Even the most ardent Apple fan couldn’t deny that yesterday’s WWDC keynote didn’t offer much in the way of excitement. If chocolate sprinkles make for a perfect cappuccino, Apple just gave us an empty cup with a dusting of chocolate powder in the bottom.
iOS 12 has some useful features. The time management stuff
seems to have attracted the most mainstream interest (even though Google announced similar features last month), and the new AR-powered ruler app will be useful. But this year’s iOS update is really all about stability and speed.
Apps supposedly launch 40% faster, the keyboard can appear 50% faster, and getting ready to take a photo can be up to 70% faster. This is good stuff, especially if you use an older iPhone like the 6S, but a faster phone doesn’t get people excited – it just makes them happier with their existing device.
You could argue that given Apple’s success, it doesn’t need to excite people every time it holds an event. You could say that taking the time to make iOS more stable and smooth is brave, given how few headlines it will generate.
But big tech companies generally only have a couple of major opportunities to wow the public every year. They can’t expect the press to attend an event every month, so these large gatherings are key to setting out the big vision of the company.
No doubt, September will roll around, and a new iPhone will arrive that may or may not be exciting, and we might get new MacBook Pros and a new Apple Watch. But it’s all become a bit predictable, hasn’t it? Apple has a timing problem.
Yes, Apple needs to take the time to do ‘boring’ optimisation work on iOS, but why build iOS around these big, annual feature bumps and then disappoint people when the bumps aren’t very big?
Couldn’t improvements to ARKit have rolled out when they were ready? Couldn’t an over-the-air update have cranked up the speed of iOS without much fanfare, as soon as it was ready? Imagine if the fancy ruler app just appeared on everyone’s phones one day, rather than being built up as one of the significant new features of a new release.
Drip-feeding minor new features through the year would delight users more than trying to present them as something more exciting than they are.
What would Apple have shown yesterday instead? How about breaking with tradition and demonstrating something from the labs? A work-in-progress? Such tech may be months or years from release, but at least it would show Apple is doing something more exciting than its current product line would suggest.
“But Martin, Apple doesn’t do that – it only shows products when they’re ready that’s the magic!”
Tell that to your AirPower charging mat
. Maybe it’s time for a fresh approach?