updated 09:01 pm EDT, Tue June 11, 2013
Discoveries leaking as betas are seeded to developers, testers
A handful of new information nuggets are coming to light about both the OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 betas given to developers and testers beginning yesterday after the WWDC keynote. Two examples of significant changes being found in the betas includes a new networking default in OS X, accompanied by a change in iOS 7 that will someday make Wi-Fi connections in public hotspots completely automatic. More minor tweaks include the addition of LinkedIn system-wide integration, and a new "active" icon for the clock app in iOS 7.
Of note to networking professionals will be that OS X Mavericks has begun migrating away from its own Apple Filesharing Protocol (AFP) to Microsoft's SMB2 as the default choice, though AFP is still supported as a fallback. Apple has used an open-source version of SMB, known as Samba, since OS X 10.2, but began its own transition to the SMB standard as used by Microsoft (based on technology originally developed by IBM) beginning with 10.7 with SMBX.
The move to SMB2 proper offers the advantages of being "superfast, increases security, and improves Windows compatibility" according to a technology overview "white paper" of OS X Mavericks. Apple is also including support for NFS (versions 3 and 4) in Mavericks, which should improve support for Linux and Oracle's Solaris file shares. Interestingly, the company is keeping its NTFS support as "read-only" as it has been for years. The restriction on writing to NTFS can be overcome with the help of third-party utilities.
Meanwhile, iOS 7 will include support for Hotspot 2.0, a relatively new technology that allows carriers and other companies to set up public hotspots that will automatically connect to mobile devices based on identifiers such as SIM card ID without any need for user interaction. Carriers, ISPs and others have already set up wide networks of public hotspots in public places that are available free for their own subscribers.
The Hotspot 2.0 technology would recognize such users and automatically connect them when they arrive at hotspots, thus avoiding the need to use expensive 3G or LTE data in the those places, reducing the data burden on carriers. The technology is not yet widespread, but should be more popular by the time the next iPhone model comes along.
Other discoveries in OS X Mavericks include: text shortcuts now available in OS X, "Do Not Disturb" functionality has been added to the Notifications preferences, and users can now send iMessages to recipients without having to open the Messages app through Notifications. Dictation now offers an offline mode and live feedback, allowing users to correct text while dictating. Curiously, neither iTunes Radio nor iBooks is currently included in the Mavericks beta (these could later be made available as downloads, similar to iBooks on iOS).
Maverick's efficient improvements may be heralding a dramatic uptick in battery life in all Macs that can run the OS, with one 9to5 writer claiming that battery life doubled on his 2008 unibody MacBook (though this is just an anecdotal test and may not be indicative of consistent results). It has been noted that the new MacBook Air's battery is identical to the one in the previous model, and yet offers dramatically better battery life due to power efficiencies in the Intel Haswell processor, so further efficiencies may be gained for it and other models when running OS X Mavericks.
Users can now easily manage iCloud documents just as they do normal Finder files. Any kind of file can be dragged into the iCloud folder, and searches on tags will show iCloud-based results alongside Finder files and folders.
For some users, a big-deal item with iOS 7 is that the clock/alarm icon on the home screen is now animated to show the current time. Another much-requested feature is the ability to move Newsstand into a folder, a frequent wish among those who don't use the magazine-management app as well as those who do. Spotlight searching under iOS 7 can be initiated by swiping down from the middle of the screen, as opposed to its former "far left" position. Maps on iOS 7 has a night mode (similar to the way the concept is handled in iBooks) and now has walking directions (but apparently still no public transit directions).
Interestingly, Voice Memos appears to have been left out of the iOS 7 beta, along with Facebook and Twitter "post to" buttons in Notifications -- though all three are likely to return or be re-implemented in some fashion before final release. The new multi-tasking management works in horizontal mode, and apps can be "closed" by swiping them upward in that mode as shown briefly in the iOS 7 video. Also of note is that if a user's background image is a panorama, the "parallax" feature will pan the photo with the phone, and another new feature that shows cellular data use on a per-app basis, letting users know what apps are using the most 3G/LTE data.