Thoughts from Apple’s WWDC

As I listened to Tim Cook and Apple’s executives give us an update on OS X — now known as El Capitan — iOS 9, Apple watchOS 2.0 and explain the new Apple Music “Beats 1” service, I was struck by the fact Apple’s ownership of the hardware, software, services and commerce layers of their devices are so well designed, they deliver a level of integration and continuity better than any other ecosystem on the market today.

In fact, the continuity of apps and services on all three device platforms are so tightly integrated that Apple’s customers have to be happy with what they heard from WWDC and can look forward to using these new versions of the OS, apps, and services when most of them launch later in the year.

I was particularly interested in the role Siri now plays across all devices and how Apple has worked hard to make it 40% more accurate and 40% faster than it was last year. I also loved the new contextual features in Spotlight that let me type in a stock name and get its current value and other related news. Or how I could use Spotlight to ask the current score of my team’s game and it posts all related info to me instantly. In fact, the big theme of all of the software news from the WWDC Keynote was everything is faster and better connected.

Contextual via search across all systems and all of the new apps and services take full advantage of what your devices know about you. These new operating systems are designed to not only be reactive to your needs but also proactive too. For example, Siri and its underlying search engine can look deep into contacts, calendars and other items related to your day and give prompts, suggestions and even directions without even asking for them. Apple’s new operating systems have become smarter and, as a result, should make users of Apple products more productive, have more fun, and become more efficient in their communications, learning, and daily activities.

One new app called Transit is tied to the Maps app and will make using public transit easier than ever to navigate. Apple painstakingly mapped out the subways in selected cities like NYC and London with many more to come. It will make it easier to find the right tracks for a person’s next train or the right exit to get to their destination faster. It uses the intelligence of iOS 9 — it can even anticipate where you are going from your calendar and get that info to you in real time as needed.

The new features for the iPad should make iPad users very happy too. IOS 9 for iPad now includes multi-windows support, picture in picture and, my favorite — two finger gestures that can be used for more efficient cut and paste, a feature I use daily on my iPad.

As for Apple watchOS 2, out this fall, Apple used WWDC to give developers a new SDK that allows them to write apps directly to the Watch. This is a huge and important step since it means we will see thousands of innovative apps for the Apple Watch, a key to getting more and more people to buy this product. Apple also announced new Watch faces that tie into one’s photo album so a particular image can be part of the watch face. Or tie it to your entire photo album and every time you look at your watch a new picture pops up. They even announced support for video for the Apple Watch and it will be interesting to see what developers do with this feature. They also announced greater accuracy and functionality for Siri in the Apple Watch and applied the same contextual features they have in IOS 9 to the Watch too.

I see Apple Music as a game changer because of the way they manage, organize, and deliver a person’s music experience. The idea of putting everything related to my music in a single container called Apple Music and then using the intelligence of the OS to make one’s music experience highly personal is a big step for music lovers. The way they take a person’s existing music library and then ask about a person’s favorite artist and the type of music they like that can then be applied, using the intelligence of iOS 9, to tailor the streaming music and the radio service will make a person’s music experience richer. Add the role of the professional DJs that will also curate music 24/7 and Apple’s customers are bound to become fans of this new service.

I think the idea of including all music related items in a single app/service will drive a lot of people to Apple Music — priced at $9.99 per month or $14.99 for a family of 6 through Apple’s family sharing app. It will launch on June 30th and be available cross-platform on Android and Windows too.

WWDC is a software developer conference and, if anyone had hoped for any new hardware to be launched, they were disappointed. But Apple rarely announces hardware at WWDC. This year’s show was completely software focused — as it has often been. WWDC continues to be an important yearly event for Apple’s developers and Apple’s customers are the real beneficiary of this conference. By the fall, Apple users will have a new OS for all of their devices along with new apps and services that should make their Macs, iPads, iPhones and Apple Watches even more useful.

Published by

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.

138 thoughts on “Thoughts from Apple’s WWDC”

  1. I’m combing through the list for features that aren’t already available on Android…
    Then I’m combing the kommentariat and punditosphere for the same positive comments about the overwhelming percentage of features that have long been available on Android…
    There’s something weird going on.

    Love the “40% more accurate and 40% faster”. Were we ever told it was rather inaccurate and slow before ?

    “One new app called Transit is tied to the Maps app and will make using public transit easier than ever to navigate.” It’s not like every other Mapping platform has had that for ages… Let’s take Apple at their word about being better than everything else, too.

    Also, welcome, Apple, to my… 2012 10″ Galaxy Note side by side and PiP multiwindowing… Oh wait, my 2011 Galaxy Note(phone) also had it, I think. I guess it”s become the best feature eva this afternoon. Sit tight for more gushing comments ^^

    1. The borrowing across platforms is not new, nor is it bad. I think it’s a good thing. Users of all platforms get to benefit from the borrowing of ideas. What is flawed is thinking that just because a “feature” exists on one platform or the other before it does another that somehow that platform is superior, or that that one feature alone is such a big deal it will make users switch en masse. For most people they preferences are based on lots of little things and feature build ups. This is why the borrowing of ideas is healthy since the best features or most useful things get to be experienced by more people.

      1. Indeed. But as a non-Apple beholden observer, my takeaway from WWDC is
        1- Android catch-up stuff
        2- Google catch-up stuff (the exact features M. Bajarin senior praises, stock quotes and cross-devices search history, have been available from Google for a long time already)
        3- Music catch-up stuff. Frankly, gushing over music recommendations, in 2015…

        It’s just weird that that forefront feature (…catch-up… ^^) doesn’t even get a footnote. I feel like I’m being regurgitated the Apple party line with 0 contextualization / historic analysis.

        1. Similar analysis came from Google IO where features were catch up to iOS. The outlier is Microsoft 🙂 Where at least Apple did borrow ideas for side by side apps which I like.

          It’s a back and forth. All good things for the users of each ecosystem which is the point.

          1. Here are The Verge’s links to the “most important” announcements, respectively:


            What I think non-iOS inspired for Google (out of 12 in the list)
            – Chromeified Webview. cross-devices & -platform.
            – Doze (not 100% sure)
            – Now on Tap
            – Photo. slight improvement, but still, my iBrother tried to send us iPhotos last week, he had to re-do 3 times for it to work, and then I had to go through a “can’t share that album ? goto to web ?” then “unsupported browser, get IE or Safari ?” ringmarole, especially funny for the browser suggestions, from a mail opened on Windows… I think Apple are being painful and silly on purpose to punish non-iUsers. Is there even a Windows Safari still ?
            – Offline Maps
            – Cardboard
            – VR

            What I think was non-Google-inspired for Apple (out of 10):
            – Some HealthKit stuff
            – Apple pay is debatable, Google went there first but flopped so badly…
            – CarPlay native apps
            – I read somewhere else about watch-hosted apps, I don’t think Android Wear has that.

            That’s not “bit of give, bit of take”, that’s rather one-sided. Anandtech had the decency to remark “Many of the [Siri’s] features mirror those that are available in Google Now, and even the interface of cards with information is very similar” for example.

          2. Tech.pinion has
            – one article on I/O, mostly about business model issues with one aside about On Tap,
            – one article on WWDC, gushing about features that are mostly warmed over but were never mentioned when they appeared on Android, and are not put in context.

            It’s just not imbalanced, it’s plain asymmetrical. The features listed don’t even mesh with the introductory thesis that owning the whole stack is an advantage, and no effort is made to illustrate or justify the point. If the whole subject of features is moot why mention it at all, and why in an imbalanced manner ?

          3. I think you are right about asymmetry. However, at the same time, we need to acknowledge that Apple and Google are asymmetric companies with asymmetric business models. Although I’m sure that Samsung wants to compete more squarely with Apple, Google’s business model makes that more difficult for them.

