For example, pretty much every Apple watcher knew what would happen during this week’s WWDC keynote show. New iOS, new watchOS, new tvOS, and, yes, even macOS. The only hole in the latter was the Sierra tag. I’ve been taking notes across the board, including the presentation, as well as various sessions which reveal more than would normally show up in the keynote.
Every Apple event of this magnitude brings a laundry list of changes to Apple’s platforms. Yet, some obvious items didn’t make the cut this year.
No iTunes Update – this shouldn’t have been a surprise because we just received a few updates this year, but iTunes is growing long in the tooth (that’s what happens when an app processes billions of dollars a year).
App Store Subscriptions – we know it’s coming, we just don’t know when. I’m still digging for data from the conference sessions. Regardless, expect to try an app, then buy an app, and use it only as long as the subscription lasts.
Messages on Android – I can’t tell you why expectations were high for this. Just. Won’t. Happen. What’s the compelling reason for Apple to put Messages onto Android? Apple makes money selling hardware.
Apple TV Service – Tim Cook says the future of television is apps, but so far many of those apps already require a subscription to a cable TV network, so what’s the point? Why isn’t Apple in the cable TV business already?
Hardware – not all WWDC events showcase new Apple hardware and as much as we wanted to see thinner, faster, lighter MacBook Pro models, we’ll have to wait. It won’t be a long wait. Everybody is selling thinner, lighter, faster Windows PCs.
What We Get
If ever there was a customer base that needed to exercise some patience, it’s Apple’s long list of iPhone, iPad, and Mac customers. That said, what’s coming in a few weeks is more indicative of the New Apple than the house that Jobs built.
Messages as Platform – I like to think of Messages on iOS 10 as a mini-Facebook. Apple says it’s the most used iPhone app, and the amount of sweetened eye candy tossed into Messages says Apple cares about keeping customers in line and making Android customers jealous.
Lock Screen – About time. Not that Notification Center wasn’t worthwhile, but it was cumbersome to use. Freeing widgets and moving them to a user customizable lock screen is the way to go and that’s where Apple went with iOS 10.
Siri – Critics don’t think much of Siri because she’s a headless voice that cops an attitude. Now that developers can tap into Siri’s greatness, we should see Siri become more robust, and that means more useful; especially with Siri integrated into macOS, and doing more heavy lifting in both watchOS and tvOS. Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana can do a few more things than Siri, but Siri already does a few more things than either one. To state that Apple has missed the boat for big data and artificial intelligence is simpleton logic at best.
Apple Music – I’m happy with the changes but Music has always been something of a kludgy mess to me. I can’t tell you which part of the Music presentation I enjoyed the most– Music’s simplified approach to music management, or the manager, Bozoma St. John. That was a treat. How often do you get to see geeks smile and squirm at the same time?
Maps – Yes, Maps got some love, but I would be happy with more accuracy. Siri, my default Maps voice, remains slow on turn-by-turn instructions, can’t figure out which lane I should be in next (a pain when driving alone without a co-pilot), and too often shouts ‘Back to the Route’ without informing the driver what to do to get there.
watchOS 3 – Outside of Messages and the deliberate bag of highly sugary eye candy, the changes to watchOS were my favorite (slightly above the new naming scheme for the Mac, macOS Sierra). Goodby Glances, hello Dock. Navigation is easier, apps load faster, and management seems simpler on every level. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Watch is easy. Once you learn it, set it up, it’s set it and forget it, but requires some effort. Apple seems to know that.
Apple Pay – I know that Apple Pay has purchasing influence. I guy where Apple Pay is available, and skip over stores that don’t have it. Now Apple Pay comes to the web. This is a big deal. Authenticate an Apple Pay purchase on your iPhone with Touch ID.
Photos – This didn’t seem to make much noise anywhere as Apple has been playing a bit of catch up with Google Photos, but one item of extreme importance is that Apple does all the slicing, and dicing on the device, not in the cloud, so the information Apple collects will pale in significance to Google’s Photos– and that’s a good thing.
tvOS – I don’t know what to think about tvOS and may not until I can do a developer’s hands-on. Siri shines on Apple TV but even with access to 650,000 TV shows and movies (most of which need to be paid for), and 6,000 apps, I’m not yet much of a fan. Single Sign-on looks good but what’s the point if you need to be a cable TV channel subscriber in the first place?
Delete iPhone Apps – OK, iOS 10 lets you delete Apple’s homegrown apps, but what’s the point? You can’t make a third party app the default browser or email app. I can’t find anyone who knows if such apps can be downloaded again later (my bet is yes).
The Cloud – I laugh at those who scoff about Apple’s cloud efforts. Apple is a huge cloud player but doesn’t make a big deal of it since Steve Jobs once called it a service, not a business. Who makes money on cloud services? Microsoft’s profits are Windows and Office. Google’s profits are advertising. Amazon’s profits… no. Wait. No profits to speak of there.
Can’t wait until Octoberish, though.