Apple is (still) on fire

WWDC 2014 — Possibilities

The 2014 WWDC keynote could be considered as one of the best in recent memory. Apple impressed their developers with a ton of new APIs, they delighted (power) users with new features while showing the future of computer programming in an Apple world.

First, let’s talk about the keynote itself. I’m happy to see that Apple keeps creating flawless presentations. On top of brilliant execution, Tim Cook was upbeat, Craig Federighi was inspired and rivalled with Steve Jobs himself as a great speaker and salesman. At this year keynote, the message was clear: Apple’s mission is to build an ecosystem based on devices, operating systems and services, all tightly integrated and working seamlessly together. No new hardware or product category was announced not even a single update and this is a good thing as this would have diluted the message (by having people complain about them and forgetting the rest).

The first subject addressed was OS X 10.10. My first reaction to the redesign of OS X was much better than the one I had last year when I first saw iOS 7. I really like the updated look. It is lighter and clean without going too far. Feature wise, Handoff and Continuity are the pieces of seamless transition of the user working from OS X to iOS without friction. I prefer this kind of integration between two different operating systems over the one size fits all approach of Microsoft with Windows everywhere.

Next was iOS 8 massive update. I was sceptical when Tim Cook said they were about to show the biggest update to iOS since 2007. This kind of statement is often overblown. That being said, many observers were expecting a feature oriented releases and boy Apple delivered.

Everybody will benefit from iOS 8 from casual users to power users. iOS never felt so customizable and powerful with extensions and custom keyboards. Power users will be delighted. The enterprise was also targeted with many new features in regard to MDMs and provisioning. In other words, Apple added a lot of features without breaking the apparent simplicity of iOS. This is not an easy thing to do.

I think Apple wanted to send a message to the most vocal supporters of iOS: the power users. We often look at Apple’s products as being sold to those who doesn’t want to mess with technology. But, power users play a big part in Apple’s success and feeding them with requested features was a good move (there is a yes for a thousand no).

I see people saying that many of the new features announced we’re already available for “years” on Android but the fact is I couldn’t care less since the iOS ecosystem is the one I’m investing and depend on. So I’m happy to see Apple respond and improve things.

Moreover, a first during a WWDC keynote, Apple spent quite some time on APIs and Swift, their new and modern programming language. I think this was a smart move on Apple’s part because after all, WWDC is all about the developers. Reactions to Swift is quite positive and clearly nobody outside Apple saw this coming.

With more than 4000 new APIs, iOS 8 packs a lot of new things but ultimately, it shows that Apple is still capable of pushing this platform to new levels in order to not only improve it but solve new categories of problems.

Finally, this fall, as users update in drove their devices and computers the Apple ecosystem will be completely transformed. We can expect a vast majority of users adopting iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. Apple has the power to augment their offering with whatever features they think will add value to the ecosystem and nearly overnight millions of users will be using them everyday. That is powerful and a real value in itself.

Yes, Apple is still on fire.

Another look at this year WWDC Keynote:

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