            Apple is about improving their products for the premium customers who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for the device and $10 a month on streaming music. Google is about gaining maximum access to people who aren’t even willing to pay a penny for the OS, let alone services. Furthermore, Google is happy to provide its services and software to iOS users, while Apple is generally reluctant to do the opposite. These companies are as asymmetric as it gets.

            Hence the importance of new OS-level features is different for each company, their developer communities, their customers, and their analysts. I would argue that for Google, sexy new features aimed at converting iOS users are not a priority at all. They have great developers so Android does get good new features. However, this is not the priority. The priority for Google is reach and hence low-end smartphones, Android One, making sure that the OEMs are commoditised (and hurting Samsung to do this), making sure that fragmentation does not hinder the use of Google Services, and providing the best cloud services to iOS and Android alike.

            If you adopt this view, then it makes sense for new features in Android to be under-appreciated by analysts. In my opinion, the asymmetry of the companies justifies the asymmetry of analysis.

          4. I broadly agree, but
            1- Apple’s moves are not purely about features, also about strategy. Even though they don’t do PR on this, we know their focus is at least partly on catching up to Google’s cloud services, and increasing lock-in. It would be interesting to see an analysis from those angles, at least once in a while. For example, why is Music available on Android (well, soon), but not books, videos, their Office version…
            2- I don’t think Google’s handling of Android can nor should be presented as anti-OEM in any way. Compare it the other ecosystems: Apple has no OEM (can’t get more anti-OEM than that), MS doesn’t let OEMs (not that it has any right now, so strike “doesn’t”, it’s “wouldn’t” ^^) change a single byte to the OS. Google lets OEMs do whatever they want to the OS, has long as they don’t break compatibility. I don’t think they’re “making sure that the OEMs are commoditized”, I think they’re just moving the OS forward, which does sometimes mean incorporating features that only few OEMs had, but that’s collateral damage, not a goal. I think Google are especially nice about it: they got KNOX from Samsung, they go through OEMs for their Nexuses (Nexi ? contrast with MS and Surface/Nokia)
            3- I haven’t seen any demonstration that going for the high-end and going for the low-end involve anything different, it’s all about being better, about a breadth of easy features. Do you have concrete examples where Google goes for cheap stuff while Apple goes for expensive ? iOS 9 has various “resource economy” tweaks (bytecode, modular assets…) that are targeted at cost reduction…

          5. Regarding 1, Apple’s lock-in and Google’s lack of lock-in are simply consequences of the asymmetrical business models of these two companies. If your business model is profiting from differentiated hardware, your offerings will naturally align with creating a lock-in. Any other business strategies, like SUN’s open-sourcing of Solaris, simply don’t make sense. IBM never wanted to open up their PC BIOS either. On the other hand, if you are profiting from services like Google or Facebook, then reach is your goal and it is nonsense to limit your market size through lock-in. I don’t think Apple’s lock-in is a nefarious business strategy, but simply common sense given their business model. Not sure if there is anything to note other than the fact that these two companies are asymmetric.

            Regarding 2, let’s just say that Google is very serious about making its handsets as competitively priced as possible. This means that if a company is making a handsome margin selling Android phones, Google will want you to lower the price. That’s what they originally did with the Nexus phones, and that’s what they are doing with Android One. Not that they really need to however. It’s a race to the bottom even without Google’s intervention.

            Regarding 3, just to make sure, I’m not saying that iOS has premium features which Android doesn’t have. It may or it may not but I don’t think that’s important at all. What I’m saying is that iOS users, developers and analysts are in a position to better appreciate and fully utilise any features that iOS adds. On the other hand, Google might add hundreds of really slick features. However, it will take at least a couple of years until the new Android version is installed by the majority of Android users (by which time iOS may have copied it already), and many may not have the necessary hardware. Hence Android developers will also be more cautious about using the new features in their software. As a consequence, it is only natural for iOS users, developers and analysts to be more excited over new iOS features.

            I see everything as a natural outcome of the different business models that these two asymmetrical companies have.

          6. I think Google are not that much into lock-in. They went for AOSP as a way to preempt the innovator’s dilemma (if they don’t move Android forward, someone else will); they’re cross-platform (minus Windows Mobile, which does say something ^^); and with their business model they probably don’t care that much which ecosystem users are on, as long as they’re on the Net. Sure , it must make some difference, but I’d think a negligible one in the grand scheme of things. On the other hand, Apple are not making a dime on non-Apple devices/ecosystems.

            Google certainly are serious about getting the low-end and the next billions, because they’re the low-hanging fruit: Apple isn’t interested and MS won’t be able to build a profitable business on those… they’re Google’s to lose. Whatever happens at the low end has 0 impact at the high end though. Android’s flagships have no issue sporting bleeding edge hardware and offering features iOS is still catching up to. I’d argue even the branding grand écart it implies shouldn’t be an issue for Google, that’s what OEM brands and lines are for. I don’t understand why Google would specifically want to sabotage successful OEMs and prop up failing ones ? Their choice of partners for Nexus models seem to be dictated by market growth, not dire straits ?

            The idea seems to be “Google are going for low-end, Apple for high-end”, I’m just asking for examples of Google specifically targeting one over the other. I think they aren’t, I think it’s OEMs making a hash of things at the high end (Android Silver probably wasn’t shot down internally, it was either the market not caring, or OEMs not wanting ?), and the market at the high-end becoming luxury/branding, not a premium-features, driven, ie mostly out of Google’s purview.

          7. “I think Google are not that much into lock-in.”

            Google’s lock-in takes a different form. For instance once you integrate Google Drive and Calendar into your work flow, just try switching over to MS One Drive and tell me how that goes. Migrating Google Docs to MS Word is nigh on impossible. I can set up a Google Calendar and iCal to interoperate easily enough. If I can do that with Outlook, I’ve yet to find a convenient means.

            Again, I still hold that “lock-in” as you mean it is really hardly noticeable by the average user and financially inconsequential. But this kind of lock-in is closer to the logistics lock-in you reference.


          8. 1- Well, at least there’s no lock-in at the OEM and OS level. There’s no “keep buying Android or lose everything” like there is on the Apple side. Apple does have that lock-in. All of Google’s services are available for iOS, MacOS, Windows desktop. Apple’s aren’t.

            2- There’s a “keep using Google servers or make a lot of work for yourself converting stuff over” lock-in, but conversely, there’s also the “buy Android but don’t use the Google servers” option. Even GMS-Android is fully usable with Hotmail/Exchange (for example) instead of Google’s servers for mail, calendar, contacts… and with other clients than Google’s or Android’s. You can use Android and not use a single Google server or client. You can’t with iOS/Apple servers.

            3- Once you’re on Google’s servers, the Google-created “Google Data Liberation Front” (not a joke) has a Google Takeout tool, specifically designed to let you export your data into standard formats. . Covers emails, contacts, calendar, gdrive, hangouts… I’m not aware of Apple offering a similar service.

            4- Indeed, while on Google’s servers and staying on them, there are some interoperability issues. I’d argue they’re fairly mild, first because you can use Google servers from any ecosystem, second because Google is not blatantly an ass about locking things down: gmail speaks IMAP, gcal speaks ical/vcal, contacts speaks .vcf… and live links are mostly possible; the Google client apps mostly speak to others’ servers too.

          9. “1- Well, at least there’s no lock-in at the OEM and OS level. There’s no ‘keep buying Android or lose everything'”

            That’s an empty argument. If you aren’t using Google services you don’t lose anything. But, except for China, where are the services for Android that aren’t Google?

            And I can switch from iOS or Mac OS X and not lose a thing. You’re just trying to make things look worse to fit your narrative than they are. I would actually lose less switching to Android or Windows, or even Linux, than switching from OS X Yosemite to older OS X Leopard (which I tried to do because I still need Rosetta. So I have to keep an old laptop around for that). Apple actually plays better with others than it does with itself.


