Apple and Microsoft unveiled new products Monday at separate high-tech conference events.
Apple’s biggest news, announced during the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, was the unveiling of its next OS X operating system, which is called “Mavericks.” The name breaks a decade-long tradition of naming operating systems after big cats. Instead, Mavericks is named after an undersea rock formation near Half Moon Bay, California, that produces big waves.
“We do not want to be the first software release in history to be delayed by a lack of cats,” joked Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
Federighi said Mavericks will increase battery life and reduce boot time, as well as incorporate a tab system similar to those found in web browsers for multiple displays within Mavericks. The operating system will incorporate maps as well as iBooks, the company said.
iPhones and iPads also will be getting new software, as the company plans to roll out iOS 7, the next generation of its mobile operating system.
The most striking aspect of iOS 7 is the flat design of the screen icons and overall look. New features, according to Apple, include better battery life, faster multitasking, a better version of Apple’s web browser, Safari, and perhaps biggest of all, applications will automatically update during times when you’re not heavily using the mobile device.
Apple CEO Tim Cook called the new mobile operating system the “biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.”
On the hardware side, the company unveiled the new Mac Pro, which has been completely revamped from a silver box to a black cylinder one eighth the size of the old version.
The computer will be available later this year.
Microsoft’s splash came during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry's annual trade show, when the company announced the next-generation Xbox One.
"The platform features and capabilities of Xbox One allow developers to push the boundaries of creativity and push the genre in new directions," Phil Harrison, Microsoft's vice president, told the crowd at University of Southern California's Galen Center.
The gaming console will depend heavily on cloud computing, meaning it will need to have a constant Internet connection. Microsoft is calling the Xbox One, to be released in November, an “all-in-one" entertainment solution.