Apple’s WWDC: Instant Analyses

on June 13, 2013
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Introduction

Through the graciousness of Techpinions and Apple Inc., I was able to attend the Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), held this past Monday, June 10, 2013. I have a couple of in-depth articles that I’m working on, but since we, here at Techpinions, are far more about perspective and far less about the latest news coverage, I’m going to give those articles a little time to “breathe” so that I can develop them further. I’m very excited about these upcoming articles and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you in the very near future.

In the meantime, since the WWDC was so broad and so far-reaching, I thought that I would go through the conference video, step-by-step and provide some “snap” analyses of some of the less well known – or perhaps less well appreciated – aspects of the keynote speech. If you have additional insights, please let us know in the comments, below.

Overall Impression: Apple events are incredibly well-organized. The presentation was two hours long and it was packed full. The pace of the presentation was fast and furious as Apple tried to deliver as much information in those two hours as they possibly could.

Apple’s Philosophy

“Only Apple could do this…” – Tim Cook

00:10: If you want to know how Apple sees itself or, at the very least, how Apple wants the world to see them, watch the video that opens the conference. There’s a lot of depth to this short video. Expect to read much more about it, here, in a future Techpinions’ article.

Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers

03:20: 6 million registered developers. 1.5 million new developers in the past year alone. Sold out the developer’s conference in 71 seconds.

07:40: 50 billion Apps.

That’s a lot of zeroes (50,000,000,000).

375,000 apps designed specifically for the iPad. Competitors? In the hundreds. One of Apple’s key differentiators.

575,000 million accounts, most with credit cards attached. Don’t underestimate the value of this. It’s HUGE. Think iTunes. Think iTunes Radio. Think payments. Think BIG.

“More accounts with credit cards than any store on the internet that we’re aware of” ~ Tim Cook

08:48: Apple paid developers 10 billion dollars.

5 billion of that paid just in the last year … three times more than all other platforms combined.” ~ Tim Cook

If there is one thing that the analysts are overlooking, it is this. If you want to truly measure which operating system is doing better, don’t look at the number of sales, look at the number of developers and the number of dollars being paid to those developers. By that measure, Apple is running away from the pack.

OS X: Mavericks

With Apple, it’s not about gathering the latest features together, it’s about having features that work the greatest together. Apple doesn’t strive to be the first, they strive to be the best.

iCloud Keychain

36:15: Apple will suggest, retain and maintain your passwords and credit card numbers. I’ll have to see how this works in practice before I make a final judgment, but this was the first of many times when I thought, “Aha!”:

– My mom could do this, moment #1

Apple’s Technology Philosophy

An aside about Apple’s technology adoption and legacy philosophy. Apple is quick to discard the old, slow to adopt the new. It’s a weird mix that confuses many observers. Google aggressively moves forward. Microsoft aggressively retains backwards compatibility. Apple moves forward conservatively and discards the old aggressively.

Weird, right? Get used to it. It ain’t going to change anytime soon.

MacBook Air

In the age of the iPad, what is the future of the notebook?

48:00: (Hint from Apple: “It’s the MacBook Air”.)

The new MacBook Air is almost identical to the old MacBook Air except that it contains Intel’s newest Haswell processor. The key difference is battery life:

— 9 hours for the 11 inch MacBook Air
— 12 hours for the 13 inch MacBook Air

TWELVE HOURS! Yikes.

Of course, no retina display. As Renee Ritchie of iMore is fond of saying, smaller, better battery life or retina display…pick two.

There was no mention of the MacBook Pro at the event, but rumor has it that it too will appear with a Haswell chip AND a retina display in the next 3 to 4 months.

By the way, is Apple seriously going after the PC market too? Stay tuned. More on that from Techpinions, yet to come.

Mac Pro

“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass.” – Phil Schiller

52:15: Some say that Phil Schiller’s comment, above, was defensive. Hmm. I would say that words like “defiant”, “decisive” or “determined” would be much more aptly employed to describe the true tenor of his remark.

The Mac Pro has incredible design, power and speed, all housed in a teeny-tiny casing. The numbers being thrown around to describe the device were pure tech porn to the nerds attending the convention ((Nerds like me)).

However, while the Mac Pro will undoubtably be great…will it be great for anybody? Sure it will be perfect for someone like Pixar. But how many Pixar’s are out there? Will it truly be practical for many others? Not so sure. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Designed in California, Assembled in USA

01:39: This is Apple’s new tagline. Apple is now making the Mac Pro in the United States and they’re naming their OS X software after locations in California (starting with “Mavericks”). This is about as politically correct as it gets.

Expect to see this new tagline…like…ya’ know, – A LOT.

The Mac Is Back

60:00: One. Full. Hour.

Spent on the Mac.

If you thought that the Mac was dead, you were dead wrong. And it you thought the Mac was going to become the iPad, then get used to disappointment.

iWork In The iCloud

Create on your Mac, edit on your PC, present on your iPhone.