          10. MS have a full set of services: search, map (also Nokia), drive (also Dropbox), mail (any w/ POP, IMAP or Exchange, ie all of them), contacts (any Exchange), calendar (ditto + ical I think). Amazon have an appstore they’ll be delighted to sign you up for. I’m sure there are plenty of others.

            Above all, even if you’re using Google services you don’t lose anything when siwtching out of Android because they’re available on other platforms. That’s not the case of Apple. Apple has lock-in at the OS, ecosystem, OEM and cloud level. Google only has lock-in at the cloud level, and, again, have tools specifically designed to take out your stuff even at that level, while Apple hasn’t any.

          11. Did MS finally release Drive for Android? That’s of benefit. Last place I worked I had a heck of a time trying to get the Android users to integrate with the Exchange platform we were using. Apple was flawless and effortless.

            Again, Google services are only as available o other platforms as they make them such. If I don’t use Chrome browser (which I don’t) I get no offline editing of Google Drive. So far I can fully use iWorks (or whatever they are calling that these days) in any browser I’ve tried so far. I can export contacts in vCard format.

            My point isn’t really about which one is better, only that each company has their own versions of lock-in _for the services/products they provide_. Otherwise everyone would be doing what they are doing the way they are doing it.


          12. just double-checked, OneDrive is there: There has always been dropbox and a gaggle of hopefuls on top of that, there’s even a self-hosted one (OwnCloud ?)

            I don’t think the “Chrome for offline” matters: the files are already on Google’s servers, might as well use Chrome even if it’s only to work on those files, not as a general-purpose browser. That’s what I do (I don’t like Chrome much)

            My point is that Apple has a lot more levels of lock-in, and that even at the single level where Google does lock in, it voluntarily does it a lot less so than Apple.

          13. Thinking more on it, what strikes me is how unbalanced the treatment of lock-in and confidentiality are.

            I think the lock-in issue is more important, we’re all aware of how MS lock-in set back some areas of computing for decades, hampered users, cost billions, and how MS evolved over time from the nice guy to a despicable, convicted monopoly. I think we’re building up to the same issue today with peer-pressured teens getting iPhones from their dear uncle (sigh !), then building up and out from there (iPads, siblings, parents…).

            On the other hand, the confidentiality issue is mainly independent from the Android ecosystem which is the main topic here, is mainly user-made (we choose free and datamined over for-pay and encrypted, which are widely available options even on Android, let alone other ecosystems), and not even that clear-cut (Apple is tracking users, selling point-of-sale trackers, having security lapses, …) (*)

            Yet only the lesser issue seems to be a permanent headline ?

            (*) Edit: and you can opt out of Google’s open bar at any time, it’s not locked-in.

          14. “Edit: and you can opt out of Google’s open bar at any time, it’s not locked-in”

            But not and continue to use their services. I get your quibble with the article and kind of agree. But Google is as “guilty” of lock-in as Apple. their’s just looks different. Google is “cross platform” like Amazon is cross platform with Kindle, only in as much as they choose to let you access their ecosystem with corporate approved means. I can’t edit Google Docs offline unless I use Chrome. I can’t read Kindle books unless I use the Kindle App.

            The book format ePub is cross platform, but (it used to be anyway) as soon as you open an ePub book in Kindle, it wrapped it in a Kindle wrapper making it unopenable by ePub readers. Google handles their services the same way.


          15. I don’t agree: Google provide a centralized tool to export all your data in a standard format In your ebook example, that isn’t provided. As opposed to your ebook example, you can move all your contacts, mails, appointments, files into Google, *** then back out ***

          16. Sort of, but you lose the things that make, for example, Gmail Gmail. Google’s implantation is not strict IMAP. I’ve had better success transferring Apple mail/contact/calendar type stuff to Google To Exchange servers than from Google to Apple or Exchange.


          17. Indeed, that’s why I shy away from labels, I’m still on folders + a lot of searching. That’s very least-common-denominator.

            That’s not painless, but any import/export isn’t. You do get to keep the standard part of email messages (body, headers, attachments…), not the non-standardized features (labels, rules,…)

          18. I’m not seeing the point, they explain why that took some time, and now they have it so the point becomes moot ?
            Plus, people who cared could either choose an OEM that had that feature (I’ve been on Huawei for 2 turns now, they’ve had it), or root/flash their phones (a couple of my friends do, it’s not officially supported, but not fought against à la Cydia either… still a hack though)

          19. Well one difference is that 90% of iOS users will have the features announced today on their devices over the next year.

            And likely less than 10% of Android users will have Android M features in 12 months time.

            iOS features affect a huge install base of users almost immediately, whereas Android features are like a car maker demoing next years model – most current owners won’t get the features until they buy a new one.

            Or to put it another way, Androids new features announced by Google are one step above a tech demo, because they have almost zero control over whether their vast install base will get to use them – they can’t even guarantee they will get them if they buy a new phone sometime in the next 3 years.

          20. 1- How long has it been since 8.x ? Because by Apple’s own admission, it’s only 80% for that right now ?

            2- Buyers interested in latest versions can get a Nexus, a Moto, or a flagship.. that’s still a lot more choice than on the iOS side. What *is* relevant is that many don’t get those, proving updates are a secondary issue to most except in the i-nalysts microcosm ?

            3- Very few of the features annoucned are at the AOSP level, most are at the GMS or Store level, which get updated regardless of OS version: Maps, Photo, HBO,…

          21. 1. 83% actually, and it was 75% after only 6 months of release.

            2. Kind of agree, most don’t get android flagships devices, and features are secondary issue for android users. But then those that do care about updates/features are perhaps the increasing amount switching to iOS, knowing that there devices will be supported for up to 5 years (4S was released in 2011, and will be running latest iOS version until at least Fall 2016, perhaps longer).

            3. The products you mention that are part of GMS are also available on googles iOS products – so they aren’t android features – they are Google features. Those that are baked into the OS level are the ones we are talking about here aren’t we?

          22. 1. Not 90%. Thank you.

            2. There’s PR, and there’s reality. From : “App launch times slowed. Animations got choppy. Performance became inconsistent. It was the update that made them stop feeling “fast enough,” ” So you have to care for updates but not for performance and smoothness, it seems. Should it be “Knowing Apple will push updates even knowing it will make your device slow and choppy” ?
            If the iPhone 5 (Sep 2012) is what’s needed for iOS 8 to run OK, it’s pretty much the same as on the Android side, with Nexus 4 (Nov 2012) which is the oldest Nexus still updated.

            3. You original point was that Android users wouldn’t be seeing the upgrades. No it’s that everyone else will be seeing them too. SO Android users *will* be seeing the updates finally ?

          23. I’m curious though. You start off with a 2x mistake in favor of Apple, segue with a 2-3x mistake in defavor of Google… Do you see yourself as an impartial analysts, or are your spinning for Apple on purpose ?

          24. not sure what figures your talking about there.

            And are your seriously making an accusation about someone else having a bias to one platform?

          25. I’m talking about the 2 and only 2 figures in your original post.

            Yes I’m serious. Me myself, I’m not pretending to be an analyst, and I fully own up to being biased (*). I answered your deflection, will you answer the question ?

            (*) EDIT: and yet my figures are much closer to the truth than yours.

          26. “…my figures are much closer to the truth than yours.”

            Pot and kettle.

            The one biggy for me is your claim that Google has no OEM lock in amid public court documents //requiring// OEMs to ship //only// Google’s version of Android or forgo all Google Apps.

            That’s right. All Android OEMS are //contractually handcuffed// to Google’s Android as Google demands they not load AOSP on any of their devices. Penalty: Life without Google Android. That’s lock in!

            Given your impressive knowledge of all things Android and iOS and your arguments against Apple’s lockin, your apparent blessing or ignorance of Google’s OEM handcuffs is surprising.

