It seems like a lot is at stake for Apple with today’s keynote. Not a day goes by lately without someone predicting doom and gloom for the company…
“Android is winning!” (even though Apple owns HUGE majorities of the profit in every sector)
“iOS is boring now…” (even though almost every terrific App is developed for iOS first – try naming a non-Google Android exclusive that’s making waves)
“Apple has lost it… they REALLY need a big hit” (even though they’ve completely reinvented 3 major consumer sectors in the last 10 years and are sitting on $100 billion in cash)
“Apple doesn’t know how to innovate any more” (even though their two most recent innovations are responsible for the current renaissance in the computing industry.)
… that’s pretty much the gist of it. Truth be told, it’s just been a long time between Apple announcements (strangely so), with the last keynote coming late last Fall. Where Microsoft and Google bleed product leaks for press, you rarely hear much from Apple until they’re ready for you to purchase. That’s intentional.
With all of that said, here are some predictions for today.
You’ve read all of the news… Jony Ive has finally taken over the UI and UX design for Apple’s operating systems, so get ready for a lot of minimalism and graceful lines (in place of more playful skeuomorphic textures).
There’s also perceived pressure for iOS to catch up to Android’s blunderbuss of features; I think this is an oddly conceived goal, since I can’t think of a single Android feature that has caught the world by fire… their user base is just too fragmented for anything interesting to catch on.
Here’s what I’m expecting:
- New UI/UX – 100% – I’m not expecting the drastic departure that some are (a lot are wrongly expecting Windows Phone 8 style abstracts), but I think Ive will design everything to just get out of the way. The beautifully minimalistic WWDC banners should serve as our guide for the day.
- iRadio – 100% – Apple’s getting into the streaming game, but probably in a different fashion than everyone’s expecting. I would guess a significant free tier for iOS customers only, with lots of hooks to buy from iTunes.
- Customizable Default Apps – 80% – This just makes sense, especially when you look at the trajectory of the Mac; Apple doesn’t force you to use Mail there.
- Map Improvements – 80% – They’ll show off some novel new features with Apple maps, and probably open it up for OS X as well. Don’t expect them to make a stink about it this time though.
- Revamped Notification Center (with some form of widgets) – 70% – Expect notifications to be more actionable and the tiny little “X” boxes to go. Also, if Apple does widgets in any form on iOS, this is where I expect them to end up.
- Revamped Task Switching – 70% – Surely with thumbnails. I wish they’d steal WebOS’s concept of cards – probably the best concept out there.
- You Can Hide Newsstand – 70% – Because, come on.
- Better Photo Sharing – 50% – The workflow for getting photos and videos back and forth between devices sucks. Photo stream doesn’t help much. With their previous buddy-buddy relationship, a massive partnership with Flickr wouldn’t surprise me at all.
- Doubling Down on Passbook – 50% – They’ll definitely do this, but we may have to wait for the 5S’s fingerprint authentication this Fall.
- Siri Open to Third Parties – 50% – If they do open it, it will only be a little bit, and maybe only to a handful of trusted devs.
- Siri is Much Faster Now – 50% – Google’s voice stuff is SO much faster and more accurate. Siri is still more conversational, but she needs an upgrade to remain relevant.
- Siri Now Delivers Contextual Data – 40% – Apple has an opportunity here to one-up Google Now’s cards, but I’m not sure if that’s the game they want to get into.
- iMessage Includes Push-to-Talk – 20% – Seems like a natural progression to me, but it maybe not to Apple.
- iWallet – 0% – I think this is coming with their fingerprint authentication in the 5S, but this is an iPhone introduction style announcement.
- iPhone 5S Announced – 0% – Not until September at least.
- iOS 7 Available in Weeks – 0% – We won’t get it until a week before the iPhone 5S later this Fall.
I don’t think we’ll see anything earth-shattering on this front (because I think the desktop is nearly played out), but we’ll see some tweaks here and there to keep things fresh.
Retouched UI/UX – 100% – We may be a little surprised by how much we see here, because I think OS X is kind of a mess of UI paradigms right now. Some consistency would be a great shot in the arm.
Siri on Newest Macs – 100% – This will be the headlining feature.
Tabbed Finder Windows – 80% – Nice pro feature.
Some Awesome Sharing App for iOS Devices – 70% – Again, because getting photos back and forth right now sucks.
You Can Disable the “System Update Available” Notification – 50% – Because, come on.
iCloud File Management – 50% – Because its too abstract to understand how iCloud works right now; I think users actually WANT what Dropbox is offering.
We’ll see some new Mac laptops, and hopefully a new Mac Pro, but that’s it. No new iPhones, no new iPads.
If Apple did announce some hardware today, I’d expect the low cost plastic iPhone that keeps popping up in rumors, just to solidify the install base of iOS.
Also, mentioned above, some partnership with Yahoo! seems like it would be tactically interesting…
What Do You Think?
Lets open up the discussion in the comments below.