I’m sitting down at the end of the day reflecting on what I heard or thought about today at the Apple WWDC or World Wide Developer Conference. It’s my gig for the rest of the week! Lucky me as tickets are hard to come by. After this morning’s keynote I wasn’t sure if I was going to be inspired or not. I ended up in the overflow room – not the same feeling. The last time I attended was 2009 and the swag (a zip sweatshirt vs a nice backpack then) hasn’t improved. The after lunch session “Platforms Kickoff” put the meat on the morning session. I’m a lot more excited now by both IOS 6 and the integration with the desktop. This second session also pulled new faces (for me) off the bench. It provided a great look in on Apple passion. So what are my initial impressions and where I might be looking for the rest of the week?
1. iMessage integration: It may not seem like much. However IOS6 will integrate your phone number with your apple ID. And I’m sure that will integrate even more over time with iCloud. That means your messages are synched everywhere. More importantly, You will be logging on in the future to your Mac with your Apple/iCloud ID. That’s going to bring new personalization opportunities. Perhaps not this year – rather in the future. This is the stealth Identity play under everything. We are perhaps one step closer to seeing Apple integrate the Identity space in a more effective fashion. Compared to now… where I have to log in to all these separate services… from game center, to iMessage and FaceTime, iTunes etc.
2. Windows: More a comment heard from a large co IT manager while in line and then tested on a few others. Windows 8 is trouble. Huge learning curve. Most of our employees now have Mac’s at home! Most of our stuff is still on XP etc. When the business is going mobile, and the devices defining the human and customer behaviors and actions are mobile it’s starting to make sense to make a total switch. He meant turn the business totally towards Apple. Less to learn, easier to move the employees forward. From my own perspective the very soft Apple sell today on integrating OSX and IOS was in the you figure it out. This stuff just works and who knows… whether Window’s / Android will. Choosing Apple may be the lower risk choice – particularly if you have a large group of developers already on Apple. No wonder iCloud got the push it did.
3. Social Sharing API. Yes IOS and the platform update brings Facebook integration. It’s very powerful when tied to Gamecenter. Example you can like those games in game center and send them to Facebook. That means more integration with the iTunes store too. More importantly a developer can insert the functionality with virtually a line of code. As I tweeted. This will create a real set of competitive tensions between Facebook and Twitter (And perhaps different networks in China etc.). Which network will you associate with new apps? What new services can these providers provide? How will they help me manage my App portfolios etc? What can they tell me about my friends? Why? Simply all Apple devices have just become more social. Easier to share, built into the browser etc. Apple will have the best view in on “Social”. It will also change how you log-in to most apps. Twitter and Facebook just became easier than using an email.
4. Siri: I found the Siri highlights a little disappointing. A few more smarts re sports scores. Apparently it will open any app. I’m hoping still there is a session that goes beyond the demo “Open Temple Run”. Example Open Viber Call Friend needs an extra link in the API. I want to know we can instruct apps.
5. Video Stabilization: One demo that was amazing was the video stabilization that is coming with IOS 6. That probably means with the next iPhone. The video was from a boat following a boat. Totally smooth.
6. Maps: The 3D flyover view was pretty cool. Apparently Apple has had the helicopters out. The renderings are in real time and amazing. The maps session will be one to go to. The ability to bring this type of data into an app could lead to many new possibilities from games to research. Most of us will just be happy to have Siri telling us where to go.
7. Passbook: How about the location aware movie ticket that just appears or the starbucks card that is ready to pay when you walk into Starbucks. Perhaps this will be your company swipe card next? Nicely integrated to popup on the home screen. Is this one step away from the wallet? Add some NFC functionality in and there could soon be some new ways to pay. As an aside I’m surprised that an ID photo wasn’t provided with the ticket swipes etc. Maybe that’s possible will have to find out.
There were many other announcements (privacy, languages, face recognition etc.) and I’m sure more will come back to me as the week goes on. I leave today thinking – it’s never been easier to program for IOS and never more powerful. There are new opportunities and we are still just scratching the surface. The number – 80% of IOS users on IOS5 and similarly 80% of OSX users on Lion or Snow Leopard are pretty impressive. The iCloud updates will make that even more powerful.
There’s lots of ideas here and more emerging. 2012 may well end up as looking incremental – improvement on improvement. What’s probably important to Apple and the rest of us is: This group continues to learn faster about mobile and tablets than anyone else. It’s neither a copycat platform or one simply trying to catch up. You only had to look at see the Apple Design Awards presented this afternoon to recognize the continued richness.
My apologies if I sound like the Apple Fan Boy today. I came to learn about what comes next, and what new things can be built and infer some of the behavioral implications and how and where there are opportunities to create great new apps and potentially new businesses. I still have the question; What’s your mobile strategy?” in mind, however it’s shifting more an more to a more “personal” strategy question directed at the enterprise. I still suspect that most of the developers here cannot look at or talk to their business leaders at a strategic level about this. CEO’s aren’t sending their CTO’s or Evangelical Developers here to understand enough about how to reframe their business through the lens of personal devices. Solutions like Passbook will create new businesses if the developers get on them quickly, and continue to undermine the old.