          27. You seem to not understand that even though OEMs are obliged to include Google apps, they are not at all precluded from offering substitutes. OEMs can:
            – tweak the OS (not the gapps, the gapps must stay untouched), but some OEMs added per-app permissions management, pen support, multiwindows, user accounts…
            – complement/replace the gapps. Google doesn’t have Apple’s infamous “don’t compete with our stuff” clause. Not for the AppStore, not even for OEMs. OEMs can, and have, offered PlayStore, gmail, Maps, Drive… substitutes right on the default home screen.
            – those substitutes can obviously be made default by the user and fully replace/displace AOSP apps (aapps ?) and gapps. Whatever Google has OEMs put on GMS phones isn’t locking anyone in, anyone is free to switch out. You can use a GMS phone and not a single gapp, not even the PlayStore.

            Hard to fathom, right ?

          28. Oh, also, Android versions don’t match your numbers. 52% of handsets are on the 4.4 version that was current a year ago (introduced 18 months ago).

          29. 21 months ago to be picky, but point taken – I overestimated the lag. It’s still a much worse uptake than the speed of iOS user base adoption – at least twice as slow.

          30. Do you know that 10% of those who will get the M’s update, are probably as big as the entire iPhone users who will receive IOS 9.

          31. Google is tricky to write about. Most don’t get to use the mainstream features, and much of what Google does is very technical / cloud centric since that is their strategy. You have to admit IO was rather bland and while WWDC was not much better, there are many more features end users will use in a much quicker time frame. Thus you see Apple getting more attention since the audiences who we internalize it for can see tangible differences. While the cloud and now on tap stuff is interesting, most users won’t see that stuff for a long time if ever.

          32. I’m curious: is anyone on tech.pinions using Android as a daily driver ?

          33. You’re misinformed,
            most of the features that were announced at the I / O will be available through an update of Google Pays service to all users, even the Now on Tap feature, is already available in chrome for all android users.

          34. You seem to forget that Google only introduced “Google Now” after Apple had launched Siri, and Google had dismissed Siri as a “gimmick”.

          35. It’s a bit more complicated than that. Google had Voice Search (June 2011) and Voice Actions (Android 2.2, May 2010) before Apple released Siri (Oct. 2011).
            They did roll those two into gNow only 6 months after Siri’s re-release (July 2012), but really, the functionality, minus the name, was there already.
            As for the trash talk, it seems standard practice when you don’t have features, cf “designed for your hands – oh, wait” on the other side.

        2. Frankly these (petulant) who-did-it-first debates are basically unresolvable and irrelevant to the discussion of which platform works better for whose unique requirements and why. It is just a great distraction that makes it much harder to pick out the meaningful content in the thread.

          1. it’s called a red herring. It’s a common way to argue. It is basically a tactic to hide from depth of conversation.

    2. Its not an Android feature its a Samsung feature to differentiate their hardware from the other android OEM’s. I don’t understand why an individual OEM’s modifications for their hardware platforms are always assumed to be part of the Android OS. Android N will most certainly add the split screen and PiP as API’s for all the other Android OEM’s to use now that its in iOS. Google had no interest in those features when Samsung established them 3 or 4 years ago

        1. “…you can get them if you want them”….

          Oh yeah? Like SenseUI and TouchWiz?

          You’d better have the hardware chops to match…

          1. mmm… by buying from the OEM that offers what you want ? You’ll still get all the “common-trunk” part of Android from Google…

          2. How do we get SenseUI, TouchWiz, split screens, Knox, whatever? I guess we need to buy and have 3 or 4 Android phones in our pocket.


          3. Actually, the things to note are
            1- you can choose, one size does not fit all. I think I had “Is choice good or bad” on a philosophy test once. You’re aware even on iOS there are choices made, only Apple makes them for you ?
            2- you obviously can’t get SenseUI and TouchWiz on the same phone, since both are launchers and do the same thing and frankly, though you can undefine the default launcher and have Android ask “with which launcher ?” every time you do a Launcher action, it makes no sense.
            3- As for TouchWiz+Split Screen+Knox, yep, go with Samsung, flagships. You get Picture-inPicture thrown in, and can also choose to have a Pen if you go Note instead of S.

  2. “I was struck by the fact Apple’s ownership of the hardware, software, services and commerce layers of their devices are so well designed, they deliver a level of integration and continuity better than any other ecosystem on the market today.”

    I’ve been thinking for a while that this level of integration has become table stakes to serve the premium consumer segment well. This kind of user experience is exactly what most of that segment is looking for, and only Apple offers it.

      1. Others could have taken Apple’s path, perhaps. They chose not to because most of the tech industry believes Apple’s approach can’t work. Even today we’re seeing analysis that says Apple is still doomed. There is a profound lack of understanding when it comes to why Apple is actually succeeding.

        Samsung is now trying to integrate more, and you’ll see Google and others move in this direction, but Apple is just too far ahead. I’m not sure that any other company can challenge Apple for the premium segment. It took Apple a couple decades to build out what they have now.

        1. For me, they would be subject to the same criticism. Should I need to buy a TV that only plays channels A, B, C, and another that plays X, Y, Z? I would prefer a TV that plays all of them.

          1. That’s exactly what curation/integration leads to.

            I want to be able to get “best of breed” on each thing. Integration requires Apple to be “best of breed” at everything, which they are not. Even if they were, IMO it’s not a good thing to be so beholden to a single vendor.

          2. The other non-Apple, open path doesn’t get you best of breed either, because the integration of those things isn’t best of breed. (Integration does not require Apple be best of breed at everything; Apple only has to provide the OS glue that allows best of breed apps to fit in well with other apps.)

            In reality, the “open” Google path is also heavily dependent on a single vendor, for Google itself offers many of the best apps in its system. In other words, if Google was to drop out or do evil ;), and you turned to Cyanogen or an open Android replacement, you’d lose much of what you had.

          3. I think the whole point is that “best” doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone.
            The most basic example is that “best” at $600 doesn’t matter if you can only afford $100, the “best” for you is something else entirely. But even at similar price points, “best” is different for over-adrenalined gamers, photographers, clueless noobs, squinting seniors, peer-pressurable teens and not-so-teens, pink-loving niece.

            Apple is good at compromising with that. It’s also surely “best” for some. But arguing there’ a “best” phone or ecosystem is as nonsensical as arguing there’s a best car or pizza (damn ! those analogies keep on working). I’d argue the most important thing is that we need biodiversity, not a monoculture. Case in point if Apple had succeeded in locking out all other smartphone makers, especially Android, where would the 80% of Android users and the whole Mobile economy be at right now ? Certainly not using iPhones instead, most couldn’t afford half on one…

          4. Your analogy is poor. Standard file formats mean I can get any content I like on my iOS device. I wonder if you realize that you can put content on any iOS device without purchasing that content from Apple. The only limitation there is rights management, which Apple doesn’t control.

            “Integration requires Apple to be “best of breed” at everything”

            Nonsense. Look, you just don’t have a clue on this, you’re so caught up in your ideology you can’t see straight.

          5. Well if you want all the services/features – then isn’t Apple your best option? Google & Microsoft both put their best features on iOS as well, but only Apple has Apples best features.

          6. It’s assuming “best” is a universal value identical for everyone. It isn’t, it wasn’t, it ain’t ever gonna be.

          7. And we all know how the TV undustry is just teaming with innovation these days.


          8. “I want to be able to get “best of breed” on each thing.”

            Here’s another way of looking at it. Your BMW is a curated and integrated product. Many of the individual parts that make up the whole car are clearly not best of breed. You’ve said this yourself when you talked about things you didn’t like about your BMW. So why did you buy a BMW? Because the whole integrated product meets your needs very well. Every product has limitations, you can’t possibly buy a product that is best of breed in every aspect.

