Thoughts on WWDC

It’s been a couple of weeks since Apple’s WWDC, so here are some of my thoughts.

The opening video

I really liked the ‘Designed by Apple in California’ video which opened the keynote. It’s clearly setting out what Apple is about and where it’s going, but it definitely feels more like an Ives/Cook vision rather than a Steve Jobs one.  Jobs’s Apple was about changing the world (as spelt out in the Think Different ad), whereas the ‘Designed by Apple’ video shifts the emphasis over to design –- changing the world one device and one happy customer at a time.  I like it, but it is slightly different.  It’s Apple finding its voice again, demonstrated too in the iPhone photos ad.  Apple is aiming at the heart, aiming at making every day lives ‘happier’ by the power of design. Or something.

Apple Stores

Apple Stores are clearly now Cook’s baby, and he seems to be doing well with them.  The creepy over-the-top store opening videos are a bit much though.

OSX Mavericks

I like the new name, picking a famous place from Apple’s home, California.  It ties into the whole ‘Designed by Apple in California’ thing as well, which is nice.  Sea Lion would have a been a good name though…

It didn’t seem like a dramatic update sort of release, but has a nice set of new features.  I’ve never heard Apple being quite so rude about their previous release (with all the jokes about not harming any cows in the making of ‘Calendar’), but they do have a fair point.  Maps and iBooks are obvious but great additions, and Finder Tabs and Multiple Displays make a lot of sense.

However, it’s the interesting stuff in the Core Technologies Overview, buried deep in the Advanced Technologies page, that I like.  Like how SMB2 is the default protocol for file sharing. This is (hopefully) going to make having Macs on a Windows Active Directory (even) easier and reliable.

Mac Pro

Nice. Even the mobile-friendly page that tells you all about it as you swipe down is nice. I wonder how much one of those canisters will set you back though…

iWork for iCloud Beta

Genius.  Hopefully it will work well too!  In some training recently I was showing teachers how to use iWork on the Mac and then how, via iCloud, how the documents can appear on their iPads.  Having the ability to edit these documents on a PC too makes iWork more and more of an Office killer.

iOS7

I’ve been wondering for a while what an Ives’ iOS would look like, and here it is.  It’s quite a big change aesthetically, but structurally iOS remains familiar and just as useable underneath.  The crusade against skeuomorphic design has been taken to a whole new level, and I wonder what will happen when iWork and iLife get an Ives makeover.

I do like the way that the interface is more dynamic.  Seeing the parallax scrolling animation on the home screen was one of those ‘wow!’ moments, making the background have a sort of hologram effect.  I’m pleased that the weather app finally gets some love, making it look as cool as some of the weather apps on Android or Windows Phone.

One thing that will make my life a whole lot easier when managing carts of iPads, is that app updates are now automatic.  Yay!  That’s going to save me hours of my life…

We didn’t really get to see what iOS7 looks like on an iPad, but I guess you can’t have everything.  I wonder if there are any exciting things up Apple’s sleeve for a bigger screen.

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Teacher iPads

With great rejoicing, our class teachers all received an iPad 2 last week for use in the classroom for teaching and learning. As we’ve now got some class sets of iPad minis for children (which work really well! The sweet spot between affordability, size and therefore quantity you can put in a classroom. Maybe I’ll post about that sometime…), we had some older iPads that needed to find a new home.

I decided I would completely set up the iPads for the teachers rather than leaving some stuff for them to do. This took rather along time, but I reckon it was worth it in terms of saving precious time for teachers and making sure that everything was set up how I wanted it to be for teachers, rather than hoping they follow my instructions!

The steps were as follows:

  • Follow the setup assistant, entering in the wifi code and agreeing to various stuff.
  • Set up the Apple ID for each teacher using the school email address.
  • Enroll the iPad to our MDM server (the glamorous Mountain Lion Server Profile Manager). This then automatically sets up the email settings (as described in a previous blog). I then could verify the email address for the Apple ID straight from the iPad
  • Begin redeeming VPP codes on each Apple ID. This was a bit time consuming, but was sped up by emailing the URLs found on the VPP spreadsheets
  • Hand to teachers, after pushing out a profile that requires a passcode on teacher iPads

It was a lot of tapping and then waiting, so I tended to try and do several iPads at the same time, swapping between the two whenever I had to wait before tapping the next button.

The results so far have been teachers making use of iPads in lots of unexpected but very sensible ways. Such as taking photos of children’s work, modelling how to use an app whilst reflecting to the big screen, prepping for an iPad lesson, using the iPad to differentiate for SEND children, keeping up to date with emails etc etc. I’m hoping it will help teachers think of more and more creative ways of using iPads as a tool for learning in the classroom.