 didn't garner the universal praise of its predecessor, the 4S, while the many strengths of iOS 6 were largely undermined by the Apple Maps disaster. Consequently the whispers going into 2013 were that Apple could be losing its Midas touch - whispers that got louder with every month that didn't see a blockbuster launch. WWDC 2013 represented a key moment for Apple on its journey into the future, and the fighting spirit it demonstrated could go a long way to inspiring confidence amongst investors.

Jony Ive is the heir apparent to Steve Jobs 

This isn't to do Tim Cook down in any way. In fact, Cupertino's Cookie Monster is starting to look rather at home in his new shoes and put in one of the strongest performances of his tenure at WWDC 2013. Cook's time in the Apple dugout has plenty of life left in it if Moscone West is any indicator, so we may be well looking five or even 10 years ahead here. But when the time does come for the next great Apple succession race, there should be little doubt that Jony Ive is the man for the job. The seamless way he translated his design nous from its traditional hardware focus to the look and feel of iOS is as much evidence of his leadership capabilities as it is his keen eye. The fear for Ive supporters will no doubt be that Silicon Valley's more tribal instincts prevail when it comes to appointing Tim Cook's successor and Phil Schiller's CV is also hugely impressive. But with a better understanding of the Apple brand than anyone on this mortal coil, it's Sir Jony that's the man for the job - his natural charisma makes him the true heir apparent to one Steve Jobs.

2013 is the year of the platform

We saw it at Google I/O and again at WWDC – 2013 is emerging as the year of the platform. The big boys are firmly focused on consolidating and bettering their ecosystems, and Apple appears to have accomplished that, not only with iOS 7 and Mac OS X Mavericks, but also through WWDC 2013's less heralded debutants: iTunes Radio and the iCloud Keychain, as well as the appearance on Mavericks of Maps and iBooks.

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As a freemium Internet music service, iTunes Radio is a would-be Spotify killer with a potential ace up its sleeve in the form of Siri integration, while the iCloud Keychain gives users the ability to manage passwords over the cloud - a risky undertaking when enterprise data is at stake, but an immensely useful feature if it can be pulled off.

Elsewhere, by dropping Maps and iBooks on to OS X Mavericks, Apple seems to have provided further proof of its intent to unify iOS and OS X one day. When that happens, it's likely we'll look back on 2013 as the year that Apple really went to town optimising the way its services and products interact with and relate to each other - that this latest instalment of WWDC was when the Apple ecosystem fully came of age.

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