WWDC 2014 Keynote Thoughts

hsoi blog, talk 5 Comments

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:

Convergence.

Continuity.

Unity.

Uniformity.

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.

 

Comments 5

  1. Pingback: WWDC 2014 Keynote Thoughts | Stuff From Hsoi

  2. Apple’s strategy is the same as Microsoft’s: find ways to keep their giant staffs of programmers employed, cranking out features and user interface changes no one wants, that can’t be rolled back, that users will be forced to accept in mandatory updates, many of which will choke existing hardware, driving demand for sales of new hardware that’s only required because of the software updates.

    Regular schlubs outside of the top 10 urban metro areas, who lack universal free WiFi everywhere, whose phones and tablets slow to a crawl because so much of the work is now burdened to “the Cloud”, limited by the slowness and unreliability of their cellular data plan, can officially “suck it”, according to the business plans of the major players in the industry, as best I can tell.

    The song remains the same.

  3. Post
    Author

    Actually, there’s a lot of want for these changes.

    Nevertheless, your point is valid because well… Apple is a hardware company. Sure they have other revenue streams (like iTunes and App Store), but even those are ultimately driven by their core revenue source: hardware sales. And so, to do things to drive sales, and to drive you to buy new hardware… it’s what they want. I even found myself watching the keynote and going “Yeah, to take advantage of that, gonna have to buy a new machine…” or “I wonder if that feature will work on this slightly older machine?” and so on. So yeah, it’s all about driving sales. And yes, “vendor lock in” is what EVERYONE wants. Heck, I was just researching tires for my truck, and many of the warranties only worked out if the replacement was another set of their tires. Everyone does this. I’m not saying it’s right, just pervasive.

    The cloud thing is on my nerves for similar reasons. I have other reasons I don’t care for it, but the simple fact that a lot of the USA and the world is not able to handle gigabytes of downloads for OS updates or other such things… the time isn’t really right for such a move. But then, it’s also arguable that if there isn’t push in that direction, infrastructure will never improve to meet it. But then as well, there’s so much monopoly going on that the infrastructure providers have little incentive to improve. I found it so telling that when Google announced Fiber in Austin, Time Warner Cable and AT&T both suddenly found the means and ability to improve their service and product offerings in Austin. Gee….

  4. Don’t discount the iPad as just for use when we want to hang out on the couch or on the deck. I worked at a nuclear power plant before I retired (just last year) and they are NOT on the bleeding edge of technology BUT a lot of management got iPads w/keyboards in what would look like a laptop and they use it as if it’s their only machine. They are using citrix with has the ability to run some apps on a configured server and you can leave that app (such as MS mail) running. Then using a citrix app on your iPhone, iPad, desktop/laptop you can just log back in a pickup where you left off.
    I’m getting a bit off topic. The citrix solution isn’t the one apple is going for but it is close, and the iPads are being used more and more for real work for mgmt/admin types of activities. Sys admin and coding I will always do with as big a screen as I can get!
    Peace out

  5. Post
    Author

    Oh I agree. There’s a lot that an iPad CAN be used for in a very practical setting. I’m mostly alluding to how Tim Cook (or maybe it was Craig Federighi) referred to the 3 flavors of iDevices during the keynote.

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