What I Will be Looking For at WWDC

Ben Bajarin / June 5th, 2013

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.

Tighter Integration

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.

Increased Functionality

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.

Personalization

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.

P.S.

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.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio
  • pawhite524

    Ben,

    Another well-thought out article that got me to thinking about what I want from my computer experiences. So long as privacy and security from malware is not compromised, but enhanced, sign me up.
    As to your post-script, you are the 1st writer I have read to highlight this excellent point. You and the other fine writers here keep me coming back for more!

  • But I want to use my device at times other than “at the end of the day”. Ugh. Christ, please give that phrase a rest. Where do you people go to learn to speak and write like that?

    • benbajarin

      give me a list of phrases you like that communicate the same thing and do so more eloquently.

      • No phrase necessary. Leave it out, and your sentence means the same thing. I guess I should have gone to Biz-speak University. Same goes for “going forward”, by the way. If you should feel tempted to use that one, just don’t. Your sentence will mean the same thing.

        • Rich

          Nobody forces you to read anything if you don’t like what it says.

        • benbajarin

          That’s good advice actually. I’ve read strunk and white many times and tried to be specific about style but there isn’t much like it related to technical writing or in our case a more long form column style. My challenge, to be honest, is to try to avoid the deep technical and analytical approach of my reports but take the same premise and make it more interesting and digestible for a larger audience.

          Good constructive feedback. Thanks.

          • I am a regular reader. Please continue to do excellent work.

          • steve_wildstrom

            “At the end of the day” isn’t even bizspeak. It’s a British affectation that has crept into American English. Strunk & White didn’t mention it because it probably hadn’t made it to this side of the ocean in their day.

  • Rich

    Ben,

    Referring to your last paragraph, if enough customers “cut the cord” and get their TV over the top, I’m certain those customers who have done that, will find their charges for Internet access have gone up, very possibly enough to recompense the cable company for cutting the cord. I don’t really see why that wouldn’t happen.

    The only way I can predict a meaningful change in the content provider/cable company cartel’s way of doing business is if something comes along to offer a significant threat to their way of doing business. Then they could be forced to change. I’d like to know – in very specific terms – what’s going to accomplish that.

    If anybody had actually “cracked it” (to use Steve Jobs’ words shortly before he left us) I think we would have seen the results by now. Maybe Apple is going to blow the whole television business open this Fall, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Rich

      I mentioned cutting the cord but forgot to mention Aereo. The last I knew they were still promoting the pure fiction that they’re not doing retransmission, but I think they actually haven’t gone far enough in talking like the people in Alice in Wonderland. I think they should try to convince the next judge that they don’t exist. Maybe they can get a favorable ruling.

      • steve_wildstrom

        In his appeared at the D11 conference last week, Barry Diller made it quite clear that his interest is Aereo is primarily as a stick to poke the TV industry.

        A legal fiction is different from a pure fiction, because sometimes it works. So far Aereo has persuaded two NY courts that what it may walk like retransmission and quack like retransmission, it isn’t retransmission as defined in the law (a similar service. however, was blocked by a California court, so we really won’t know its legal status until the Supreme Court rules, maybe in 2015)

    • diddler

      Personally, I think that ‘cracked it’ remark was a joke. It is the same as Fermat’s claim in the margin of his notebook that he had a proof for the theorem, but the space was just too small.

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