62:00: Sort of Apple’s take on Google Docs. I’ll have to wait until I get my hands on it but, without a doubt, a fascinating new direction for Apple.

Is iOS Both The Best AND The Most Popular OS?

69:30: Tim Cook seems to think so.

You can bet your life that I’ll be “liberating” large parts of this portion of the keynote for use in constructing an Insider’s article on this topic in the very near future.

If you can’t wait and want to have it served to you straight from the Cook’s kitchen, go have a look at the video starting at the 69:30, mark.

Apple’s Design Philosophy

“True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It’s about bringing order to complexity.” ~ Jony Ive

75:10: If you want to understand what Apple’s design philosophy is, go watch this video…

…then watch it again.

And again.

Tim Cook And Company Relish The Challenge

79:45: If you want to see a happy Tim Cook – a genuinely happy Tim Cook – just watch the video, starting at the 79:45 mark.

Apple may be under pressure from Wall Street but, if they are, Tim Cook and company seem to relish the challenge. I’ve never seen Steve Job’s captains look more upbeat, more excited, more confident or more determined than they did in this presentation. A lot of humor. A lot of enthusiasm. A lot of energy. A lot of optimism. Lot’s and lot’s of of optimism.

iOS 7’s Icons

81:15: Saying that iOS 7 is doomed to fail just because of the look of the icons introduced at the World Wide Developer Conference, is like saying that a bride is doomed to ugliness just because of how she looks, sans makeup, when she’s having her wedding dress fitted.

Let’s all take a deep breath, step back and give this thing a chance to unfold, shall we?

I’m not saying that there has been a rush to judgment…

…I’m saying that there has been a “gush” of judgment – most of which will, hopefully, be flushed away by the tides of time.

My take: They say there is nothing new in iOS 7. But there’s also nothing new in a cake or souffle. It’s not new ingredients that count, it’s how the ingredients are put together that makes a meal a masterpiece. ((Tip o’ the hat to Jean-Louise Gasse, for the analogy.)) Let’s give this cake a little time to bake and see if it rises, okay?

Gestures For Moving In And Out…

85:10: Universal gesture from left edge of display for moving in and out of apps…

– My mom could do this, moment #2

Control Center

87:20: A universal gesture, available from anywhere, even on your lock screen.

– My mom could do this, moment #3

Multi-Tasking

88:00: Simple. Powerful. Simply powerful.

And as Ben Bajarin reminded me, this may be an even MORE powerful feature on the iPad.

– My mom could do this, moment #4

Siri

101:45: New interface; new voices; new commands; answers more questions; hooks to wikipedia, twitter and Bing….

Hmm. Definitely a wait and see kind of deal.

iOS In The Car

103:25 Very quiet introduction. May be a much bigger thing than people realize. Need to wrap my brain around it. Go see Horace Dediu’s initial thoughts on it, here.

Automatic System And App Updates

105:35: – My mom will love this, moment #5

Music Match And iTunes Radio Integration

106:00: Hmm. Not hearing much buzz surrounding this. Yet I think it could be huge.

Music Match iCloud integration makes it easy to recover your music from the cloud. iTunes Radio makes it easy to discover your music from the cloud. Music Match costs $24.99 per year. iTunes Radio is free with ads…or free without ads if you are a Music Match subscriber.

Hmm. Music discoverability…built right into your existing music app…integrated with iTunes…easy, one-button purchases…that play on your iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV. That’s not a big deal?

Now the discoverability portion of the product is a complete unknown. That will make or break this service. Will iTunes Radio be another Ping…or will it be the next big thing?

– My mom could do this, moment #6

Activation Lock

112:05: If an unauthorized person tries to turn off “Find My iPhone” or wipe my device, they won’t be able to reactivate it. A powerful theft deterrent.

– My mom could understand the importance of this, moment #7

1,500 New APIs

112:55: ‘Nuff said. ((One possible caveat: An API to integrate with 3rd party game controllers? Hmm. Start packing your bags, game console makers.))

“Biggest Change To iOS Since The Introduction Of The iPhone”

115:05: By my count, Tim Cook and company said words to this effect on three – perhaps four – occasions.

iOS is not just a coat of paint. It is designed to be a “comprehensive end-to-end redesign of the user experience.”

Apple’s goal with iOS can be summed up this way:

It’s like getting an entirely new phone, but one that you already know how to use.

That is one truly ambitious goal. Only time – and the market – (and definitely NOT the critics) – will tell if Apple was able to pull it off.

Apple’s Signature

116:45 Final video and Apple’s future Ad campaign. A branding campaign, not a product campaign. And what does Apple want their brand to stand for?

— This is what matters.
— The experience of a product.
— How it makes someone feel – delight, surprise, love, connection.
— Does it deserve to exist?

This is our signature…and it means everything.

(M)ore than just words…values we live by… ~ Tim Cook

If you don’t get Apple after watching this video…you just don’t get it.