Post WWDC: Flying Supersonic with the Gear Down

Apple Worldwide Developer Conference reminds us that things move fast in the Apple world. Apple engineers have to work hard because there’s competition on all fronts. Products like the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, Apple’s new mapping effort and the Passbook app show that the world is changing quickly. Apple has to provide developers with the APIs, tools and technologies that they need to compete as well.

WWDC 2012If you watch the keynote, you’ll see that the plan, as always, is to show developers how they can delight their customers with Apple products. This is in contrast to the traditional PC industry where cut-throat pricing and a drive to the bottom of the market doesn’t provide the excellence and capability needed for modern customers. Or developers.

More importantly, perhaps, is the opportunity for discovery, unintended consequences and serendipity. For example, giving professional video editors a display in the new MBP such that a full 1080p video takes up very little space provides creative opportunities in a mobile environment that perhaps will change the game — for everyone. Jumping ahead with Thunderbolt and deprecating optical discs provides for notebook design opportunities that the competition never would have been able to conceive of. A good example is the clunky, thick PC notebooks that customers passed by in preference to the MacBook Air. Smart developers can create amazing things with amazing tools.

And that’s why we’re in a Post-PC era.

This potential for the future, the removal of obstacles and the enabling of technology in Apple hardware is what gets developers excited about their business prospects. It’s what causes the buzz at WWDC.

Customers, however, are often less sanguine about the blitz. They have to integrate a lot of new technology into their lifestyle. In a day and age when people think that buying a 3D TV means that they have to always wear glasses to watch anything (really) and don’t bother to back up the drive in their only Mac, it’s hard for many to keep up and digest it all. I talked about that in my response to the keynote right after it was over: “WWDC: Apple Has Jumped to Light Speed.

There’s a fine line between dragging our feet and jumping into everything Apple, head, hands and feet. Not everything that Apple does suits everyone. Ping is a good example of something Apple threw out quickly, and customers yawned. Accordingly, one of the things we try to do here at The Mac Observer is to provide guidance to help navigate through it all.

Some customers, for various reasons, need to stay with things the way they are, and some revel in moving relentlessly forward. Grasping the best balance, picking the right technologies that serve you and avoiding risky policies are all part of modern life. That’s why I wrote, “6 Ways to Outsmart Apple’s iOS-ification.” Apple is in big time competition, but we as consumers are not. So occasionally, there’s a refractory period where we digest, analyze, and step forward at our own pace. Other times, we’re gleeful and jump in with gusto — as with Siri and the iPad. We build to taste.

And so it goes.

There was a lot going on this week with WWDC, and not much other news debris worth mentioning. Especially notable are the WWDC interviews we do because they’re usually eye-opening. We’ll publish more next week. If you really want to know what it’s like to be a developer, I recommend: “WWDC: The Evolution & Struggles of a Small Developer: Ecamm Network.

Take care of your dad this weekend.


F-14 Image credit: Mike Shuman, via Shutterstock. WWDC Photo via Dave Hamilton, (c) 2012, The Mac Observer