            It might be nice if we could pick various features from different cars, I’ll take X from Mercedes, Y from Honda, Z from BMW, and so on, and mash them together, but that isn’t allowed. You pick the integrated whole solution that best meets your requirements, your jobs-to-be-done, and that’s what you buy.

          9. Even if I were to accept the curation of my BMW to the extent you do, and extend that to what Apple does with their devices. Here’s some vital differences.

            -BMW doesn’t have a “street approval process”. This is the most critical to me.
            -The car industry is rightly highly regulated. This means that elected official, or their designees, set certain policies.

            -I am not required to by from BMW gas stations.

            -I do not void my warranty if I get after market tires.

            -Like all car manufactures when a part is proprietary unnecessarily (a screw thread, a gas cap, tire bolts) are being jerks and milking me, whether I do the work myself or not.

            -I point out the terrible ergonomics of their the entertainment system and their cabin layout. I don’t think that offends anyone.
            The most important thing is, they don’t exclude me more than any competing model in the class. Unlike Bently, which seals their hoods.
            Believe me, if BMW required me to buy “their gas”, and drive on streets “they approve”, my reaction would be just as adamant.

          10. Everything you just listed is indeed subject to regulations and limits. You don’t notice them because you never need to go beyond those limits. You cannot drive your BMW anywhere (take it offroading for the weekend and see if your warranty is still valid), you do have to use tires that are acceptable re: your warranty, and you are not allowed to use your own homebrewed fuel. And there are many, many more limitations re: your BMW.

            Rationalize it all you like, but the reality is that modern cars are curated, integrated, closed and locked down.

          11. I chose my words carefully. When I said street approval, I did not say “off road”. What is explicitly does is it sets up the equivalent to street approval.

          12. Exactly my point. You have to choose your words carefully in order to stay within the limitations re: the use of your BMW. And you’ve only dealt with a single limitation. There are many, many more. You are rationalizing.

          13. Yes, I’m arguing about streets (allowed) versus of-road (inappropriate use). I did not say off road, I said streets. There are “streets” iOS doesn’t allow, and the built in nature of having to deal with Apple post purchase.

          14. Ah, so you are free to drive anywhere with your BMW, within an allowed subset of total roadways. Please continue rationalizing. This is entertaining.

          15. Please name one street (not roadway, don’t move the net) I can’t drive my BMW on, due to BMW restriction (not Fort Knox)? I can name “streets” I can’t drive an iOS device.
            Talk about rationalizing.

          16. Pick any street and race on it, that voids your warranty. I’m sure there are many limitations that you run up against in iOS. That’s the point. My experience is not the same. Just as your BMW’s allowed use is too limiting for me, Apple’s allowed use is too limiting for you. Neither is wrong. Everything has limits and compromises. You choose what best serves your needs. For you it is a BMW and Android, or whatever else is open enough. For me it is Apple/iOS and a heavy duty truck. Your BMW wouldn’t last a week with my usage. But it is more than enough for your usage.

          17. You’re quite naive. Check the fine print in your warranty. Racing most certainly allows them to void it. There are actually many exclusions in a car warranty, usually under ‘misuse of the vehicle’ or a similar title. Racing is often mentioned specifically.

          18. So then why does BMW electronically limit the speed to 150 mph? So they can void the warranty? It’s for compliance.

            Anyway, do you think I’m on the side of warranty voiding vendors, if their terms are self serving?

          19. OTOH, if all other cars were Androids…

            – Cheap and plentiful.
            – Breakdown frequently or just break apart.
            – Optional //external// gas tanks
            – Repairs????
            – Most new ones would look and drive like a 5 year old premium model.
            – Chinese Androids would have completely different accessories.
            – Average MPG – 5 hours.
            – Colorful and loud body size ads blinking and changing at every light.
            – Google would always know where you are, how fast you’re driving, who your friends are, whether your pregnant or infertile, Republican or Democrat, and suggest behaviors and places to drive to.

            Just sayin’.

          20. But I don’t defend Google, I defend choice and ownership.
            Unfortunately, best exemplified by Google based devices.
            It’s not as if these things we both bring up are mutually exclusive, and choice doesn’t stop with purchase, there are subsequent choices.

          21. About choice and ownership, don’t we need to deal with the elephant in the room?

            As Android devices differentiate we never get the //best// Android device, the one that has the //best// features, just delivered now, by Android, HTC, Sony, Hawei, Xioami.

            If you’re buying Apple you always get to own the //best// iPhone, the one with all the best features in one device. Not happening in Androidville.

          22. “If you’re buying Apple you always get to own the //best// iPhone”

            Locked down, curated, and iDentical… 🙂
            That’s like winning a one contestant race.

            Though I do begrudge the iPhone slightly less, the iPad is truly a contemptible product to me. Doesn’t mean it has to be for you.

            In Android, I can “have that floppy” from someone if it’s important to me.

    1. software and hardware integration will most likely be irrelevant when all the intelligence move to the cloud,

      1. It isn’t only the integration of hardware and software, it’s the ecosystem as a whole, how everything works together end to end. The cloud will be part of it, but the cloud can never be all of it.

        1. on which foundation do you think will Apple build it ecosystem for everything to works together end to end when factoring thing like IoT?

          1. I think it will be both actually. That’s why I predict an Apple Network of Things gaining traction first.

          2. I wasn’t aware that Nest offered a complete line of computing devices that integrate with your home and car. I also think it’s a tad early to say Nest is a big deal in any kind of Internet of Things.

          3. Nope, I read a wide variety of blogs. Nest is doing some interesting work, certainly, but they don’t make computing devices. Nest doesn’t have the same integrated advantage that Apple has.

          4. Yes, but I’m making the argument that the vertically integrated solution is going to gain traction before the open modular solution. Just as the Apple Watch has gained traction much quicker than Android Wear, and Apple Pay gained traction much faster than Google Wallet. I think Android will get there, but Apple has a huge advantage in controlling the stack, they can roll out features to a large user base much more quickly.

      2. On the contrary, I think software and hardware integration becomes even more relevant when all the intelligence moves to the cloud.

        Like it or not. we are on a path towards the full digital integration of all the aspects of our day to day lives. This is a level of software complexity that has never been done before and the coding job becomes much much harder if people are developing software to run on a thousand different PC, tablet and smartphone specs rather than 10 or so. You cannot escape the mathematics of that. Coding is basically a problem-solving activity with each device spec a moving part and the more moving parts you have, the more complex and expensive is the solution and the more limited is the path towards it.

        1. what you are referring to is Hardware + cloud service integration, the software side will be just bcome a layer for standard communication

          1. I suggest you read my post again and understand that when I said “software”, I meant software and not your new definition of “software” where you turned it into a synonym for “OS”.

            “Cloud service” is just a particular implementation of software.

  3. Since the courts around the world have basically ruled that all of these smartphone and UI patents are worthless, it behooves everyone to just keep copying everyone else’s ideas. Why waste time on innovative ideas when there are still so many useful things to copy? Federighi kidded several times about innovation during the keynote, but he could’ve easily been mocking the courts and analysts.

    In any case, even though features are generally the same, there are sometimes differences in implementation (cloud vs. on-device processing). There could also be differences in the quality of the implementation, the APIs, the system integration, the speed/latency, the UI ease-of-use, the aesthetics, or many other things. Though these qualities are very hard to discern by casual observers, they love to do it, and get into pointless, endless A vs. B wars. At this point, we should all just want every ecosystem to adopt the best ideas as rapidly as possible.

    With OS X and iOS maturing, I’d assert Apple is moving on — its innovation focus is on watchOS and its SDK, as well as the HealthKit and HomeKit pieces that fit with it. (One could also claim that Google has moved on as well – placing a greater focus on its cloud services and less on Android.)

    1. Completely agree. In fact, I think we should be looking more into the implementation instead of the superficial stuff that looks good on demos.

