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Thoughts and Comments: Apple WWDC Keynote

Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off this year’s WWDC developer’s conference.  Below are my thought and comments on this year’s keynote address.

Opening Video

– To kick off the conference this year, Apple played a new TV spot called Designed by Apple in California. The video exemplifies how Apple sees itself and, I think, is a subtle stick jab at their competition suggesting that they lack focus on their products, software, and services.  In short, the perfect way to fire up the legion of Apple fans in the audience and watching the video stream.

– This year is the 24th WWDC conference.  Over 1,000 Apple engineers on site.  I think it’s safe to say that Apple has shutdown their engineering arm this week.  Tim confirmed that the show sold out in 71 seconds.

Apple Retail Update

– Apple is hosting over 1 million customers a day around the world in their stores.

– The App Store is 5 years old next month.  Customers have downloaded over 50 billion apps.  The App Store is home to over 900,000 apps.  Google has stated that the Play Store has 48 billion downloads.  Not bad.  Too bad the Play Store hasn’t paid out as much money to developers as Apple has to iOS developers.

– Wall St, take notice.  Apple has 575,000,000 store accounts.  The majority of which have credit cards linked to them with one-click buying turned on.  Apple has a secret weapon, and it’s called customer impulse buying.  Wait until that is monetized outside Apple’s eStores.

– There are now over 72 million Macs in service today.  MacBooks are the number one notebook in the United States and number one in customer satisfaction.

OS X Update

– The next version of Mac OS X will be then 10th release of OS X.  Having run out of big cats to name the OS after, Apple is switching to a California theme for the next series of OS X names.  The next version of Mac OS X will be called “Mavericks”.  It’s related to surfing and waves.  It just makes me thing of Tom Cruise’s character from Top Gun.

– OS X Mavericks will focus on deep technology changes that will focus on things like even better battery performance.  Apple will focus on power users.  That is some welcomed news after the current release, in my opinion, went a little too far toward new users coming in to the Mac OS X ecosystem from iOS devices.

– Major features of Mavericks that power users are going to love: Finder Tabs (meh, I can take it or leave it); Tags – allows you to assign keywords to your files which adds a new powerful search element to Mac OS X; and lastly (this is my most favorite) support for multiple displays.  Now, you can have your Mac OS X menu bar on each display, dock on each display, and; this is my favorite part, when you go full screen on one monitor, the other is left alone. Sweet!!

– Since the majority of Mac sales are now made of up notebook sales, Apple is putting a lot of time into optimizing the CPU and conserving battery power.  They are claiming that they can achieve 72% less CPU activity.  That’s pretty neat.

– Safari is going to get a major update in Mavericks.  A new, iTunes 11-like interface; enhanced bookmarking and reading list.  Under the hood, Apple is optimizing memory use and the JavaScript engine.  Sounds very cool, but I’m going to have to let the new interface grow on me.

– iCloud Keychain a new, secure way to have Mac OS X remember all of your complex passwords for websites, Wi-Fi hot spots and all the rest.  Very cool!!  This is one of the features that makes me wish my company allowed us to deploy and use Macs again.

– Safari can interface with iCloud Keychain and suggest strong passwords for you and can remember your saved credit card information.  You will still have to remember your credit card security code.

– Notifications are now smarter in Mavericks.  You can now reply to a notification by mousing over it.  You can delete email you don’t want to deal with.  And, Mavericks allows you to subscribe to iOS push notifications to be sent to your Mac.

– Holy poop!!  The Calendar app is sane looking again!!  I am sooo glad that I didn’t purchase a copy of Fantastical for my Mac.  (I still recommend Fantastical for your iPhone.)

– Maps is coming to the Mac.  Lots of people don’t like Maps on iOS, but I’ve never had a problem with it.  A new cool feature will allow you to send a trip from your Maps app on OS X to Maps on your iPhone.  Very cool.  I can see myself using that feature a lot.  Because I get lost a lot.

– iBooks is now coming to Mavericks.  All of your iBook Store purchases will now be available on your Mac.  Pretty nice.  I’m surprised this took so long to get done.

– iBooks on Mac OS X has some very cool note taking features which will further push the desire to use this technology in schools for learning.  It almost makes me went to go back to school.

– As expected, Mavericks will ship later this fall.  Hum, maybe about the same time as iOS 7?  That would be my guess.  Maybe Mavericks will ship a few weeks before iOS 7 so that customers don’t have a train wreck of new software updates all at once and Apple’s servers don’t get flooded.

Macintosh Update

– Apple has cooked up a new features in the MacBook Air family to push the envelop for all-day battery life.  Hmm, if a MacBook can go all day, I might be able to look past the silver, not black, display bezel and buy one.

– The 11-inch MacBook Air will now get 9 hours of battery life.  The 13-inch can now get 12 hours of battery life.  Impressive.  Let’s see what the real world application use of these batteries is.  The iPad has set a high bar for the MacBook Air to meet.

– New MacBook Airs now support 802.11ac Wi-Fi which now works with the new Apple Airport Extreme and Time Capsule units.  Very nice, but I don’t see myself getting a new AirPort until I upgrade my Mac, which is still a ways off.

– The Mac Pro is getting a complete make over.  Instead of that monster metal next to your desk, the new Mac Pro is a sleek, glossy black cylinder that looks absolutely amazing.  Favorite Phil Schiller quote: “Can’t innovate my ass.”  I completely agree.

– They just panned to Woz, looking skeptically at the new Mac Pro.  I don’t think he’s sold on it.

– OMG!  The new Mac Pro is going to be absolutely amazing!  This thing is powerful.  Professionals are going to love it!

