Blog headline image

Guess who got the big hand?

June 13th, 2013 by ‐ No Comments

Apple WWDC logoThe coverage on this year’s WWDC keynote was as hyped as every year. Here are some links to comments we found interesting, and our own two cents.

And who did of course get the big hand? Sir Jony Ive sitting on the front row and bursting with pride over his iOS 7 relaunch design.

Anyone who feared that Apple might loose some of its lustre and innovation power? Boy, were they wrong. This was a very strong show and we presume AAPL will be surging again. Even Tim Cook seemed more relaxed and comfortable on the stage. Of course he will likely be benefiting from practicing and coaching, but I think I would also have felt uncomfortable presenting iPhone 5 back then. This time he had a much better deck on his hand.

Daring Fireball, our favourite blog when it comes to putting things (back) into perspective, links a few cool posts on this year’s WWDC. We suggest you start with Brian Lam’s “All the Apple News (In Brief)” as an executive summary. The next two articles we’d like to draw your attention to are Frank Chimero’s “Generosity of Perspective”, a thoughtful critique of iOS 7, and Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan’s “iOS 7: Instead of Flatness, We Got Depth”, an sharp and smart take on iOS 7’s new design. Nothing to add to these assessments. Full stop.

Our own observations? Technically, i.e. in terms of airtime and new features introduced, Mavericks and iOS 7 were pretty much at par, if not with a slight advantage for OS X. The changes for multiple screens in Finder, Spaces and Mission Control, and the battery life improvements are enormous mountains of code updates and probably affect way larger parts of the code we all might dare to imagine. We hence think that Mavericks will be a substantial, deep reaching update to OS X.

Many changes in iOS 7 on the other hand seem technically less disruptive. From a developer’s perspective, a third or so of the touted new features are updates to the UI and bundled apps. These don’t affect the OS’s foundation. Another third of the updates seems to live on Apple’s server farms (Siri, localised app recommendations, and iTunes Radio). But then, we don’t have the full picture yet.

What struck us, apart from what everybody else has been commenting:

  • comparing photos icon and picasa logoThe new iOS 7 Photos app icon reminds us of Picasa. This could mean nothing, or that Picasa is Sir Jony’s favourite photo site, or hint to an imminent acquisition, or the intention was just to resemble a RAL colour fan. Pick your favourite guess, or make up your own.
  • design_layersIs there more to iOS 7’s home screen 3D effect than eye candy and “Wow!”? Of course it contributes to the new use of the depth metaphor etc. But move-to-change-perspective, together with past rumours about the potential use of curved glass could be hinting to a more pebble-ish design of future iPhone models in which not only the back, but also the front is curved. Examples see here, here, and our favourite concept design. Think about this: LCD panels will not be able to be made in a curved shape for some time. And with curved glass atop a flat display you will need a way of supporting the curved surface illusion, and at the same time figure out where in this 3D world the tap gesture happened. The new 3D home screen effect plays in exactly this league.
  • icon_tagsFinder tags. Duh. Seems like “we couldn’t figure out how to improve Spotlight, so you’ll have to do it all by hand.” Sorry folks, I’m not going to tag my 30,000+ photos and 10,000+ documents manually. Not even by dragging them onto the tags in the sidebar. Never. Apple engineers, please keep working on Spotlight instead. It’s great, and it deserves your attention.
  • icon_icloud_keychainiCloud Keychain: maybe Mobile Me wasn’t that bad of an idea in the first place, and it was only the implementation that sucked was problematic? I think this will however not eliminate the need for a stand-alone password vault. Or would you set up your iCloud on a Mac in an Internet café just to get passwords filled in for you?