Last week’s WWDC keynote contained an immense amount of information. It essentially summarizes an entire week’s worth of presentations into two hours. I won’t summarize it all here as Engadget, The Verge, and the many other sites out there already have, however I did want to provide some of my thoughts.
What I am most excited about is the underlying theme everything working together. It seems Apple has continued to think about ways to further tie their eco-system together, a genius business move all around but also an innovative one. I am constantly frustrated by the segregation of devices and the sheer fact that they just seem to exist on their own with now knowledge of the other.
The announcements of Continuity, Handoff, Extensibility, and a hand full of others mean we’ll be experiencing a more integrated experience soon.
While the Mac and the iPhone still won’t share a completely common code base(akin to some of the direction Window’s is going in), there’s already a lot that they share at their core. However iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite will include what Apple is calling “Continuity”. One dictionary definition of continuity is –“a continuous or connected whole.” Great I love when they use the root of the word in the definition so let’s go with a “connected whole” which is what Apple’s been converging towards for a while. It’s a single Apple eco system that allows all of your devices to function as a connected whole.
The biggest feature here is Handoff, which allows one device to hand off what you’re working on to another device with a similar app. The best example here is email, if you start typing an email on your iPhone and walk up to your Mac you’ll see an Icon in the corner of your Mac that allows you to open that email up in the Mac Mail app and finish typing it.
Apple’s also the ability to answer an incoming call from your iPhone on your Mac or iPad, as well as allowing you to originate a phone call from them. Other features of note in this category are the ability allow your iPad to automatically data tether off of your iPhone, and iMessage’s gaining the ability to SMS from your Mac/iPad.
Remember the day’s of Blackberry when an App could add it’s capabilities to the system menus and even other apps? Well Apple’s finally bringing that to iOS with Extensibility. Instead of just development time SDKs and APIs apps can now share each others abilities, and as well apps can add themselves to Action Sheets and define what happens when you use them from there. This is huge for developers and I think we’ll see some really cool app interactions in the future.
Bridging Your Family
Family Sharing allows you to define a group of Apple ID’s that all use the same credit card. And every Apple ID in that group are able to share iTunes and App purchases.
That’s right Apple’s acknowledge that your 9 year old now has an iPod Touch and wants to play the Smurfs game. After taking some heat for In App purchase Apple, in true Apple fashion, has come up with a pretty elegant solution. When a sub user (your kid) tries to purchase something it prompts the main account owner (that’s you Mom or Dad) and asks them to approve it.
Family Sharing also creates a family photo stream where an entire family can share photos and videos, a shared calendar and the ability to access your families Find My IPhone.
The Business of an Eco-System
Apple’s experienced an interesting product halo; people came to them for the phones, but stayed for the laptops. By adding these interconnected abilities they are creating not only a stronger eco-system but as well are increasing the switching cost to leave. Family share alone can have a huge impact on reducing a families app and media costs making it more expensive to leave (i.e. you would have to buy the apps all over again for each user on Android) but also makes it cheaper to join (you only have to purchase Angry Birds once on iOS).
Well notably they didn’t show anything about Apple TV. Sure we have Air Play already, and it works pretty well, but I am curious how Continuity and Handoffs could improve it.
What Am I Really Most Excited about?
Honestly out of everything above Ia m most excited about the raw power of Continuity and Handoff’s to tightly integrate my activities across all of the Apple Platforms. It’s been a long time coming and I am excited about the groundwork that’s been laid out for developers.