      In particular, as you mention, cloud vs. on-device processing is very important. There is a lot of discussion in Silicon Valley over whether Apple needs to collect your personal data to provide a good prediction engine. Proactive Assistant is an ideal test case for this. If many people consider Proactive Assistant to be as useful as Google Now, then the argument that personal data collection is essential for anticipation engines breaks down completely, taking Google’s data collection practices with it. We won’t know the definitive answer until both of these services mature, but it will be exciting to observe how this almost ideological battle ends up.

      I personally am on Apple’s side. Ethical issues aside, I strongly think that there is a strict limitation to what can be predicted with the collection of casual data, regardless of how advanced machine learning has become. I think what is more important is for the end-user to explicitly entrust their detailed personal data to the device, and that won’t happen enough if customers are wary of how that data is going to be used.

      1. What’s weird is the IP system keeps granting patents like crazy on obvious stuff (slide to unlock…) w/o regard for priori art, only for the courts to use more common sense. The Economist was wondering a while back if it was Lawyers (in the legislative and executive branch) having lawyers (in the IP agencies) make work for lawyers (in the business world).

        I doubt on-device processing is feasible. Simply my email account is several GBs after all these years. Then there’s the “real world” data required to spot and handle concerts, flights, restaurants,… Both the amount of data and the processing required seem a lot to handle on a phone’s CPU, storage and battery, and, frankly, I’d rather they be used by MY stuff rather than that.

        Plus the whole “continuity” paradigm *is* useful: I want my phone to pick up were I left off on my PC, and that requires cloud.

        Europe has had laws for a while that forces any company to provide users access & review rights to all data they have on them. I’m not aware of anyone actually using that. I think it’s a more punctilious version of , especially

        1. I’m not particularly knowledgable of the slide to unlock patent, but it is very clear that you could easily work around that. If I’m not mistaken, the swipe up to unlock gesture that Android uses is not in violation of this patent. Basically all you have to do is to swipe up instead of to the right to work around it. Hence the fact that Samsung violated this patent is proof that their intent was to copy the appearance of the iPhone and not to create a good smartphone. For that, I think they deserve to be punished. There are definitely problems with the US IP system, but I don’t think granting the slide to unlock patent is one of them.

          Regarding whether on-device processing is feasible, we’ll get proof in a year or two as anybody will soon have access to both Google Now on Tap and Proactive Assistant and can make a personal assessment.

          I think Apple’s approach will work perfectly OK. However my opinion doesn’t really matter because we’ll get real proof soon. I’ll be happy to be proved either right or wrong.

          For Apple and Google though, the stakes are pretty high. Google has much more to lose if proven wrong because collecting personal data into the cloud is a fundamental part of their business model.

          1. Well, the slide to unlock patent is especially crazy:
            1- that specific gesture is the most natural one to do with your thumb on a touchscreen
            2- sliding locks have been there forever in the real world, they’re the most basic type of locks: with chains on house doors, everywhere that needs to be kept shut with minimal effort (though some of my horses did get good at opening them and raiding the pantry ^^)
            3- there was not only prior art, but a prior patent ( )

          2. Regarding 3, I read your link on the prior patent and as some of the commenters have noted, it the prior patent does not refer to unlocking at all. Therefore, there seems to be no reason to reject Apple’s patent on the basis of this prior patent. Of course, there are probably many other reasons why Apple’s patent might be invalid, but I don’t think it’s this one.

            Regarding 1, I think that assertion is subjective and anyway, I don’t think it has any relevance to whether a patent is granted or not. If I remember correctly, Apple’s patent required that an object was moved along a guide (or rail). Your item 1 does not address this at all.
            In fact, one has to note that Apple’s patent was a very narrow one. You had to very intentionally copy Apple and dismiss a lot of similar ideas (swipe up, swipe with no rails) to infringe it.

            Regarding 2, I never made the association between Apple’s unlocking motion and the slide locks on my front door. Maybe I’m not imaginative enough, but even with Steve Jobs’ fondness of skeuomorphic designs, that association was not obvious. I seriously doubt that it was an issue.

          3. I’m not trying to be spefically anti-Apple on that one, just to point out issues with patents in general. But let’s dig into it:

            3- There’s a whole bunch of other prior art:
            Sure, Apple’s combines both a visual clue and a slide, and is specifically for locking, but still ?
            The patent got shot down in other venues: “To be able to patent software, a program needs to solve a technical problem with a technical solution” had me Duh-ing ^^
            I’d argue for a coypright on the looks, but a patent on the functionnality ?

            1- swiping up is less natural, and swiping with no visual clue is just bad design (0 discoverability, which arguably is a big issue still in Mobile UIs), so left-to right swipe on a rail really seems the best and most obvious. I think Android mostly went around the patent with a round “swipe any which way” with a circular clue, which allowed the same gesture and was about as clear.

            2- well, slide to unlock is a very literal computerization of a sliding lock. Same as bouncing at the end of a scroll is similar to a drawer bouncing at the end of its course.. but that’s a whole other patent ^^

          4. Apple is making the right bet in the context of the premium consumer segment which Apple serves. This segment wants to pay for the value Apple delivers and part of that is how personal data is used.

            But I also think Google might be making the right bet as well, because the majority of Android sales are not in the premium consumer segment. Different segments have different jobs-to-be-done.

            I suppose the problem for Google is that in pursuing their current business model, they are essentially ceding the premium segment and trapping themselves in a low margin business.

          5. It is likely most future jobs-to-be-done, in the context of the premium segment, will continue to operate within a framework of user privacy. There are always degrees of course, but it does seem clear that users are becoming more aware of how their personal data is being used. Some will be fine with the trade off, and some will want to pay in order to gain more privacy. This is obvious.

          6. I agree with your description of Google’s business model and where it’s taking them right now. What I’m not sure of is the risk associated with Google’s widespread collection of user data. I don’t think it’s simply a premium vs. low-end thing.

            Some people assume that the general public are not concerned with privacy, and is making a conscious decision to trade their privacy for the free services and ads that Google is providing. That is what Google and the ad industry would like us to believe it. However, articles like this ( ) suggest that this is not the case. The article suggest that consumers do value their privacy but without a good alternative, they have simply given up.

            This bring up the question, what would happen if Apple shows the way for a privacy-considerate alternative that mostly works just as well as Google’s services? What would happen if somebody copied what Apple is doing and made a similar feature for Cyanogen? My sense is that regardless of income levels or regardless of whether they buy premium phones or cheap ones, the general public will move towards the alternatives that respect your privacy.

            So going back to your comment, yes, many if not most Apple customers will appreciate the features that respect your privacy. The question is, what about Android users? I expect that these customers too would like privacy if it was an option (and especially if it was free).

            What Apple might end up doing is in many ways similar to opening up Google and the Internet ad industry’s Pandora’s box. Apple may successfully show that Google and others do not really have a good excuse for invading your privacy. Apple may show that it is not futile for users to expect and demand better privacy on the Internet.

            This is the risk I foresee for Google, and this is why I am very, very interested in how Apple’s Proactive Assistant will perform relative to Google Now on Tap.

          7. Interesting, I was not aware how many people were against the collection of info in exchange for free services. 91 percent according to the article.

            Perhaps the question then is, can advertising be done in a good way without collecting so much data? Maybe it can be. There are websites and services that present advertising in ways that aren’t annoying or intrusive. Do these sites and services really need to track me and collect data so aggressively?

            If that is the case it may be even worse for Google going forward. But the real test, as you say, is how much the quality of services differs between those aggressively tracking and collecting (Google) and those that are much less aggressive (Apple).

          8. In the recent Techpinions podcast, Ben told us about what he though was his best advertising experience, and that was the ads on a farming magazine!!

