I wanted to put out a WWDC post before I delve into betas and sessions and I’m more constrained by NDA regarding what I can say.
First overall I think Apple did what they needed to do in spades. There’s a new look and I think, especially after Google IO, that you have to say momentum has shifted back to Apple. That said my initial reactions are more guarded. The iOS7 feel is fantastic. However the look seems a bit heavy on bright whites and neon colors. Reminds me of fashions when I was a kid in the 80′s. Frankie says relax, but I’ve a feeling neon on white is the new felt. What it really reminds me of was the original “lickable” UI from early OSX. That became much more toned down and subdued as OSX progressed. I’ve a feeling that’ll happen with iOS as well. I’m hoping things will play better on a phone than they look on the screen. Because right now I have to admit that some of my fears about the iOS7 redesign were well founded.
People have been saying Apple’s borrowed from Android. However after having run Android now daily for quite a while I actually think they’ve mined the jailbreak arena a lot more. A lot of testing and innovation in UI design honestly can be best found on Cydia. Apple’s borrowed a lot of the best features those of us jailbreaking have had for a long time. All these new features for quick access to system controls to multitasking are exactly what I’ve long hoped for.
The big, big missing features were interapp communication and iCloud “repairs.” I didn’t expect them in the keynote to focus on the developer facing parts of of iCloud. Yet that’s where iCloud really needs the most work. (Not to mention in reliability too) There were hints of better interapp communication but I have to think that if there were a new system for sharing it’d have been more front and center. If we just have sharing for a few special apps Apple’s chosen I’ll be very disappointed. However I suspect we’ll learn more about this in the sessions. (And of course I’ll then not be able to say anything since this year I will be under NDA)
While iOS7 clearly is where Apple’s focus is (and should be) what I was most excited about was OSX. Admittedly many of the features such as tagging, iBooks, and Maps should have been there long ago. But they are there now finally. The keychain updates have been begged for years before 1Password appeared. While some are upset that Apple is “sherlocking” 1Password I suspect they’ll continue to do well. It’ll be more how Reading List didn’t kill Instapaper or Pocket. Especially for power users there will be a large market who wants more.1 The tagging is what I’m most excited about. Clearly Apple is going to use tagging as the solution for large number of files in iCloud. I joked on ADN that they were stealing the functionality of Gmail. While I wasn’t a big tagger in email, preferring folders, I think having a general system of tagging is a great idea. I hope it’ll be system wide and is well thought out.
For me this version of OSX is the most excited I’ve been in a long time. I’m eager to download the beta. (And immediately stop talking about it until fall)
The Mac Pro is quite interesting. I’m surprised they announced TB2 already. All that said I’m overall actually glad I got my iMac 27″ rather than waiting.
Apple went with the Pandora killer rather than the Spotify killer. I’m not surprised if only because I don’t think the labels would let Apple go for a playlist centric service. This does put Apple behind both Google and Microsoft in terms of streaming music.
Apple’s given us a lot that we wanted so let me finish with my worries. First off I really wish Apple had spoken about fixing the flaws of iCloud. I’m really worried about their reliability. As I said a lot will probably come out in the sessions, but the whole problem of Core Data is huge. I really expected to hear more about solutions to the pipelining issue (sharing files between apps from iCloud). I’m also a little disappointed that Apple hasn’t pushed iCloud as a back end for web services. Their web apps got it but nothing was announced about having even a Maps API for web developers let alone iCloud.
The look of Maps also hasn’t changed enough. I’d mentioned that one of the big problems of Apple’s Maps over Google Maps was road contrast. Looking at the screen shots it looks like Apple hasn’t learned its lesson there. They’ve integrated the maps point of interest data into more areas – largely following Google. But that works only as well as there is good data. It’s not clear Apple will fix their data enough.
I was kind of expecting a bit more “flatness” to come to OSX. But there was only so much Ive could do in his short stint in charge of software UI. So I’m not surprised he focused on iOS. I’m actually surprised he was able to achieve as much within iOS7 as he did. There’s still a bit of schizophrenic design in OSX. Consider the sidebar. Colorful or monochrome? Well in the Finder you still have monochrome icons but now with neon tags. Also, I’d really prefer not to have neon on white on OSX truth be told.
A big surprise was the lack of GPS/LTE for the MacBook Airs as options. I think a lot of people get Airs because iPads are just too underpowered. Now that we have Maps for OSX there’s really nothing that would limit all those fantastic location aware apps coming. Except that there’s no way to get your position. That’s extremely disappointing. As much as I’ve come to love the iPad I think a 11″ Air with LTE/GPS would be killer.
While they announced the web version of iWork I think many of us were hoping for an announcement of new versions for Mac.
Finally there didn’t appear to be the splitting up of iTunes that many of us hoped for. Maybe this is just too early, but it’d have made OSX so much better. Once again I bet they were just picking their battles and we’ll see more Ive inspired splitting up of iTunes later this fall.
- Although I should note with credit card insertion Apple one upped 1Password. ↩