Apple Announces Nothing (New)

on June 14, 2014

“Apple announces NOTHING at developer conference”.

No, seriously, I read it on the internets, so it must be true. You can read it for yourself, here:


Apple Announces Nothing at Developer Conference ~ By Paul “Comic Book Guy” Ausick

Admittedly, that is just one man’s opinion, and an extremely harsh assessment at that. The consensus seems to be a little more moderate. What most Apple critics seem to have concluded is not that Apple announced NOTHING at their developer conference but that Apple announced NOTHING NEW.

No, seriously. That’s what they’re saying. You can read it here.

Great artists steal: The iOS 8 features inspired by Android ~ by Ron Amadeo

“(M)any of Apple’s announced upgrades were things the Android OS has boasted for years.”

WLETyping suggestions
Third party keyboards
Inter-app communication
Hotwords, music recognition, and streaming voice recognition
Notification Actions
Videos in the App Store
Beta testing
Photo backup and storage

Fetish For First

NTSHWhat is it with our fetish for first? Where did we ever get the notion being first was all that mattered and — perversely — that nothing that comes after “first” matters at all?

Tech is not a race. It’s not some Olympic event, where you run 100 meters, cross the finish line, everybody jogs to a stop, and then you get awarded a medal. No. In real life, the tech race goes on and on forever.

If anything, tech is more like catching a train than running a race. You have to stand on the platform and wait for tech to arrive before you can get on board. Try to get on board too soon and you’ll fall flat on your face. Try to get on board too late and you’ll be left at the station. At least, that’s what it’s like for the consumers of technology.

If you’re a company that’s CREATING the technology — like Apple or Google or Microsoft or Amazon — you still have to wait for the technology train to pull into the station. But if you want to control that technology, you might have to actually anticipate where technology is headed and BUILD the platform first. And you’d darn well better hope you guessed right and built your platform at the right place and at the right time. Otherwise you’re going to be as lonely as a developer at a Microsoft Kin convention.

Maybe an even better metaphor is a wave. Tech is like many waves coming together to form one massive wave. To ride that wave, you have to time it perfectly. Too soon and it crashes on top of you. Too late and you are left behind. But catch the tech wave — catch it just right — and you can ride it all the way to wealth and fame.

Take, for example, the iPod:

People think of the iPod as just the iPod. But what people call the iPod was really three things: iPod, iTunes, and the iTunes Store. ~ Tony Fadell ((Excerpt From: Max Chafkin. “Design Crazy.”))

The iPod was introduced in 2001, but it didn’t take off until the hardware (iPod), the software (iTunes Store) and services (iTunes internet services) all came together to create a groundswell that flooded the market and washed the competition away.

First To Fail

QR Codes. NFC. JOYN. MMS. Infrared. Haptics. Projectors. So many dead ends in mobile. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

The tech graveyard is full of failed “firsts,” right?

— Apple’s Newton;
— Microsoft’s Windows Tablets;
— Samsung’s Smartwatches.

Here are some more examples:

The First Wheel:


The First Convertible Automobile:


The First Electric Automobile:


The First Highway Hi-Fi (1956):


The First Pedal Skates:


The First Motorized Roller Skates:


The First Vending Machine With Pre-Lit Cigarettes:


The First Automated Hot Dog Machine:


The First Picturephone:


The First Notebook Computer:


Let’s face it, being first ain’t always a good thing. Sometimes, when you get too far ahead on the road you’re traveling, you find you’re no longer on solid footing.


How Are We Not Getting This?

How are we not getting this? I mean, it’s not like this is new or anything. It has always been true, since the dawn of man.

The Greeks invented the Phalanx, but the Macedonians perfected it. They didn’t call him Alexander The “Late”, they called him Alexander The Great — and with good reason. ~ John R. Kirk ((That’s right. I cited myself. So sue me.))

images-95And it’s not only geeks like Comic Book Guy who are getting this wrong. A lot of people — people who should know better — are getting this wrong too. Take, for example, a look at this March, 2014 interview with a Steve Ballmer:

Ballmer also took shots at Microsoft’s rivals, waving off Apple as a company that was “quote, cool, unquote” that has “had a good run lately,” and in tablets, (Apple) only commercialized the idea that others, including Microsoft, had originated. ((Emphasis added.))