            I think this tells you a lot about the failed promise of AdSense. AdSense originally was designed to decipher the website the ad would be displayed on, and to display only the ads that were relevant to the content. In that sense, the promise was that it would be like the farming magazine. In reality however, I hardly ever see ads that are true to the original promise. All I see are retargeting ads, which display ads from the sites that Google knows that I’ve visited.

            If the farming magazine ads work, then one would expect the contextually aware AdSense to work just as well. For some reason, they don’t, and this suggests that AI isn’t really the ultimate solution for display ads. In fact, it’s very possible that you don’t need AI at all.

            At least for the retargeting ads, all you really need to implement an ad retargeting service is to somehow get access to a user’s browsing history. If you have that, you don’t need any deep learning or neural network algorithms to calculate which ads to show. All you need is a simple text matching of the history to your sponsor’s URLs (and maybe sprinkle it with some randomness). No AI needed at all.

            So yes, I think one can conclude that advertising can be done in a good way without collecting much data (at least to the extent that a farming magazine collects data about its reader base, which a subscriber typically voluntarily gives by answering a questionnaire). Will advertisers pay more for these ads compared to Internet ads? I don’t know. Advertisers like to have a lot of data about the subscriber/user base.

          9. I tend to think the content draws the audience, and a service should do something similar. Then it’s a question of how to present ads in a way that doesn’t annoy the user. I favor one ad per page right in the flow of the content, or a sponsorship model. What I really don’t like is sites or services that cram many ads in on the page, it’s a noisy mess.

            You’re right that advertisers want as much data as possible, but I think they’ll have to learn to live without that data. Here in Canada we have fairly strong anti-spam laws. As laws like this get stronger what will be the point of gathering so much personal data? My understanding of the current law is that you already can’t send people advertising messages unless they opt in and give you permission. So if some service has a bunch of data and could sell a list of names and emails, at least in Canada you wouldn’t be allowed to shotgun blast an email to all those people anyway.

          10. I think that for email newsletters, that is the law in the US also (Japan’s laws are apparently a bit more relaxed, but a possibly stricter in other places).

            I think that compared to restrictions in other forms of marketing and advertising (including unsolicited emails and telemarketing for example), Internet-based user tracking is severely under-regulated. It’s still the wild-west. All that we need to do is to simply level the field, something which however, Google’s lobbyists would surely object to.

            And yes, I’m sure online advertisers could get by with much less data. Ben Bajarin makes the case that a print magazine for farmers (which doesn’t track you on the Internet, of course) has the best ads, and I agree. Revenues might decrease, but they have to live with that.

          11. That’s the difference between “Do you like it” and “Are you ready to do anything about it”.

            Do people like ads on TV ? No
            Do they stop watching TV or flock to ads-free stations ? No.

          12. The truth is that people have not been given a convenient alternative. The recent rise of Ad blockers suggest that when presented a convenient option, many people will remove ads. I’m not quite sure in the US, but in Japan, I think there once were some videos that removed ads, but they were basically banned or they had to refrain from selling them. The industry as a whole has been forcing ads down our throats, but the openness of the Internet has been hard for them to control. This is the first time I think in the history of media that the people have been given a true alternative and the Ad blocker growth stats suggest that ads might lose.

          13. It’s very easy to do, and has been easy to do for ages. On Windows I’m using a custom hosts.txt file that short-circuits ad networks, that’s a text file not even a program, it takes 1 minute to download it and put it in the right place, and it gets rid of 95% of ads ? It’s one of the methods listed on Wikipedia’s adblocking page, yet I’m the only one I know who does that.
            AdBlock has been released in 2006, that’s almost 10 years ago. I’d say less than 5% of people use it.

            Adblockers are growing because right now they’re a free lunch: you get rid of ads but don’t lose anything. I’d guess I visit over a hundred sites per month, 1 (one !) complains about my ad blocking, and yet still works fully. If adblocking becomes an issue and sites start to… block adblocking users… we’ll have an answer as to what users chose. Not before.

          14. OK, so 10% not 5, my bad, sorry. They’re getting their free lunch (so am i ^^), we’ll see what happens if/when they get called out.

          15. Not sure how typical my family experience is, but we timeshift almost all our TV viewing with a PVR and skip the ads.

          16. If people cared about privacy, they’d be using duckduckgo for searches, encrypting their email, setting up their owncloud server… all of which take about 5 minutes and very little skill beyond being able to RTFM, which is 1 page. Or they’d ask me to do it for them, same as I install+configure their PCs and mobile gizmos. I really think they don’t care.

            There’s also a misunderstanding, it’s not “Google = 0% privacy” vs “Apple=100% privacy” as Apple would have us believe. It’s somewhere in-between for both, again, Apple has a unique ID for each device and user, sells iPhone trackers to retailers, is doing business in China, hasn’t said anything about data encryption across datacenters, is moving heavily into advertising… Passing on Apple’s party line is PR, not analysis (that jibe isn’t directed at you ^^). I have no idea what exactly are the real differences between Apple and Google personal data handling, however much T. Cook is hyping them.

            A privacy backlash would mean everyone moving to paid-for services. Since pretty much everyone is on free services right now, I don’t think it would change things much: with everyone free, people are choosing Google because it’s better. With everyone for-pay… ditto ?

          17. I know you’re intentionally mentioning stuff that normal people have absolutely no idea how to do, but I take your point. What I say and what everybody else says about how the public value their privacy, and what actions they may or may not take to protect it, is highly hypothetical at this point.

            The fact is that a large proportion of the public is unaware of the privacy intrusions that Ad companies (you could even add Apple here) are doing. Very few people are aware that Facebook and Google can track you on any site that has an AdSense ad or a Like button. They aren’t aware that even if data is collected behind a randomised token, your location data can be combined to pinpoint exactly who you are and where you have been. I even agree that Apple is not 100% privacy either but I also assert that few people really know about the differences. Therefore, we don’t really know how the public would respond if these facts were publicised on mass-media television, newspapers, tabloids etc. In fact, they might never do so since these media are themselves very reliant on advertising. Public opinion is often swayed in rather extreme ways, and this adds to the uncertainty of what may happen when privacy becomes a big issue.

            The Snowden revelations and the general indifference of the public towards NSA’s practices suggest that the public doesn’t care about privacy. On the other hand, the article that I linked to suggests otherwise. My conversations with parents of small children also suggest that privacy is a huge issue for them. The information that I have at least is often contradictory and inconclusive as to how seriously people consider their privacy.

            We also don’t know how the public will respond when faced with privacy intrusions. Will they boycott Google? Will they migrate to duckduckgo? Or will Apple be perceived as the alternative privacy-considerate vendor they can flee to? Things also depend on whether Cyanogen for example can provide privacy-considerate services as an alternative to Google services.

            What Apple is doing is raising public awareness of privacy issues, and also providing an alternative. It might fall on deaf ears, but then again, it might trigger an uprising. I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody else really knows either. It’s simply too hard to predict. But if people do listen, then it’s very easy to predict that it will make a pretty big impact and it will hurt Google quite a bit. That’s where the risk is.

          18. Using dukduckgo really doesn’t take any skill, anyone can do it.
            The first hit in google on “how to make my emails secure” is . A bit long, install and configure 4 apps… but I’m fairly sure if I could get my dad to RTFM (I can’t ^^), he could do it.
            OwnCloud is a bit more involved.

            Indeed tokens are not really anonymous. Isn’t that what Apple is using ? I’m really not convinced that in the end, Apple users are tracked or mined less than Google users. And security is a whole other level. Actually, Id’ argue there are several levels
            – tracking by advertisers
            – tracking by interested 3rd parties ( that have a stake in my life, not just ads to push: employer, banks, health insurance…)
            – tracking by governments (not all good, LOVINT and such)
            – hacking
            – tracking by individuals (might be similar to hacking, or not, I’m think pedos, extortionists, stalkers, vengeful exes…)

            You’re saying Apple and Cyanogen are more private than Google. Is there any data on that ? Or is “not google” supposed to become a synonym for “private and secure” ?

