shiny new things

We Sat Through the WWDC Keynote And All We Got Was a New iOS

Whew, glad this isn't a weekly keynote.
This is iOS7. (Phot: Jon Friedman/Twitter)

This is iOS7. (Phot: Jon Friedman/Twitter)

Well, that was quite the slog. For two hours today, the Apple execuatti showed off the company’s new products to excited developers (and press) at the company’s WWDC keynote in California, and boy, aren’t we living in the golden age of personal computing.

For roughly the first hour and a half, Apple honchos attired in their finest business casual clothing showed off new products and generally drummed their chests. There’s the new operating system called Maverick (cue breathless John McCain jokes on Twitter), a revamped Safari browser that might make us peel away from Chrome, new MacBooks with extended battery life and a redesigned Mac Pro that looks like a Darth Vader shake weight.

Somehow, we managed to sit through that to get to the most anticipated thing since new episodes of Arrested Development: iOS 7.

This is the first major revamp of the operating system in what feels like decades. Gone is the skeuomorphic design in exchange for a vividly colorful experience, complete with redesigned apps and workflows that makes our current iPhone look like shit.

So what’s new, aside from everything? There’s the newly released Control Center that lets you control basic settings in one swipe (and you can now turn your camera’s light into a flashlight!), upgraded multitasking to help with your ever-draining battery life, and Siri got a face-lift worthy of a story line on the Real Housewives of Cupertino.

Google has gotten a major downgrade: Bing is now the search engine of choice for Siri. That makes iOS 7 pretty much the first version of the iOS devoid of anything Google-related, now that YouTube and Maps no longer come preloaded.

One last thing to mention is iTunes Radio, because Apple knows you were craving an alternative to Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and whatever else is out there. For $25 a year, users can tune in to an ad-free version which lets you listen to songs on demand and create radio stations revolving a genre/artist/song. In the demo, a link to purchase the song is prominent in the upper right corner of the screen, probably to appease the major labels to make you spend money.

Lucky developers get their hands on iOS7  today with a full release slated this autumn. It will work on iPhone 4, 4s, and 5, the current generation of the iPod Touch, and the iPad 2, Mini, and that special Retina version. For even more spec porn, the Verge and Wirecutter have complete rundowns.

If this was all underwhelming, we’re less than a 12 months away from next year’s WWDC.

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com