AMITIAE - Tuesday 18 June 2013

Cassandra - Something Wickedly Clever This Way Comes: Apple, Mavericks and Device Integration

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


A few days after the end of this year's WWDC, I had an email from Apple, like hundreds, or perhaps thousands of users, with an invitation to install the new OS X, Mavericks. I had previously texted the pre-release Lion, but decided to miss Mountain Lion. This is part of the wide-ranging testing that Apple carries out both internally and externally, so that by the time 10.9 is released, perhaps in September, bugs and problems with compatibility will have been tracked down and addressed.

It will not catch all problems as some developers, particularly some large companies, do not take part in pre-release testing. On day 1, when their software causes a problem with the new OS X, it may not be Apple's fault.


While OS X may not be as sexy as iOS (although that wave image is pretty cool), the demonstration given by Craig Federighi, as well as those by Phil Schiller and Roger Rosner (iWork for iCloud), show clear indications of where Apple is headed: and quite soon.

Device integration has been a strong feature for a while. This is a key area. Critical to part of the way this works is the early adoption of the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. It is not the first time that Apple has released products before final confirmation of the standard by IEEE.

At the time, it seemed odd that Schiller would break into the middle of a presentation on the new MacBook Air to introduce the new Airport Extreme Router (and Time Capsule). This comes ready to go with 802.11ac; and so does the MacBook Air. And when the new Mac Pro was announced, that too had 802.11ac Wi-Fi capabilities. It is hardly a stretch of the imagination to predict that the next iOS devices (and other Macs) will similarly have such enhanced Wi-Fi capabilities.

Airport When reporting on the announcement that Schiller made about the new Airport Extreme Routers, I accessed a Cisco PDF that outlines some of the advantages of the new standard. Of particular note were the features of 802.11ac that allow "Seemingly instantaneous data transfer experience"; and "A pipe fat enough that delivering high quality of experience (QoE) is straightforward".

We have been used to the synchronisation of devices via iCloud for a while. When I update the information in certain of my applications on the Mac, like Contacts or Calendar, the equivalent apps are updated on the iPhone and iPad. Likewise, updating on one of the iOS devices, changes the data on the other and on the Mac.

Mavericks will make a change to the way some apps do this. Examples Federighi showed were setting up directions and using Info Cards on the new Maps app on the Mac and then sending that data right to the iPhone.

Direct connections between the devices are possible already: for example iTunes syncing of the iPhone or iPad. With such a "fat pipe" that 802.11ac provides and the improved "beamforming" that allows a transmission to focus on a specific device the faster integration of data between the devices is a given. Most incoming Internet signals will never reach the high speeds that the new standard is capable of. The purpose is inter-device transfers of data; and Apple will be taking full advantage of this with Mavericks and the updated iOS 7.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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