My how quickly the present can change the future. Wait. What? Shouldn’t that be the other way around? Maybe, but not today. Just months ago the U.S. was ready for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was set to become a footnote in political history.
Yes, the ensuing and continuing political chaos show us that the present can change the future. Apple does much the same thing, though not with the regularity of a political election. Mere months ago Apple was being castigated as by the technology and market media because competitors were leaping ahead with new technology, and Apple had fallen so far behind it would never catch up. Yet, months later, that public noise has abated to disappeared, and Apple’s present is changing the future of technology. Again.
Here is what is going on. Again. And it’s not as if Apple didn’t tell us what was about to happen. Over the course of the past year Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned augmented reality (AR) time and again, while technology pundits said the future was virtual reality (VR). Guess who was correct?
During a single, somewhat lengthy presentation of new technology not that far away, Apple’s present changed the future. Again. Apple introduced ARKit and laid a foundation for augmented reality that will roll across the technology landscape this year and next like a tsunami. Instead of waiting until some new fangled device was ready for AR, Apple made AR ready for hundreds of millions of devices already being used, and set a platform for app developers to create their augmented reality apps for a ready and willing customer base.
Months ago, Apple was behind the technological curve everywhere. Months later, Apple is the curve and driving the market forward. Augmented reality will be a market success long before virtual reality becomes a reality you can afford or even desire to use.
Along with ARKit and the potential of augmented reality apps running on hundreds of millions of devices within months, Apple also launched another futuristic technology with HEVC and HEIC, for video and photos, respectively. High Efficiency Video Coding, and High Efficiency Image Format.
What you get with HEVC and HEIC are file compression codecs which promise to reduce file sizes and increase quality for both videos and photos. That means you get similar quality with about half the file size, or improved quality at about the same file size. Both will show up with macOS High Sierra and iOS 11 later this summer. Is this the future? Yes. And Apple just builds it in so it works.
Wait. There’s more. Apple’s aging file system, HFS+, was replaced almost without incident or notice to iPhone and iPad with the newly released APFS file system to iOS 10.3 just months ago. The technical details are lengthy, but suffice it to say it will improve system and file operations for a few decades to come. And Apple rolled it out to a few hundred million customers overnight with few hiccups. It just worked.
Likewise, Mac users will benefit from APFS with macOS High Sierra later in the summer. It’s already running on the latest versions of iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. What this change does is give Apple’s customers more security options, easier back ups, as well as better file and data integrity. Cloned systems will be easier and faster. Encryption is built-in to the system. It’s a long list of geeky items but it’s also the future and it’s here already.
There are times when Apple seems to fall behind the curve of what technology experts and members of the technorati elite politburo thinks the future should be. Then, almost without notice and seemingly without effort, Apple’s present becomes the future of technology.