There is nothing like a WWDC keynote, a two hour glimpse into the psyche of Apple, to provide a solid picture of what the company is up to. Observers may or may not like the personality of Tim Cook or the current product line, but last week's keynote illustrates how the efforts of thousands of Apple engineers have come to fruition. Again. That's always been a theme of the WWDC keynote, and it obliterated the Apple hysteria.
There is no better way to understand Apple than to spend a week at WWDC. The developer meets Apple engineers, occasionally some executives, and the breadth and scope of the company's initiatives come together in all the various sessions taken as a whole.
There was a time when key influencers, mid-level executives and government officials could just sign up and spend a week at WWDC and take the measure of the company. That's not possible nowadays with space so limited and Apple using essentially a lottery to determine who gets to attend. That's a shame.
As a partial offset to that, Apple streamed the WWDC keynote live. There's still much to dissect from that presentation.
While keen observers have dug into that keynote to analyze Apple, many other curious may have been a little bit overwhelmed and or confused by what they say and heard. That's why I wrote "How to Interpret What You Saw in the WWDC Keynote."
The good news is that this single keynote did a lot to inject a lot of technical level-headedness into the discussion about Apple. Instead of whining about various personalities, perceived failures to deliver products or other hysterics, we have a huge amount of material to dig into now. The repercussions of what Apple is working on provide a keen sense of technical foundation and lead to sober analysis of the implications. That's a very good thing indeed. And in a few months when there is great temptation for lamentations to begin anew, we'll have new hardware.
This week's technical news debris is a first attempt to pull together the early analysis that emerged. Let's dig in.
Next: the tech news debris for the week of June 2.
Tech News Debris for the Week of June 2
There was a heck of a lot of WWDC coverage last week to select from. Most notably, the public keynote started a lot of discussion about Apple's strategic directions, and that was surely the desired effect. Perhaps the best article I saw that encapsulates what Apple would like to achieve comes from Lewis Wallace at Cult of Mac. "Apple alters the future again — here’s how."
At WWDC, Apple sets about solving problems for customers. Often, that means introducing product features or services that have shown to be popular thanks to 3rd party developers but which don't quite fit into Apple's way of doing things. As a result, there are always some companies that are either helped or hurt after WWDC. See Eric Johnson's: "The Winners and Losers at Apple’s WWDC Keynote
There seems to be an emerging art and science to retaining and satisfying mobile customers. Of course, the whole foundation is based on various standards such as GSM, TCP/IP, HTML, HTTP, IMAP, H.264 and various broadcast standards. Otherwise, we'd never be able to communicate with each other. On the other hand, there can be great creativity in the user experience.
Because Apple got off to a strong start with BSD Unix and Internet standards, it knows how to leverage standards into a pleasing user experience and user interface. Some people mistake that for a proprietary basis and a lock-in, but it is, in fact, just personal choice by the customer.
It's like choosing a vacation hotel. They all have nice rooms with bathrooms, standard fixtures and lights, and clean sheets. They all have restaurants, fitness facilities and shops. But we pick the one that seems to fit our needs and personality the best and provide, perhaps, a unique brand of customer service and attention.
Seen in that light, the selection of Apple is hardly a lock-in because, as we know, people switch back and forth between iOS and Android devices all the time. What Apple does need to do, however, is to make that "hotel" always attractive and fun. With all that, I can turn to Walt Mossberg's "What’s Apple Really Up To? Keeping You in Apple World."
Dan Rowinski is an author worth paying attention to. I liked this essay a lot. "In A Change From The Steve Jobs Era, Apple Is Listening."
This one is a bit technical, but anything from Daniel Eran Dilger is a go for me. So if you want some background on Apple's new Swift programming language, here's a great start. "Apple's top secret Swift language grew from work to sustain Objective C, which it now aims to replace."
If you're new to iPhones, here a nice video summary of Apple's mobile operating system going all the way back to 2007. "A video history of iOS."
A good question to ask is: "What does the new software we saw at WWDC suggest about Apple's coming hardware?" Put another way, "What iOS 8 tells us about the next iPhones and iPads."
A second, even more comprehensive article lays out what might be in store for us with Apple hardware in the second half of 2014. The author has thought of just about everything. Will we get it all? "Apple's 2014 Product Roadmap: A Closer Look At What The Company May Release Before Year's End." It's fun to think about, but history suggests that we seldom get everything on our grocery list in the way we imagine it.
Now that the initial flurry of introductory articles has come and gone, the next task is to dig into and size up all those technologies. That's the real fun.
Finally, on a non-WWDC related subject, I couldn't neglect this next item. There has been a lot of discussion about Net Neutrality here at the Mac Observer and how it might effect Apple. And so I consider all that to be a satisfactory segue into John Oliver's amazing elucidation of Net Neutrality. It is simply spectacular, and you must watch it.