Yesterday was the WWDC, Apples developer conference where they show off the latest products and developments to developers world wide.

This year’s keynote speech as come and gone with a range of new announcements which has got Apple fanboi’s somewhat overexcited, and the rest of us interested but not ecstatic.

Up for a refresh was a range of ‘new’ laptops (something PC manufacturers do every week of the year), Snow Leopard, an updated version of Leopard, lots of new apps in the iStore, enhanced functionality to the iPhone with OS 3, and an updated iPhone called iPhone 3GS (for speed, doncha know?).

So, in detail.

Snow Leopard is a new version of the operating system for Mac’s, and has such advanced features as Microsoft Exchange support, a faster browser and updated Quicktime.  In the world of Windows, these are called service packs, but Mac users must shell out $29 for these tweaks and updates.  They’re also moving their core code completely to 64 bit and have improved multi-core cpu handling and better API’s to make it easier to support multi-core’s.

iPhone OS 3.0 is updated for the existing iPhones, to offer cut/copy/paste functionality, MMS functionality, Video recording, Movie rental/purchase from the device, tethering to allow you to use the iPhone’s mobile broadband functionality with a Windows or Mac machine rather than a dongle. They’re bringing an improved browser to make it even more desktop like, language support, remote kill switch (for MobileMe users only and I suspect built at the demand of corporates), find my iPhone (for absent minded folks) and better/easier communication with 3rd party peripherals and sensors.  One big excitement is TomTom, rumoured for over 12 months and finally arriving in the App store.

iPhone 3GS is an iPhone 3G update, faster better stronger, covering such support as 7.2 mbps HSDPA, 3mp Camera, Voice control, Digital Compass (for when GPS isn’t accurate enough) and options of 16gb and 32gb storage capabilities, with the original 3G sticking at $99 for the 8giger.

So all in all, nothing groundbreaking – everything that Apple are billing as ground breaking is nothing new in the rest of the IT industry, but it certainly sounds like they’re starting to get their act together regarding features and functionality that every other smart phone has been able to do for the past 3 years.  However, once again, I’m going to wait to see what the caveats are, just like what came about after the iPhone 3G appeared on the scene.

Flawless Apples?

Good news everyone!   Apple are now selling DRM free tunes via iTunes, bringing them in-line with the other competitors in the industry, notably Amazon and 7digital.  Whilst its not the entire back catalogue yet (8 million tracks, out of 10 million), this is a welcome step towards getting rid of DRM.  However its not a total 3d_Apple_Logo_102removal – they’re having multi-tiered approach from now on.  The cheapest tracks will still have some DRM, and the more expensive ones won’t.  Plus, they will be releasing tracks with iTunes Plus format,  a 256kbps AAC format, presumably for the audiophiles.    Oh yes, and another nice feature, the iPhone will now be allowed to download tracks from iTunes via 3G, rather than just wifi – surely a decent step for Apple into the 21st Century?

At the moment, there still seems to be a fair few ifs and buts, however, I shall watch this one with interest.  Whether existing users will choose to pay the extra 20p PER TRACK to upgrade their existing music to DRM free remains to be seen, but this is defiantly a step forward.  Well Done Apple!