Well now that Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference is in full swing I have had time to digest the initial announcements and take a slightly deeper look at what has been revealed.
Professionally and personally speaking there is a lot to be gained by looking at these announcements, some which includes:
- New software: this provides some key insights into what Apple considers important and is often the result of a combination of customer input, enhancements and future vision. So these "little" things can be quite important.
- New products: while it is true that no single company can produce products that everyone needs, Apple comes pretty close to consistently producing products that appeal to customers and create impacts in unimaginable ways. So any new product announcement is generally interesting to review.
- Metrics: One of the best parts of keynotes at WWDC happen to be the numbers that they present such as market size, profits, application downloads, and the like. These numbers are not merely summaries of existing numbers, but often times contain new information on previously unmentioned metrics. The metrics are important because they help to establish a proper baseline for competitor analysis.
Anyways some of the things that I noticed from the keynote...
1) Mac Pro Refresh - Finally
The long awaited Mac Pro refresh is finally here. To be honest, while I the technically saavy professional and personal consumer was quite impressed my brother who is an artist and many other friends that I know in the entertainment industry were happy but not what I would call "blown off their feet".
These individuals pointed out that while the refresh was quite impressive, many key features such as supporting 4K monitors, the GPU throughput, and other things were actually just a tad behind the higher end PC workstation world specification wise.
Additionally their opinions were quite split about investing in the new Mac Pros. Based on current, generally available information from Apple, it is about 50/50 in terms of investing in the product. For some it was a worthwhile investment to continue on their projects, others saw it as not quite enough and given Apple's past history at higher-end pricing for the Pros they saw it as not compelling enough. I think the difference also lies in the changing of the technology and tools available for these creatives. Many who work in larger organizations have access to cloud infrastructures and computing clusters that do the vast majority of the work. For their individual creatives it is the price point that makes the difference in that if priced "appropriately" they may be enticed to continue using these workstations, otherwise they have been making due with MacBook Pros.
Generally speaking I like the design such as the heat sink, the round shape, and as always Apple's design aesthetic around the overall unit. From someone used to working with desktops and workstations a lot, Apple's units never felt cramped or crowded. They have always been easy to manage, easy to work with, and easy to expand.
2) iWork.com - Web-based Applications
This little product nestled in the keynote was what had me fascinated the most. Not only by what was delivered, but what could be a great promise hidden within the keynote presentation itself. All right I do admit I loved the web-based demo because the applications looked elegant, simple, easy, and functional.
There are some obvious concerns of an all, web-based application service that Apple demonstrates with iWork as well:
- What about offline use? This is pretty typical right such as on long train rides or airplanes or heck even out in a park sitting enjoying the sun. People work best in odd places most which are NOT connected in anyway to the internet. So hopefully Apple continues a desktop or native version such that work can continue.
- No internet/no cloud - So this is a another big issue. When I lose my internet connection I no longer be functional and productive. This is a huge issue with cloud-based services of any type. A storm knocks out power, someone cuts the cables at the local network node, or any other number of issues. So we will have to see how the desktop and web-based versions work out.
The concerns can be addressed by maintaining a desktop and mobile version so hopefully that will continue :)
3) iRadio - Radio the Apple Way
In terms of a new service this was not bad. I can see a lot of use for this especially for those who may not be able to regularly get radio for other reasons. I am not certain how well this service will do overall.
4) iOS7 - Flat Design and more
The new iOS appears to have dramatic changes both from a consumer perspective such as the flat design and functions, but more than likely under the hood as well from a developer perspective. As with prior iOS previews, once the developers have helped to "test drive" the SDK details will become publicaly available. From past experience Apple has done a lot within the SDK that makes developing high-performance, resource-efficient and user-pleasing applications. I expect nothing less in the iOS7 version.
5) Mac OS X - Mavericks
While many people were looking forward to iOS7, Mavericks is another operating system upgrade that people were looking at as well. I would characterize the Mavericks update as a worthwhile one incorporating many nice features that users have been requesting and many additional changes under the hood for stability, performance and efficiency. While some of the functions demonstrated such as the "smoother scrolling" seemed somewhat "bleh" to many of the audience members, those small touches are what makes using the Apple Macs so nice in comparison to other operating systems. When doing work with images, videos or any digital asset in fine detail being able to see things smoothly and consistently is pretty darned important.
Overall the keynote for the 2013 WWDC was another excellent way for Apple to communicate some of their more notable products from a developer and consumer perspective. As with past conferences, many of the nitty gritty details remain under their program restrictions until their offering goes public. However the public announcements gave enough information to let the average consumer what Apple has coming out for the remainder of the year.
At least until the next press event :)