While the majority of the WWDC keynote focused on the twin OSes and the Macs, It had its software moments as well. We got Apple’s Pandora competitor, some movement on the iWork front, and an Apple answer to password managers.
With streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio, I find myself listening to non-streamed music less and less. Today, Apple came out with its own answer, iTunes Radio. Like Pandora, you can start your own station based on a genre, artist, or song. Unlike Pandora, however, it links easily to the non-streaming part of the iTunes store. In fact the price to buy the song is right there. Like almost everything in this Keynote, iTunes Radio will be coming this fall as apart of iTunes for iOS, Mac, and PC. Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry users are out of luck. It will be ad supported for free or ad-free if you have iTunes Match
iWork for iCloud
Apple’s iWork suite, consisting of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, hasn’t been updated since 2009 for Mac and 2011 for iOS. It’s never shown up on any other platform. In the last four years, the productivity landscape has changed. Google’s web based Google Drive applications have made considerable inroads and perennial front runner Microsoft has gone all in on Office web apps with subscription Office 365. Apple is trying this space, or should I say trying it again? Apple tried this concept earlier under the iWork.com banner, only to give up on it last July. iWork for iCloud will available this fall on Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer browsers on your platform of choice. Firefox is conspicuously absent. Pricing, and if there will be a collaborative features like Google’s offerings, is unknown.
Password Managers like 1password or LastPass have become an important part of your internet security. I’d venture to say you’re nuts if you’re not using one. Apple is trying its own hand at this space with iCloud Keychain. It will store your passwords and even credit/debit cards and protect them with 256-bit AES encryption. Yes, it will even do random passwords. The bad news, in typical Apple fashion, they’re keeping it all in-house. If you use any non-Apple devices for work or personal use, iCloud Keychain probably isn’t for you. iCloud Keychain will ship as a feature of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks.
While none of these services might be terribly revolutionary, they bring some much needed first-party catch up to the Apple ecosystem. iTunes Radio, iWork in the Cloud, and the iCloud Keychain should be good, solid services that will hopefully enhance the Apple ecosystem for the next few years.