WWDC for photographers: Apple shows off photo-friendly iOS 7, new MacBook Air, and overhauled Mac Pro


posted Monday, June 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM EDT

Built-in photo filters in iOS 7

Today at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC), the company unveiled a huge amount of overhauled hardware and software. While new versions of Mac OS X, iOS 7, MacBook Air, and the Mac Pro were big news for Apple fans, beyond the massive cosmetic changes, which of these new features should photographers take note of?

The next version of Mac OS X will be OS 10.9 Mavericks (as Apple is now shifting away from big cats). While not a huge amount of new information was presented on the updated OS, there were three key new features demoed: tabbed windows in Finder, file tags, and improved multiple monitor support. Those latter two will doubtless be much loved by photographers.

Being able to tag files is invaluable for sorting through large masses of images, and has been a key feature of photo organizing apps for years. With Mavericks, you'll be able to do it directly in finder so you'll need one less application to track down all your nature photography, for example.

Tagging in Mac OS Mavericks

The improved multiple monitor support will also doubtless be a boon for photographers who use multiple screens at their work setup. Now the dock and menu bar will extend across both displays, and you can run separate apps fullscreen on each monitor. You can also now use an AirPlay connected monitor as a second display. Mac OS X Mavericks will be available this Fall.


On the hardware front, both major new announcements will doubtless appeal to the photography crowd. Available today is the new MacBook Air, once again in 11-inch and 13-inch versions. These feature new Halswell processors from Intel. While there will doubtless be some performance boosts from previous iterations of the MacBook Air, the big changes are improved graphics displays, and even more importantly, boosted battery life.

According to Apple, the 11-inch Air will have a 9-hour battery life, and the 13-inch version will last you a full 12 hours of use. Apple is generally pretty accurate when it comes to how long your gear can last on a single charge, and the prospect of a full 12 hours of use will make the MacBook Air appealing for taking out with you on a shoot. (Alas, still no Retina Display, though.)

The new Mac Pro

Apple also teased a complete and total overhaul of the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro's design has remained, essentially, unchanged for years, but the new edition will look radically different. While Apple is keeping mum on most of the details, we know that it will be just 1/8th the size of the original, and is cylindrical in shape. It'll pack a 12-core Intel Xeon E5 CPU, Thunderbolt 2.0 and support for 4K displays.

It will also have 1,866MHz DDR3 RAM, four USB 3.0 and six Thunderbolt 2.0 ports, dual AMD FirePro GPUs, and stands just 10-inches tall. The new Mac Pro will also be designed and assembled in the USA and will be available later this year. Unfortunately, we have no idea what it will cost, and it does sound like it might be less expandable than previous versions.

The new iOS 7

By far the biggest news is iOS 7, which features a total graphical overhaul from early editions. Gone are the faux-leather and felts of previous app, and swapped for translucent panes, and bright, flat colors. Every single Apple app has been redesigned for iOS 7, but of special note here are the Camera and Photos apps.

For all you Instagram loving mobile-photographers in the house, you can now shoot square formatted images directly from the built-in camera app, and apply a number of baked in filters. The Photos app has overhauled sorting tools, and will automatically group your images by date and location into "moments." You can zoom in and out of granularity for this tool, even being able to look at an entire year of photographs at once. There are also more and better sharing choices, including sharing to Twitter, Facebook, and iCloud.

View an entire year's worth of photos

iOS 7 will be available this Fall for iPhone 4 or newer, iPad 2 or newer, iPad Mini, and iPod Touch (5th generation).

There's an awful lot more than we've covered in this article that was announced, but for photographers, both amateur and pro, this stuff is probably the most relevant.

(WWDC images via The Verge, 9to5Mac)