With E3 2012 behind us (but still fresh in our minds), all eyes were turned directly at Apple’s WWDC 2012 keynote presentation. Usually, I just sit back and enjoy the array of features that Apple throws at me, but with the launch of #Random, I figured I’d take a proactive approach to the conference and note some interesting new announcements while giving an opinion on the presentation as a whole.
There were, as usual, an infinite amount of features and products discussed, from a new MacBook Pro design to new operating systems for both computers and iOS devices. But the biggest thing that everyone will be talking about is what’s missing: a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.
This honestly shouldn’t be a huge surprise to those following the rumors leading up to WWDC (it seemed clear that iOS6 would be the “big gun” of the presentation), but the masses still held out hope that something would secretly be unveiled. Like the general consensus on E3, those masses were left unsatisfied.
I won’t ignore that Apple did display some pretty impressive MacBook Pros on stage, and the Mountain Lion OS X (releasing at only $19.99) is a must-have purchase for me. Still, the feeling remains: disappointment.
The focus of the WWDC conference was on iOS6, the new operating system for iOS devices (iPhone 3GS and later, 2nd generation iPads and later, and 4th generation iPod tough). Some of the features are long awaited and greatly welcomed.
Siri has gotten a nice improvement where, basically, she is smarter. Siri can now retrieve sports scores, schedules, stats, and answer questions in a more in depth manner (of course, for sports opinions, we hope you still rely on #Random instead of Siri). We assumed this would happen over time, but it’s nice to see a “smarter” Siri demonstrated. Perhaps the coolest new feature of Siri is her integration with cars. BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda have all signed on to have Siri support in the next 12 months, activated from the car’s steering wheel.
A fan favorite of iOS 6 appears to be FaceTime over “cellular” (I assume this means 3G) instead of WiFi. My personal favorite feature is an addition the phone call screen. When you can’t answer someone’s call, you swipe up on the phone and can either respond with a standard text like, “Call me later”, or set an alert for yourself to call back the person later. This is a pretty clever addition, catered to those who can’t always answer the phone and will ultimately respond with a quick text. Along those similar lines, you can now switch your iPhone to “Do Not Disturb” mode, where your notifications appear, but don’t make a sound (I wish they had this before I switched all my notifications to silent).
One of the coolest Apps displayed at WWDC 2012 was Passport. It puts all of your online tickets to events (movies, airplane, concerts) into this app and allows you to have your phone scanned directly. This even applies to gift cards. One of the coolest integration of Passport is setting your favorite Starbucks, and having Passport alert you when you are nearby and able to use your gift card.
Finally, one of the most long-awaited updates comes from Maps, which will now feature turn-by-turn navigation. Included with navigation comes real-time traffic, gathered by Apple checking anonymous iPhones for speed and determining where the major slowdowns occur. If your route includes traffic, an alert will appear, offering an alternate route.
iOS 6 pretty much was WWDC 2012, but the crowd still wanted to hear where this iOS would be implemented. To everyone’s dismay, iOS 6 will release in the fall, rather than a few weeks like most expected. This obviously solidifies the rumor that a new iPhone or iPad (most likely, both) will release in the fall, but no new iOS until then. Oddly enough, at one point, Apple CEO Tim Cook did mention a new iPad when he announced that Siri would be coming to the new device. But that was where the conversation ended.
This feeling of disappointment was mutual across the board. Apple’s stock (which generally sells off at a big press conference) dropped approximately 1.5% at the conclusion of the conference, and the general sentiment stemmed from the lack of a new iOS device or Apple TV. The icing on the downer cake was the delay of iOS 6 until fall.
The truth is, Apple has so much to discuss this year (Apple TV, iPhone 5, iPad mini, iOS6, Mountain Lion, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, a perpetual motion device?) that it couldn’t possibly do it all in one conference. In fact, it was wisest to dangle the new operating systems in front of us, knowing that when the iPhone itself is released, the talk is all about the phone, and people will flock to make a new purchase, rather than upgrade the OS of their existing devices. The Apple WWDC 2012 left a lot to be desired, but that’s exactly the point. Apple left us wanting more.