I don’t stinking believe Steve Ballmer even thought those thoughts, more less said those words out loud, more less said them out loud to a reporter.

Apple ONLY commercialized the ideas? ONLY?

EXCUSE ME. Isn’t being a commercial success the frizzing POINT? Isn’t that Apple’s job? And Microsoft’s job too, for that matter? Tech pedants are so obsessed with “first” they’ve completely taken their eyes off the prize. They’ve forgotten the goal is not to be the first, but to be the FIRST TO GET IT RIGHT.

  1. You don’t want to be the first one to sail the high seas.
    You want to be the first one to sail the high seas and RETURN TO PORT SAFELY.
  2. You don’t want to be the first one to fly an airplane.
    You want to be the first one to fly an airplane and LAND IT SAFELY.
  3. To use a D-Day analogy, you don’t want to be the first one ON the beach.
    You want to be the first one OFF the beach…ALIVE.

There’s “First” And Then There’s “First”

There are many kind of firsts, my friend, and first in time is not always first in value to either the producer or the consumer of technology.

You say Android is the first to offer third party keyboards? iOS is the first to do it without allowing all of your keystrokes to be read by those self-same third-party developers.

You say Android is the first to offer inter-app communications? iOS is the first to do it without exposing your mobile device to a “toxic hellstew” of computer viruses.

You say Android is the first to allow Widgets? iOS is the first to make them a seamless experience.

You say Android is the first to allow photo backup and storage? iOS is the first to let you do it effortlessly.

You say Android is the first with a slew of other features? iOS is the first to do those same features without bringing your operating system to its knees.

It means much more to us to get it right then to get it first. ~ Tim Cook

SERVICES - word cloud - colored signpost - NEW TOP TREND

Customer, services, support, care, help, trust, advice, guidance — these are assigned ZERO value by Apple’s critics. Apple announces NOTHING, they say, and Apple announces NOTHING NEW, they say, despite the flood of new services and developer tools announced at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). Why the discrepancy?

You can’t teach a color blind man to appreciate a Monet and you can’t teach a person who discounts the importance of privacy, security etc, to appreciate what Apple does either.

Giverny Bridge on the Water Lily Pond

First To Market Or First Priority?

Apple employs a whole different definition of “first” than Apple’s critics do. It’s not about shipping first; it’s not about getting to market first; it’s about getting it right BEFORE it ships and BEFORE it gets into the hands of Apple’s valued customers.

It is key to understand that Apple puts the experience first. Everything else flows from that priority. ~ ßen ßajarin (@BenBajarin)

Security First


Privacy First

    — “Google can periodically turn on mic, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, & similar features on all your current & future devices” ~ Android Police

    — TouchID is being used by 85% of iPhone 5S owners

iOS 8 now requiring apps reconfirm authenticity of background location periodically. Steve Cheney (@stevecheney)

Reliability First

    — Steve had been absolutely against opening the App Store early on, because he didn’t want the phone to crash. You have to be able to call 911 on the phone anytime, so we couldn’t trust our operating system to a bunch of crazy stupid developers without putting them in a huge sandbox first. ~ Andy Grignon ((Excerpt From: Max Chafkin. “Design Crazy.”))

User Experience First


Ease Of Use And “Invisibility” First

In iOS 8, you’ll be able to AirPlay to Apple TV with zero configuration. Don’t even have to be on the same network! ~ Chris Marriott (@chrismarriott)

    — If your customer has to think about it, you’re not done designing the user interface.

