Monday, June 11, 2012

WWDC 2012 News and Analysis

iOS, OS X, and some new hardware

Monday of this week was the opening day and keynote from Apple's WWDC at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. You can read about the announcements in any of the tech publications, so I'll just list them here in brief and then move into what I think the implications of those particular announcements are.

In brief, Apple announced:
  • Improved Maps. Severing their map relationship with Google, Apple is rolling out advanced mapping based on their own development, with optional 3D views and turn-by-turn directions.
  • iOS 6. The next version of Apple's mobile operating system includes roughly 200 updates and upgrades, including a Do Not Disturb mode, better offline information handling and improvements to Siri such as ability to launch apps, post on Facebook, and work with popular services like OpenTable, Rotten Tomatoes, and Yelp. Developer release available immediately.
  • OS X Mountain Lion. The next version of the desktop and laptop operating system will be released in July for $20. Like iOS, OS X also boasts hundreds of new features including better Cloud integration and a set of applications that are optimized to handle retina displays, which leads to...
  • New computer hardware, including a MacBook Pro models with great specs and an optional retina display with a huge (2880x1800) pixel count. Other hardware announcements included updated Mac Pro and MacBook Air hardware.
What we didn't hear about (and didn't expect to) was a new iPhone, a new smaller iPad, or a standalone Apple television set. It seems very clear that the iPhone is now on a fall upgrade cycle (look for the next iPhone in September or October this year), and the iPad is on a spring cycle. There's no reason to introduce a new mini-iPad when the current iPad is selling so well. As for the Apple Television set, I'm among those that think that it is being developed and will be announced. When? When Apple can reinvent the way we watch television. There's no sense in introducing a conventional TV with a few bells and whistles. Apple will get into this game when they believe that they can change TV the way the iPhone changed handhelds and the iPad defined modern tablets. 

A fall release of iOS 6 with FaceTime for carrier networks, enhanced maps, and a Siri with car integration hints at what the next iPhone will be. Clearly it'll have 4G LTE, which we knew once the latest iPad was released. But more than that, it seems as though Apple has plans for a device that will extend its reach to play a very large role in our cars. More than just a map tool and a music player, the next iPhone running iOS 6 will be a device that acts as our voice-controlled navigator in a way that surpasses the best current tools.

What news from WWDC surprised you? What did you expect to hear, but didn't? What do the announcements that were made imply for the future? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.


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