This year Apple’s WWDC was packed with announcements, so I wanted to take a few days to digest everything, and then share a few thoughts.
1- We should all learn by now (but we won’t) not to panic when it feels like Apple has missed the boat on an emerging technology trend. Apple is a company that is rarely the first mover, rather its prefers to focus on delivering the best experience possible.
Example: Many have been saying that iCloud has been a failure, and that Apple should pay any price to acquire Dropbox…this week those same people were saying the revamped iCloud, combined with Photos was a Dropbox killer. Dropbox is an amazing product, so saying that it is being killed feels a bit premature, but I imagine the WWDC announcements caused some tension throughout the company earlier this week.
2- The complete integration of hardware and software gives Apple an incredible advantage over its competitors. The high level of performance Apple is able to deliver through its products is a direct result of being able to customize their chips, and optimize the software to run efficiently on them. The tightly controlled process on both the hardware, and software sides produces results; results that have been unmatched by anyone else.
3- The health tech space is already heating up, but with Apple making an aggressive move into the space with HealthKit, its about to explode. There are only a handful of technology companies that could secure partnerships with all the necessary players to launch something that offers users a reason to be interested, and Apple has done just that. Getting the Mayo Clinic to be a launch partner is a critical move, and it will be interesting to see how Apple and Mayo work together going forward.
4- The OS X Yosemite update, combined with the new features in iOS 8, and iCloud make me more convinced than ever before that Apple is going to make a serious move into our living rooms with the greatly anticipated iTV. Apple wants to serve as a the hub for our lives- whether we are on the go, or at home. Steve Jobs said he finally solved television, and maybe we saw the first hints of his vision at WWDC.
5- Swift- this was probably the biggest announcement of the event. Apple introduced a new language for iOS development, allowing for better, and faster development. When trying to sell phones, having the best selection of third party apps is crucial, and Apple just made a great play to capture the hearts, and minds of developers everywhere, maybe even inspiring some new ones to get interested in building.
6- A lot of the new features, and capabilities for iOS 8 seem amazing to Apple loyalists, but anyone who uses Android might argue that they are long overdue. The Android users wouldn’t be wrong, but is important to realize that Apple is comfortable “borrowing” from the competition, and then applying the Cupertino shine, and delivering a superior experience.
7- As OS X and iOS continue to merge, and work even closer together in harmony, Apple is strengthening its network effects. If you own a Mac, the best smartphone experience you will have is with an iPhone, and vice versa. If you’re securing all your documents in iCloud, and your pictures in Photos, the cost of switching to another phone or computer becomes significantly higher. Apple is a company that sells devices, but now they have made it clear that they want to deliver the best software in order to keep people locked into buying their hardware.
8- There were no hardware announcements at the event. The focus was clearly on winning developers, and getting everyone excited about the future of building for iOS. I am still hoping we see a new iPhone and Macbook Air w/ Retina in the fall.
9- Despite delivering great announcements at the event, many people will still be writing Apple’s obituary, and claiming that the company is lost without Jobs, at least until they can deliver another game changing product like the iPad, iPhone, or iPod. It might not be fair to expect that from Tim Cook, but he has no choice except to deliver. We will all be watching…likely on our iPads.