          19. Regarding Apple’s use of tokens. Craig Federighi explicitly said during the keynote that when they do need to access the cloud to get maps etc., they do not send user tokens, at least not for the new Proactive Assistant (legacy systems before the focus on privacy may not be so anonymous). So although I’m sure that Apple does use user IDs in some instances, they try quite hard not to. They try hard not to be able to track you. Of course, if you think he’s lying outright and you need some kind of data, then I probably can’t convince you.

            As for Cyanogen, I’m only bringing up the possibility. If however privacy does turn out to be a strong competitive advantage, then I’m sure they will adopt the model more readily than Google.

          20. How can you explain the fact that the majority of those who are crying a fool about Google, Twitter or even Facebook intrusion into their private life or Ads are also the one who use their services the most . why do they continue to use these services when they are very aware of the danger, why do you personally still use Facebook, Twitter and Google services ?

          21. I’m not sure what your point is. This discussion is not about the people who are publicly complaining on the Internet about privacy intrusions, and much less about myself. These people only represent a minority of the population. We should be discussing about the majority.

            To understand the majority, we can refer to surveys. I have linked to an example below.

            Let me quote;

            Rather than feeling able to make choices, Americans believe it is futile to manage what companies can learn about them. Our study reveals that more than half do not want to lose control over their information but also believe this loss of control has already happened

            91% disagree (77% of them strongly) that “If companies give me a discount, it is a fair exchange for them to collect information about me without my knowing”

            71% disagree (53% of them strongly) that “It’s fair for an online or physical store to monitor what I’m doing online when I’m there, in exchange for letting me use the store’s wireless internet, or Wi-Fi, without charge.”

            55% disagree (38% of them strongly) that “It’s okay if a store where I shop uses information it has about me to create a picture of me that improves the services they provide for me.”

            It appears to me that the public is putting up with privacy intrusions only because they do not know of an alternative. This would be the answer to your question. This is also one possible reason why Adblockers are quickly gaining in popularity, as people realise blocking ads will also block these companies from tracking you. Also the survey suggests that, as Apple strengthens it’s privacy stance and provides privacy-considerate alternatives to Google’s services, many people will prefer to use what Apple provides instead of Google. We will probably see whether this truly turns out to be the case in a year or so.

            This is only one survey (although there are others). I have not come across a survey that suggests the opposite, that users think giving away privacy is a fair exchange for free services, but if you know of one, I would be happy to read it.


          22. The point is, if those who are very aware of the danger and the alternative including yourself are still willing to trade their privacy for the chance to use Google’s services , what make you believe that the general public will be much different.

            a survey rarely tell the whole story because of the lack of context and bad questions.

            The problem with company such as Google, in my opinion has more to do with Trust than a violation of privacy,

            do you trust Google with your personal Data in exchange for their services, for me the answer is yes because they have earned my trust after many year of good service.

          23. I am ok with Twitter and Facebook because they aren’t as creepy. They mostly only use (as far as I can see) the data that I’ve explicitly given them. Unlike Google, I see little evidence that they are stalking me on third party sites (maybe because I have Safari’s 3rd party cookie blocker on).

            With Google, I refresh cookies regularly and don’t use Gmail, etc.

      2. The flaw in your argument lies in the fact that we are moving in a multiple screen world with very a personalize experience, were the majority of users will expect that all their device be connected and sync with a single sign on, hence the advantage of the cloud compared to local data,

        1. Apple’s stance does not preclude storing personal data in the cloud. In the case of iMessage for example, Apple does send the message to the cloud so that it can be sent to the recipient. It is not a peer-to-peer service.

          The difference is that Apple encrypts the message in a way so that Apple itself cannot read it even if the government demanded it. Only the sender and the recipient can decrypt the message.

          To reiterate, Apple’s stance on privacy and single sign-on are technically compatible except for the most sensitive case like credit cards (in which case data is never sent to the cloud).

          1. you cannot create intelligence and IA Assistant across platform in isolation or in vacuum, that require a cloud base always connect platform, otherwise it will be like having a differente brain for each part of your body

          2. Whether you can or cannot is a technical problem that depends on how much processing power you need locally to process personal information, and how much information you can anonymously access through cloud services.

            Information like traffic, weather, special offers, places of interest, etc. can all be accessed completely anonymously, even without a user identifier ID. Although I’m not sure, it very well could be that the processing power required to to understand your personal situation (is your wedding anniversary soon?, etc.) is not very demanding and can easily be done on a phone, whereas the processing intensive tasks can be done anonymously. If this is the case, having small brains doing complex AI tasks on each of your devices completely anonymously, is totally feasible. Keep in mind that each of these devices will sync your encrypted personal information and store it in Apple’s cloud. This means that they can coordinate effectively.

            Whether you can or cannot has not yet been proven. I could make the case for both, but that isn’t really necessary because proof will come soon as these assistants become public.

          3. First, the reason why Apple does it in the device has nothing to do with privacy, but the
            fact they are unable to do in the cloud like Google can.

            Second – you’re looking at cloud base AI, based on some small
            and basic stuff that it can do now rather through all the wonders it can help us accomplish in the future let say, in
            5 to 10 years from now,

            Imagine a future where your local government, news, shop,
            store etc. can simply use the Google API Now to send you an interactive Card
            that you can interact with which include information to inform us of some emergency
            or about something that’s very important to us which sometime we don’t even know existed,
            instead of a link to a website or even having to create a web site to communicate with you, and imagine the system be smart
            enough to show you the card in the device you are using at the time, whether in
            your car, your watch, your TV, your phone, tablet, computer, fridge or even in front of the mirror in your bathroom etc.

            You must take into consideration that everything that is
            process locally in the device will be limited to the device and its fix capability
            for years in a world that is moving extremely fast, while in the cloud is
            potentially limitless. A perfect example of that is the Google Play
            Service Cloud layer that enable android users to have access to today’s android features
            on a 3-5 year old Smartphone

          4. If I understand correctly, your discussion hinges on the presumption that cloud based AI will do some amazing things in the future, which a local AI will never be able to.

            The examples that you gave are very confusioning. I’m not sure what you are talking about. I pretty sure that I don’t want my local government sending me messages when I’m in the bathroom, and I can’t imagine what the government would want to send me. The only information that I might want in the bathroom is something like an earthquake alert, which we already have in Japan (which sends messages that arrive before the actual tremors), does not use personal information at all, and does not involve any AI that I know of.

            Please give me some better examples.

          5. I gave you an example of an intelligence that can follow you throughout your entire army of connected devices, that only the Cloud can enable

            but to get it you’ll have to imagine the world as it will be in 2020 -2025 not 2015

          6. I hope I am not violating some sort of internet etiquette here . . . Kenny, if you don’t work for Google, I would be surprised.

  4. The steady improvement of Siri has definitely come to my notice, particularly since the last iOS upgrade; a constant daily routine of mine over the last decade and a half has been to set aside an hour for quiet contemplation in the evening. When I got my first iPhone in 2008, I incorporated it into the regime using a tastefully-coloured 3rd party app called Night Stand.
    When I acquired an iPad, it replaced my handset in this routine, further enhanced by the use of Siri to verbally set the alarm and call up the app. One problem: Night Stand has not been updated for many years now, and always starts up in portrait orientation while I always use my iPad in landscape.
    Prior to the last (iOS8.3) update, I always had to reach for the tablet and physically “toggle” the app into the correct orientation using the accelerometer, but to my surprise and delight, Siri now “auto-rotates” Night Stand without my intervention, having acquired the ability to “divine my next intent” from my habitual actions.
    I hope this is just one of many more intelligent iterations to come with the advent of Proactivity.

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