– The Mac Pro will be assembled in the United States.  Thank you Apple for bringing manufacturing to the good ol’ US of A.

iCloud Update

– Developers are in love with the idea of iCloud, but trying to program for certain aspects of Apple’s web service is a royal PITA.  Let’s hope that it gets a serious infrastructure update.

– Why is Roger Rosner wearing a jacket?  Apple execs and product mangers don’t wear jackets during keynote presentations.  Duh!!

– Oh, ya, finally, iWork is coming to iCloud.  Maybe we’ll get new versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote now.

– iWork for iCloud will allow you to use your iWork apps in a browser on your Mac…or Windows PC. Really cool.  There have been a few times when I would have loved to update a Pages document while at work, away from my Mac.

– Interestingly, no one in the crowd cheered when Rosner announced iWork for iCloud.

– Ok, so here’s what I’m thinking about iWork for iCloud.  Apple has *finally* caught up with Google Docs and even the late entry, Office 365’s streaming web apps.  Maybe Apple has been working on the iCloud services and plumbing.  Let’s see.

– Again, no one cheers when Rosner says, “Remember, this is all happening in a web browser.”  Yes, Roger, we know.  We’ve been working on documents like this for years now.  Apple’s late to the game here.

– Apple seems to have done a good job of translating Pages to work in a browser.  You can also convert and work with Word documents in iWork for iCloud.

– Yes, we got it.  In a web browser.  Apple’s late.  We’re being polite.  Don’t push it.  Move on.

– iWork for iCloud supports Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Internet Explorer.  Mozilla FireFox is absent from the list.  Read into that what you will.

– iWork for iCloud is available as a beta today for developers.  A public beta is coming later this year for all iCloud users.  No word on when iWork for iCloud will be released as a final product.

– Woz seems a little bit more animated now.

iOS 7

– Apple has sold over 600 million iOS devices.

– In web market share, there is no comparison between traffic from iOS devices as it relates to Android devices and “Other” devices.

– Interesting note about customer satisfaction. Yes, we know that people love their iOS devices.  But I found it interesting that Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS has a higher customers satisfaction rating than Google Android.  73% for iOS, 53% for Windows Phone, and then Android at 49%.

– 93% of iOS devices are running iOS 6.  Amazing!  This is a major plus for customers and developers.

– OMG!  Steve would be so proud of what Jony has done to iOS 7!  This looks like an amazing upgrade to iOS.  I want it NOW!

– You can watch the new design video on the iOS website.

– Holy Crap!!  iOS 7 has cards — Yes! — just like Palm webOS had.  Sweet!!  (I miss Palm.)

– The crowd is going wild for iOS 7.

– Al Gore looks pretty psyched about iOS 7.

– iOS folders can now have pages of apps.  Nice.  No more folder names like Games, Games 2, Games, 3.

– Notification Center is now available from the iOS lock screen.

– I don’t like the new Settings icon.  I’m such a PITA.

– Control Center gives you your settings widgets panel.  It also works from the iOS lock screen.

– In iOS 7, all apps, will be supported for multitasking.

– A double-click on the Home button in iOS 7 will bring up the “card view” and you can swipe across full screen cards of your open apps.

– Safari on iOS now supports parental controls and iCloud Keychain which is shared with Mavericks.

– The eight tab limit has been removed from Safari on iOS.  I don’t keep lots of tabs open, but this feature will cut down on the number of calls I get from my Dad who loves to keep lots of tabs open all the time.

– AirDrop is coming to iOS.  Very nice.  No need to bump your pone.  LOL  Works with encrypted Wi-Fi connections.  No mention if it works with AirDrop from your Mac OS X box.  That is the feature I’d like to see.

– Moments is a cool new way to add organize your iOS camera roll.  That will help you find the photo of your kids or vacations easily to show and bore your friends.

– Siri has gotten a visual and vocal upgrade.  She sounds less tinny and more human.  Apple has also given her control over iOS functions.  Apple has integrated Bing searches, Twitter, Wikipedia, and other iOS applications.

– Siri now has new female and mail voices.

– iOS in the Car is a new Siri driven hands free, eyes free control while driving.  Many major vehicle manufactures will support iOS in the Car in their 2014 models.

– iOS App Store will automatically update apps in the background for you.

– Apple has just announced iTunes Radio.  It’s built into the Music app in iOS 7.

– iTunes Radio looks pretty cool.  I’ve stayed away from Pandora and other streaming “radio” apps.  The service will be free with ads.  If you are an iTunes Match customer, and I am, the ads are removed.

– Notification Sync allows you to dismiss a notification on one device and it is cleared on all devices.  I want this feature!

– Finally!  You can now do message blocking for Phone, FaceTime, and Messages.  I know lots of parents will like this feature for their kids.

– Activation Lock will render a lost or stolen iPhone completely unusable because it won’t be able to be used again without your Apple ID and password.  Apple is finally getting serious about cutting down on iPhone thefts.

– iOS 7 beta is available now for registered developers.  iPad beta is coming soon.  The final release of iOS 7 will be “this fall”.  Read: When the iPhone 5S is released in October.

Final Thoughts

Apple has been getting a lot of negative coverage both in the press and on Wall Street.  I think that today’s WWDC keynote shows that the company can still crank out amazing products in a world without Steve.  I’m super excited to get my hands on the new software and start playing with it right now, but like many of you, I’ll have to wait until the September/October timeframe to get it.

Apple is in a great place to once again jump years ahead of it’s competition.  Oh, and if anyone wants to buy me a new Mac Pro, please let me know.  I’ll give you my shipping address.

For more information, visit the Apple website.