Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference 2014 is underway. The keynote just wrapped up, and I had some comments on it.
Alas, I’m not able to be in San Francisco this week, but I will be paying attention to the conference and the sessions (and new technologies) as they are made available.
Overall, I think this was a good keynote. I think Apple’s direction and strategy is clear:
This is something no one else can provide.
It’s pretty clear that people have multiple devices: they have their phone, their tablet, their desktop or laptop computer. Maybe even multiples of these or some other combination. People use different devices for different purposes throughout the day: the phone is good for when you’re out and about, but the desktop/laptop is really better when you have to get work done in a day. Tablet? great for kicking back on the couch or in bed to read, watch movies, whatever.
With the different devices comes… the walls they each have. You’re composing an email on your desktop computer, but you need to get going… what do you do? Do you leave it for later? Do you scrap it and start over on your phone? do you delay so you can finish? Nothing is ideal. But now with Continuity, a couple clicks/taps/gestures and off you go, handing off the work to another device and away you can go. I’ve wanted this frequently, when I might have discovered a web article worth reading while I’m working on my MacBook Pro, but I’d rather read it on my iPad in bed this evening. Sure I can bring up the web page on the iPad, but now it will be much easier.
And “easier” is key. Make it so Mom & Pop can do it, without having to call you for tech support. 🙂 While Apple no longer uses the “for the rest of us” marketing, it remains at the heart of their focus.
This is huge, and you can be sure Apple’s marketing and advertising and overall message in the coming months will be stressing this Continuity, because Samsung can’t do it, Nokia can’t, Google can’t, Microsoft can’t. No one but Apple can do this, and yes, it’s important to people. You may not have realized it, but if you think about those little frustrations in a day, and then you start using it, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.
You can see “Yosemite” (Mac OS X 10.10) is mostly about this Continuity and convergence. There are the obvious graphical cues from iOS 7 (the “flat” look and feel, translucency, etc.). But really when you look at it, it’s not a huge update. Mostly because Mac OS X is fairly mature, so it’s really about fine-tuning at this point. There’s a great deal of work being done to make Mac OS X and iOS be almost the same thing — not entirely, but yes doing more to make the user experience be unified, that if you have a feature here you also have it there. Things “just work”, and your work and experience is continuous no matter what device you’re on. So sure, “Yosemite” may not look like a huge sexy thing unto itself, but it’s vitally important towards Continuity and convergence.
iOS 8 brings a lot as well, from the photo editing, to the notification widgets (Extensibility), the expansion of Spotlight — both iOS and Mac OS X now share this experience. I think the Family Sharing is a huge thing, which I know will be taken advantage of in my household. But again, the main focus? Continuity. That’s evident.
Of course, as a developer, a lot of the new kits like HealthKit, HomeKit, SceneKit — and yes, Swift. Oh, these are going to be really cool. Swift I’m sure will be the talk of the week at WWDC. I’m very interested to check it out. I am wondering if apps developed with Swift can be deployed back to iOS 7, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Bottom line? I know a lot of people will be disappointed by today’s keynote. It happens every time Apple speaks — people start to salivate about what COULD come, what they want to see, and when they don’t get their wishes, they balk and cry foul and hate on Apple. Gee, I’m sorry Apple didn’t consult with you for their marketing and business plan. Please get over it. What Apple announced today is big and indicative of their greater strategy: Continuity, Convergence, Unity, Seemless workflow across devices. This is what no one else can do, and will set Apple apart. There’s a much bigger picture here, and it’s only beginning to unfold.