As the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicked off yesterday, there were a few bells and whistles, knocks at the competition and one emphatic curse. CEO Tim Cook took the stage after a reflective video, whose style was, as simple and sleek as the devices.
His speech also opened with what’s become his signature style — a humble thank you and the citing a lot of stats: 24th WWDC, 64% first-time attendees, sold out in 71 seconds, 5-years of the app store, 50M app downloads, 900,000 iOS apps of which 93% downloaded each month, 375,000 iPad apps (“that compares to just a few hundred from those other guys”), 575M accounts — more accounts with credit cards than any store on the Internet — and payout to developers totaling $10B — half in the last year.
“To put that in context,” he said, “That’s three times more than all other platforms combined.”
Desks and Laps
They saved the big mobile news for last and introduced the new OS X Mavericks first — “the world’s most advanced desktop operating system.” The last version (Mountain Lion) saw 35% user adoption versus the move by PC users to Windows 8 — what Cook called a “struggle” to 5%.
The new “incredible” MacBook Air, with up to 12 hours of battery life, also debuted — and Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing said this device “answers the question, that in the age of the iPad, what will the future of the notebook look like? ” It is built with the new 4th gen Intel core processor Haswell ULT, which enables power savings.
Earlier Cook said there is a 72M installed base of Macs, with iMac being No. 1 desktop and MacBook being the No.1 notebook. He noted the growth of Mac versus PC (but did not address the overall market decline that’s notably been reported). Schiller threw out a “sneak peak” of what’s coming on that front, and also threw out a few choice words for critics during the unveiling.
The next Mac Pro — designed for “super users” who rely on Mac to “get their work done” is “not just another version of the same old desktop” — it’s a “new form factor.” He showed another sleek video and then proclaimed — “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass!”
Apple critics, however, mainly refer to a lack of mobile innovation, so while the Pro certainly appears to be innovative; it does not answer the detractors’ claims.
Working in the Cloud
Apple is up to 300M iCloud accounts. The infrastructure allows for iCloud services across many of Apple products (apps and devices), and Cook called the scale “mind boggling” citing, for example, 800B iMessages and “trillions” of push notifications.
Cook previewed iWork – Apple’s answer to Office for iCloud. While iWork started on the Mac, there are also iPad and iPhone versions, bur later this year users should expect “awesome” new releases. It lets you create docs right in a browser.
Apple vs. Android
Cook pointed out that Apple has sold 600M iOS devices, but quickly followed that up with, “but that’s not what drives us.” He repeated the Apple mantra illustrated in the opener about wanting to make the best products. (Of course, that’s easy to say when you are sitting on a pile of cash.)
More stats and more scorn for Android came next, as Cook claimed that users are, not just buying more Apple products, but they are using them “substantially more” as well — as much as 50% more than Android.
“This is incredible, but not surprising,” he continued. Mobile web shares are 2.5x more than Android and iPad is 4x more than Android according to Cook. CPG companies take note — iOS users buy more than all Android users combined, he mentioned.
With “amazing” updates, Cook indicated that 90% of iOS users are on the latest version of it, in contrast to Android where more than one-third are using an OS that was released in 2010.
Biggest Change Ever
Where was all this leading? To the next Apple system iteration — the release of iOS7. “This is why we get so excited when we are working on a new version of iOS. Because we know we can positively affect millions of developers and hundreds of millions of users,” he said.
Cook called iOS7 “the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iPhone,” cued a video overview featuring Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President, Industrial Design and received a standing ovation for “amazing new features and stunning new UI.”
Craig Federighi, Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering was then brought to stage to demo the system that he referred to as “new but instantly familiar.”
Federighi’s 10 Features of iOS7
This will all come to iPad as well. He said there is more to it than there was time to talk about, and did highlight one measly enterprise focused feature — per app VPN.
Control Center: Swipe up from bottom of device and there’s your settings in a “gesture” – available even from the lock screen
Multitasking: iOS7 is built on “ industrial strength” of OSX but with battery life in mind for multitasking for all apps; the system notices apps you use all day and provides background check to keep the app going and up to date; also performs “opportunistic” updates when device gets woken up and adapts to network coverage; it runs multiple apps at once and the user can now tap and move in and out from app to app rather than going home each time
Safari: Has full screen look to focus on content; one tap access to favorites; search and access URLs interface for tabs
Airdrop: “Easiest” way to share; when in any app that offers a share sheet, friends pics show up; you tap and then your friend gets a panel that you want to share; you can tap multiple people (Here he called out the fact that this does not require “phone” bumping — a knock to Samsung.)
Camera: Now 4-in-1; swipe from camera to video to crop to panoramic; features live photo filters and new photo app to manage photos which are currently unorganized; provides new ways to share through Airdrop and iCloud
Siri: New voice of male or female available in multi-language; it’s gotten “a lot smarter;” can play your last voicemail and adjust settings; it can answer more questions – now integrated with Twitter and Wikipedia, and brings web search results from bing
iOS in the Car- Siri can be used “eyes free” to get directions, get iMessages and dictate responses, play music and more
App Store; New ways to search for apps include age range and apps "near me"; No more update notices — auto updates are built in
Music App: “the best player we have ever done;” shows all purchased music from iCloud, plus movies and TV shows right in your library; includes the new iTunes Radio with set of featured stations, songs trending on Twitter, for example; create your own stations; keeps track of all the songs you listen to across all stations; built across devices (including “living room” with Apple TV)
Activation Lock: If a thief tries to turn off Find My iPhone, or wipes the device entirely, they will not be able to reactivate it because they don’t know your iCloud user name; “a powerful theft deterrent”
iOS7 was made available to developers on Beta right away; Beta for iPad will be released in the “coming weeks” and for everyone else, this fall. It will be available for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later and iPad mini.
Ive commented, “We see iOS7 as defining an important new direction, and, in many ways, as the beginning.” With Apple, there’s always allusion to more, and the market now awaits for fall, when it will be Apple season in more ways than one.
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