Apple's New Message

Many seem to have this notion over the past 5 or 6 months that Apple had dried up. Done. Nothing left to give. Leena Rao at Tech Crunch says "Apple Needs to Innovate and Evolve." Analyst John Donovan at Bluefin Research Partners said there was a need for inovation from Apple to continue.

Today Apple responded, and Phil Schiller said it best during his presentation of the Mac Pro:

Can't innovate anymore, my ass.
The keynote opened with a Pixar-esque video with phrases such as "We start to confuse... abundance with choice," and goes on to layout some design philosophies of Apple: defining what people should feel, it takes many "no"s to get to the right "yes", the willingness to start over, and only creating products that change lives.

Many end-users, tech press, and financial analysts seem to think that Apple has to do something drastic such as launch a new product category every few months. They've been spoiled by the recent launch of iPhone and iPad in fairly quick succession. Many seem to forget that Apple has been innovating since 1984. Just as Apple's opening video said - it takes time, and Apple isn't just going to put their name on anything.

Naysayers frequently point to Samsung and the abundance of devices they put out every few months. How often people forget that Samsung hasn't innovated at all in the mobile market. Sure they've made devices with larger screens, but is "Value Sizing" a screen innovation? Samsung doesn't use their own operating system. They didn't create a game-changing tablet to define a new market. Samsung doesn't innovate - Samsung reacts. 

Apple's message, loud and clear: be patient, and we'll continue to make great things.

WWDC 2013 - iOS 7, OS X Mavericks, & Much More!

Here are some of my thoughts and features that excite me the most features from the WWDC keynote. Definitely not a comprehensive list of features. For that check out the links at the bottom of the post.

OS X Mavericks

  • Enhanced Multi-Monitor Support: It's just amazing. This is what I wish Apple would have done when they launched Full Screen apps, but none-the-less, it's coming!
  • Reply via Notification: This just makes sense - reply right from a notification.
  • Tags: This feature got a lot of flack in the TWiT IRC channel during the announcement, but I think this is the first step towards a structureless file system. Much like the power Gmail users out there, such as myself, have learned - why put things in file folders? Just tag and search!
  • iCloud Keychain: This feature is awesome and just might bring me back to Safari from Chrome. I'll even consider ditching my LastPass subscription. The only thing left that would seal the deal would be a stand-alone Keychain app for iOS that would allow me to lookup various passwords and things from my device.
  • Calendar:  Travel time... i've wanted this for ages. It's contextually aware! Tell me when I need to leave, and pad the invite for travel time. 

iOS 7

  • Synced Notification States: I've been hoping for this feature since iPad was launched. It only got a quick mention, but I'm so excited to know that when I clear notifications on one device, they'll be cleared on all devices.
  • Push Triggers: Announced as part multitasking, your app will now be able to up-to-date when you open it from a notification. How many times have you opened Facebook or another app and had to wait for the app to load any new data? Solved!
  • Control Center: Quick access to the calculator, a flashlight, bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and much more.
  • iTunes Radio: I already pay for iTunes Match, so ad-free iTunes Radio will be by brand new Pandora replacement. And I can save $40/year on my Pandora | One subscription.
  • AirDrop: Looks pretty cool - will be fun to share things over wifi. I'm glad it's not a Cellular or Client-Server connection. Good move Apple!

Questions I Ponder

  • Did ringtones get the dramatic facelift that the visual aspects iOS got? If so, will my old tried-and-true tones be there?
  • Will AirDrop on iOS work with AirDrop on OS X?
  • What does Facetime audio do? You could already start a FaceTime call and press the Home key to make it an audio-only call via your data connection. 

Other Thoughts

  • I love the humor that was incorporated, especially at the expense of Scott Forstall, even though his name was never mentioned. The crowd was obviously pleased at the change in design theory. "There were no virtual cows harmed in the making of this app," quipped Craig Federighi as the audience cheered when the new OS X Calendar app was unveiled.

What excited me the most about WWDC? Phone Number and Apple ID Integration!

There was a big announcement that got little attention during Scott Forstall’s demo of iOS 6… the merging of your phone number and Apple ID for iMessage and FaceTime!

Currently if someone sends you a message via iMessage or calls you via FaceTime and uses your phone number, that call/message will only go to your iPhone. As somebody who uses Messages on both of my Macs, on my iPad, and iPhone, along with FaceTime on all the same devices, its hard to get all of your friends/family/business contacts to use your email address (Apple ID) as your single point of contact for email and calls. For the people out there that are not nerds, it can be very confusing!

Coming in iOS 6 it won’t matter whether the person attempts to call/message your email address or phone number, Apple is connecting the two together! Initiate a FaceTime call to someone’s phone number and their Mac(s), iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch will all ring; send someone a message via iMessage to their phone number and it will be pushed to all the same devices.

“If someone calls you on your phone number with a FaceTime call, you can answer the call on your iPad or even your Mac. And we're doing the exact same thing with iMessage.” —Scott Forstall, SVP iOS Software at Apple, WWDC 2012

I’ve found many blog posts of people wanting this feature, and now it’s coming!! iOS 6 will be avaliable this fall. To check out the other features of iOS 6 check out Apple’s website.


A First Glance at the Next Generation MacBook Pro

Jason Snell over at MacWorld wrote a quick, yet detailed, glance at the next generation MacBook Pro (w/ Retina Display). Give it a read!

One interesting note is that he compares the size of the UI on a MacBook Pro with Retina Display to a 15” MacBook Pro at 1440 x 900, not the higher res 1680x1050 that some of us might be used to using. This means that you might not have as much screen real estate as you were used to using…