The infamous annual Worldwide Developers Conference is essentially over with. And before we get into the details of the event, let me just re-emphasize how excited for this event I was. It got to the point where I also gave into the hype to the extent that I began the initial stages of attempting to sell my iPhone as well with the massive rumor circulation.
I woke up today with a ton of hype filling me with adrenaline and I fired up every live blog and audio/video feed I could get my hands on to prep for the announcements that had been building up in my mind. This is a quick breakdown of what what we all saw and my impressions.
Mac OS 10.6
Steve barely got started into his announcement before mentioning the newest iteration of OS X. The current version of OS X is referred to as Leopard. Steve revealed only more detail today about the next update that will be released next year. Mac OS 10.6 will be referred to as "Snow Leopard." Apple has previously mentioned that the next iteration of the OS will focus primarily on polishing and stability with the odd performance increase such as extending the software limitation on RAM to 16TB.
My opinion of this tiny tidbit that Steve glossed over was that it wasn't even worth the mention. There won't be anything to talk about in regards to Snow Leopard for another few months when they have made more progress and have something to really tell us. But it sounds very much like this release won't be anything brilliantly innovative like Leopard was from Tiger.
This is really what everyone has been waiting for since the initial announcement of the iPhone. The ability to develop applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. Today we were all re-introduced to Apple's massive undertaking of integrating Enterprise software such as VPN services, Exchange support and remote wipe. All of this in an attempt to attract more businesses to drop their BlackBerry's and adopt the iPhone. I'm not convinced that this will have any immediate affects on Businesses. But it's certainly a step in the right direction.
After the re-hashing of the Enterprise software that we heard last February, we were subject to endure a tutorial of how the SDK operates so well with OS X again and the like. Again, none of this was news. We had heard everything here last February.
iPhone Application Demos
After so much SDK talk and the tech stuff, we got a plethora of application demos. Sega was back to show off the improvements that they've made in Super Monkey Ball. Many speculate that this platform may give the DS a fair competitor. Not that I believe it has a chance in denting Nintendo's market share, but you must admit that the SMB demo is impressive.
Another interesting application that was demoed was Loopt. "There’s nothing like social networking on iPhone. Applications such as Loopt use location feeds to help you find friends on the go."
We'll get back to this later, but I think this may turn out to be one of the more exciting apps that was demoed today.
There's a bit more to discuss here on technical notes, but nothing that really affects anyone until at least next month when the App Store is actually available in the 2.0 update.
This was one of those really far fetched rumours that I wasn't really accepting of. Nevertheless, it did happen. The features of .mac have always alluded most Mac users. Including myself. Apple's last futile attempt at making use of .mac was the "Back to my Mac" feature in Leopard. This feature has rarely ever had worked successfully in many users, experiences including my own attempts.
It seems that Apple's latest attempt to make .mac useful is renaming it to MobileMe and advertising it as "Exchange for the rest of us." Not only is this available as an expansive web interface accessible regardless of platform or browser, it also allows seamless syncing between your mobile devices such as the iPod Touch or iPhone and your Mac. MobileMe will sync data like contact changes, photos and calendar dates in iCal. I suppose this is almost meeting people halfway with wireless syncing. It won't sync music, movies or other like medias, but it'll do just about anything else.
This is really something that I still find hard to get excited about. It will be available for $99/year with an online storage allotment of 20GB. There will be a 60 day free trial that I look forward to playing with. But I still don't think this is going to sway me. I can wait until my iPhone connects to one of my Macs physically to sync data. It's not like it changes too drastically in the few hours that it's away from my Mac.
At long last! The moment that everyone has been waiting for. Steve is on stage and he lets everyone know that in the first 6 million iPhones that they've sold, they have recognized several challenges that need to be met in order to "climb to go to the next level."
First up... 3G support. No surprise here. AT&T let this slip a long time ago. Everyone saw this coming. Steve talks about how much faster 3G is compared to Edge and how "close" it is to WiFi speeds. (Which is not at all of course.)
He goes on to talk about the Enterprise additions to the platform and then mentions what most of you have been waiting for. Making the iPhone affordable. Apparently 56% of the complaints of the iPhone were about it's price tag.
So let's quickly go over several additions to the iPhone 3G:
- 3G data
- new design (Thinner/wedged edges and an all-plastic backing. Available in both Black and White.)
- better audio engineering (Flush headphone jack allows you to use any - phones with the iPhone now.)
- improved battery performance
None of these features were anything spectacular or necessarily unexpected. What did catch everyone off-guard and lead to my biggest disappointment of the conference was the complete and utter lack of iChat announcements regarding a front-side video camera.
That was pretty much the only reason why I figured I'd be interested in having the new iPhone. However, there is one other feature in the iPhone 3G that Steve has not yet mentioned. G... P... S...
This provoked the biggest eruption from the crowd of the entire conference. Steve didn't even get to finish his sentence he was drowned out. If you had asked me a few days ago, I would have said that GPS wouldn't phase me in the least. But now that I look at the big picture, I now see how GPS will be the most incredible feature of iPhone 3G.
Again, I'll come back to this at the end.
Here's the most exciting news for the rest of you. The iPhone will be available in 70 countries in the next few months. More importantly, it's finally coming to Canada! July 11th. I'm still very disappointed that it took them a year to do it when we were here the whole time and they chose to take it to Europe first.
The 8GB iPhone 3G will be available for $199 and the 16GB will be $299.
That's pretty much it for the conference. Allow me to close with the new iPhone 3G advertisement.
I told you I'd get back to this. The thing that excites the most about today's announcement from Apple is the combination of GPS and The App Store. Applications like Loopt that offer location-based social networking is really where the future lays. Location based applications that will tell me where my friends are to meet up with them for a party or let me know how far away I am from the geo-tagged photo in my iPhoto library is really amazing to me. I'm not really interested in hearing a discussion on security flaws or privacy invasion with these services. I'm positive that these are opt-in services that ensure only people you wish to allow to see your location are able to.
I'm loving the prospect of The App Store. It's by far the thing to look forward to next month more so than the iPhone itself. Or at least, that's how I see it as I've been using the iPhone for the last year.
I hope this gave you all some greater insight to what happened at WWDC than Binks' post. Needless to say, I'm excited for what's to come. Though I wish I had more to look forward to.