June 11. That's the date we've long suspected but just this week had confirmed. Apple's 2012 World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) is now official hurtling towards us (or us towards it). But it's not the only things going on this week, so let's get to it.
Apple announced WWDC 2012 at 5:30am Cupertino, California (PDT) time, less than 50 days before the June 11 start date, with a $1600 ticket price, and it still sold out in 2 hours. Many developers and interested parties had created scripts that would look for any change in Apple's WWDC website and alert them immediately. Others signed up for text message notification services. Still others networked with friends, family, peers, and others to keep constant vigil and light the web on fire the moment tickets went live.
Some got them, some didn't. No one seemed thrilled with the process. Probably not even at Apple. The list of problems are easy to identify -- too much demand, not enough availability, and a high stress, no-notice acquisition process. Solutions are harder to come by.
For gadget enthusiasts, however, the only real problem is anticipation. With WWDC comes Apple's annual keynote. In years past it's introduced the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4. Last year it introduced iOS 5 and iCloud, but no new hardware.
And this year?
iMore has heard that, once again, there won't be any new iOS devices this summer, but like last year there's a lot of software for Apple to spotlight. No doubt we'll see OS X Mountain Lion get it's first public demonstration. We should also see iOS 6, or whatever Apple calls the next version of its mobile operating system. There was no iOS SDK event like there was in 2008, 2009, and 2010, so just like 2011 we're expecting WWDC to see the launch of the first iOS 6 beta.
And that should be interesting to say the least.
Google Drive is finally here. Unlike Nokia Drive, which is a turn-by-turn navigation service, Google Drive is a cloud storage service. (English is funny, but not as funny as branding in English.) Based on how it's currently set up, it could also be called Google Docs+, but at this point I'm just happy it's not Google Play Drive.
And it's not bad. Prices are more than competitive and if there's anything Google knows, it's how to store data at scale. Some might have philosophical problems with the way Google monetizes all that stored data, but nothing's really free. If you don't want to pay with money, you're going to pay with access to your demographic and other data. Everyone has to decide from themselves what's a fair price and how they're willing to pay it.
Personally, I'm not switching away from Dropbox any time soon. While Google Drive is cheaper, Dropbox has momentum. All my stuff is already in there, most of the apps I use are already integrated with it, and Google Drive isn't better enough to make switching everything over anywhere near worth it.
I will add it to the mix, however, much as I did iCloud. Right now I'll use it as a big online scratch disk and see if anything further evolves from there.
A lot of that will depend on how long it takes the iPhone and iPad apps to ship, and how good they are. Sadly, I've come not to expect much...
Let's be perfectly blunt -- most of Google's iOS apps have been terrible at launch and haven't improved much since. About the nicest thing you could say about them is they make sure Facebook isn't alone in buggy apps from major corporations that should know better and be better. And I don't get it. These are two of the biggest, smartest, most talented, and certainly wealthiest technology companies in the world and they can't make a killer iOS app between them?
Indie developers, unimaginably more limited in resources, literally code circles around Facebook and Google when it comes to mobile. Look at Tweetbot. Look at Twitterrific. Look at Tweetie (before Twitter bought it). Look at webOS, which cash-strapped Palm put together on a shoe-string and a dream. Facebook for iPhone was mortally wounded when the original developer, Joe Hewitt, left the project and while it's improved slowly over time, it's not where it needs to be or should be. Not by a long shot.
Google has bought iOS apps (and canned them), Facebook bought Instagram, but neither has shown they have what it takes to transition from web companies to mobile companies. They're mobile immigrants, not mobile natives, and they're not enculturating well.
But mobile isn't just their future, it's the future. They need to do whatever it takes to nail mobile apps, and now.
Google has a chance with Google Drive for iOS to show us they're more than a wafer thin UIWebView wrapper and a terrible web-based authentication system. I sincerely hope they do.
Lots of great stuff to shine the spotlight on this week.
Speaking of the Ultimate Guide to iCloud -- we got a lot of feedback on it. It was one of the longest articles we've ever posted and for a lot of you it was simply too long to be manageable. So we listened and we made some changes. Instead of stuffing everything into one post, we've now broken it up into several parts. The main article is now an index and each section has its own dedicated article (many of which we'll be expanding on in the near future). Check them out:
Long week and they won't be getting shorter any time soon. Time to find another exit.