Rather than make some wild predictions about Apple’s upcoming worldwide developer conference, I thought it would be more interesting to share the key things I’ll be looking for that I believe are important strategic themes.
Being in the post-PC era, as we are, brings with it interesting challenges. We live in a multi-device world where every computing product we purchase (i.e tablet, smartphone, PC) is not used in isolation from other computing products but rather as a part of a solution. These devices all compliment each other and each plays an important role in a holistic computing solution.
I have laid out the many ways I think iCloud is important at being the glue that ties the Apple centric post-PC era together. At this years WWDC, I am looking for Apple to take another step in deepening the integration and synchronization of all my Apple products AND Apple experiences.
This is incredibly strategic in my opinion. We have seen the data prove time and time again that once consumers get into the Apple ecosystem, they typically stay. They don’t just stay, in fact, often they buy more Apple products and consume more Apple services. Tighter integration and synchronization between Apple’s hardware, software, and services, is key for Apple’s post-PC ecosystem and for the consumers who live within it.
At the end of the day, it is what we can do with our smart devices that is pushing computing forward. When I evaluate devices, platforms, software, services, etc., I do so with a focal point of what new and useful functions they enable that I could not do before.
In an industry presentation I have I reference this point with a slide called “enabling the new.” Bringing new use cases, new functions, and more, are central to the evolution of computing. This is why I’ll be looking specifically for things Apple has created, for developers and for consumers, that allow them to do things they could not do before.
This is an interesting area of debate and there are two ways to look at this. My personal opinion, is that Apple can stand to bring new levels of personalization to iOS without hampering the user experience they are keen to product, and for good reason. This is particularly true for Apple’s China efforts.
Our China centric research, along with others, continually points to one of the primary reasons many Chinese consumers jailbreak their iPhones is to personalize and customize their phones to a degree unlike any other region. This goes beyond flashy wall papers but to custom icons, and more. This is an area where I keep watching for Apple to address.
If you recall on the first iPhones, you could not do much in the way of personalization. You couldn’t even customize your wall paper for example. Eventually this feature came along and now you would be hard pressed to find a consumer without a customized wall paper and lock screen.
Deeper customization and personalization is a desire that comes with those who are mature users who are familiar and comfortable with a platform. iOS now has hundreds of millions of these consumers and I believe iOS can stand to have some new areas of personalization and customization. This could be in the way of iOS themes for icons, or other simple ways that allow for the OS functionality to stay the same but the look and feel to vary slightly based on consumer preference. The other reason I like this idea is because it could open up an entire new business for graphics designers and professionals to create amazing themes and sell them.
The other area of personalization is in the way of personalized experiences. This is where Siri can come in and bring new levels of automation and personalized assistance to iOS. I’ve long stated that I still believe our smart devices aren’t really all that smart. They know nothing about my needs, wants, and desires. Once they do, and can provide valuable and useful experiences with that data, I may feel comfortable saying our devices are actually smart.
In the case of Google Now, I call these things anticipation engines. Specific to this area of personalization, I’m looking for Apple to increase Siri’s or something else’s ability to anticipate my behaviors, habits, needs, wants, desires, etc., and provide value along side them.
Perhaps not all of this will come this WWDC, but these are the strategic points I am keeping my eye on related to Apple’s ecosystem. Of course developers are key, so within all these things I mentioned, it is important that value is not just created for Apple or for Apple’s customers, but also Apple’s developers.
I hope we see an app store for Apple TV. Software developers, creating new software for the TV platform, is how television will be disrupted.