Mail attachments up to 5GB in size are not a problem anymore. ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco)

    — There was a debate [on the Lisa] team about the mouse. Was it going to have a mouse, and how many buttons should it have? Steve and I wanted one button, because if there’s one button, you never have to think about it. One of the former Xerox guys argued for six buttons. He said, “Look, bartenders have six buttons on those drink dispensers, and they can handle it.” But that was a failure to understand what Steve was trying to do with user experience. ~ Trip Hawkins ((Excerpt From: Max Chafkin. “Design Crazy.”))
    — There is a huge difference between a learning curve, a low learning curve and NO learning curve. When you get to NO learning curve, everybody uses the feature, no matter how complex it is technically or how geeky it used to seem.
    — According to Teller (head of Google X), the truly innovative projects should become perfectly transparent in our lives. He started off his keynote by talking about car brakes and ABS systems. When you put your foot on the brake of the car, you’re not actually activating the brakes. It’s just an interface. You are actually making a request to a robot.

    “That is a wonderful technology moment. We don’t have to mess with it. We just say here’s what we want,” he said. “When technology reaches that level of invisibility in our lives, that’s our ultimate goal. It vanishes into our lives. It says: ‘you don’t have to do the work, It’ll do the work.’”

Design First

    — “Jobs unveiled the so-called Bondi Blue iMac—named for a beach in Sydney, Australia—at a special event in May 1998. “It looks like it’s from another planet,” Jobs said. “A planet with better designers.” ((Excerpt From: Max Chafkin. “Design Crazy.”))

Integration First

    — Google loves to characterize Android as open, and iOS and iPhone as closed. We find this a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches. […] In reality, we think the open versus closed argument is just a smokescreen to try and hide the real issue, which is, “what’s best for the customer?” Fragmented versus integrated. ~ Steve Jobs

(T)oday’s additions are pieces in a larger puzzle, not the whole puzzle by themselves. ~ @BenBajarin

Benefits (not features) First

    — The competitors, like Commodore and Kaypro, were all doing speeds and feeds, whereas Steve always wanted things like “What is the significance in the world? How might this change things?” ~ Steve Hayden ((Excerpt From: Max Chafkin. “Design Crazy.”))
    — I find speed is typically the least interesting feature of a new phone. I’ll run a benchmark on a new phone out of dumb obligation (and noting how many times the maker used the word “speed” during my briefing). Fine. Yes. I find the numbers that are supposed to be higher and the numbers that are supposed to be lower are higher and lower, respectively.

    But how, precisely, does the faster CPU make a phone better? Bravo for being the first to get the latest Snapdragon processor in a handset, but after people like me file our reviews and move on, who notices or even cares?

    Here’s why I love Apple: speed actually matters. To Apple, there’s no point in putting in a faster CPU unless it makes the phone better. And “it’ll do things faster” isn’t necessarily a good enough reason. ~ Andy Ihnatko

Performance First

Battery Life First

Apple is opening up iOS to extension in the same way it added multi-tasking: controlled and sandboxed, retaining security & battery life. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)



So, am I saying iOS is superior to Android? No, I am not. “Superior” is a subjective term. Each consumer gets to decide for themselves what product best suits their needs. That’s the beauty of the free market.

What I AM saying is it’s time to stop contending Android is copying iOS and iOS is copying Android because it’s a damn lie. The WAY both operating systems create their features and the WAY those features are implemented makes their respective experiences totally unalike.

An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original. ~ Jean Cocteau

images-98images-96I can order chicken nuggets from McDonalds or chicken cordon bleu from a five-star restaurant. Both meals are made of chicken but that’s where the similarities end. HOW something is prepared is often as important — and often more important — than WHAT that something is.

It’s the same in mobile technology today. Even if the ingredients were the same — and they’re not — the way Apple and Google “bake” their products is as different in style and substance as would be the same meal prepared by Chef Ramsey and Chef Boyardee.


Tomorrow, in my Insider’s article (subscription required), I’ll focus on how Apple is making use of different “ingredients” to make their phones, tablets, notebooks, and desktops and how those different “ingredients” both differentiate their products, and make them competitor-proof.

Join me then.