Changing the Game

I don’t typically do WWDC keynote wrap ups, but this wasn’t a typical WWDC keynote. You can find all the details of what was and wasn’t elsewhere, what I want to talk about is the things they announced which appear to be immediate game changers.

Continuity

The ability to start working on something on your iPhone, and pick up at that exact spot on your Mac, or iPad. Whether it be an email, or web browsing. To be able to accept, and place, phone calls and SMS messages from any of your devices.

This is going to be huge. This is about experience, and this is the intangible part of Apple that competitors and non-customers just cannot understand. Syncing files with Dropbox will be cute, in the way that syncing files with floppy disks once was, when this is fully realized — this kind of a shift towards device agnostic computing cannot be understated. The normal user won’t understand why everything doesn’t work this way.

Touch ID

This is another ‘experience’ aspect, but opening up Touch ID to third-party developers is massive. Touch ID was OK when it launched, but now it is truly stellar. It is so fast I cannot understand how it is possible.

What Apple is trying to do is to eliminate passwords on iOS. Think about the magnitude of that for a moment.

Why do people choose shitty passwords, because they hate remembering and typing them. Touch ID obviates all of that.

It’s something no other platform can do, and Apple just did it.

App Previews

To me it looks like these will be simple videos in the normal screenshot preview window, but it’s going to be huge. Apple needed to clean up the App Store, but instead of getting more picky about who they let in, they are giving users the ability to actually see how smooth, how pretty, and how well an app works.

I suspect this helps bring the good stuff to the top much quicker.

Extensibility

This is a developer arena addition, but the ramifications of this one thing are truly a game changer for iOS. Apps can now talk and interact with each other. The examples shown (translating text, share sheet integration, notification center widgets, and custom keyboards) just scratch the surface. This is effectively the x-URL callback scheme taken to the next level.

As I talked about the other day, you don’t need side-by-side apps when you can talk to other apps this way. I need to read more into this, but right now: wow.

Spotlight

A lot of app launchers are going to talk about how they are still a good choice, but for most people the new Spotlight will be all they need. In fact, clipboard history may be the only main feature missing.

That alone is neat, but not game changing. What is game changing is that this seems to remove the need for Google to a large extent. If Apple can get the average user using Spotlight it could mean a big hit to Google. Spotlight can get you what you want, and do it quicker.

Everyone uses Google to find information on places like restaurants, now Spotlight can do that for you — and show you contacts appointments, etc — send it to iOS. It’s not only faster than Google, it’s more rich of an experience than Google could ever have on the Apple platform.

iCloud Drive

This is effectively Dropbox, with far better integration in Apple products. You can’t beat this — you won’t beat it. And it’s on Windows. People like to dog on iCloud, but I’ve been using it seriously since it came out and I’ve yet to encounter any major issue — or even minor issues.

If Apple can scale iCloud Drive there will be no stopping it — and I really believe that.

Storage Limits

An aside to that are the storage limits. Apple allowing up to 1TB, and as cheap as 20GB for $0.99/mo — companies simply cannot compete with that pricing. It’s insane.

Wild Cards

There are two other things that Apple introduced which seem huge on the surface, but which I also have my doubts about.

HomeKit

This is Apple’s ‘secure pairing’ to home automation devices. Nest was curiously absent1 but there were many other companies. The hardest part about HomeKit being a game changer is that it relies on third party hardware manufactures. One shitty product and people will be turned off of the service for a long while.

Apple will need to closely monitor what device is allowed on HomeKit in order to make this a big deal. With Nest out of the picture I am highly skeptical about the future of this. It’s going to come down to great hardware.

HealthKit

Like the above, this too relies on sharing health data with third-parties. Not only that, but it also relies on third-party hardware to collect the data. Effectively being a middle man for data.

It has the potential of Passbook — but as we have seen Passbook has yet to take off at all.

Lastly: Swift

Apple’s new programming language has gotten every developer all hot and bothered. I don’t program, so I can’t comment, but a lot of people see this as taking the development ecosystem and advancing it far out into the future.

Keynote Overall

There was a lot in the keynote — a lot — and the biggest thing to remember is that unlike other keynotes and product announcements: all this stuff is real. You may not get it today, but developers are already hard at work on it so that when you get it, everything works. Amazing.


  1. Joking, we know why. 

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Article Details

Published
by Ben Brooks
5 minutes to read.


tl;dr

I don’t typically do WWDC keynote wrap ups, but this wasn’t a typical WWDC keynote. You can find all the details of what was and wasn’t elsewhere, what I want to talk about is the things they announced which appear to be immediate game changers. Continuity The ability to start working on something on your […]