WWDC, Apple's once-yearly platform keynote, and the biggest gathering of Mac and iOS developers on the planet, is over. Tim Cook has welcomed us and bid us adieu. Phil Schiller has shown us the most advanced laptops in the world. Again. Craig Federighi gave us a first and final tour of OS X Mountain Lion, and Scott Forstall pulled the curtain back on iOS 6. A lot of numbers got thrown around, and that was for the sessions even began.
But let's tackle things in order...
Tim Cook and Apple
Tim Cook was terrific. He looks a little older in person, sounds a little more southern, but his tempo, his manner, and his delivery are absolutely top notch. He might have been nervous at the very beginning -- it was his first WWDC as full-on CEO -- and he might have been melodramatic during the heartstring moments, but overall he was simply outstanding. He anchored the show, gave it both gravitas and emotion, and then, like his predecessor before him, he let the best executive team on the planet take it away.
And take it away they did. This is an Apple still recovering from irreplaceable loss, but also at the height of their game. They're doing more, faster than ever before. It remains to be seen if they can do it better as well, and for how long they can sustain it. If the answer is "yes" and "just you watch us", we're in for one hell of a ride.
Phil Schiller and Retina Macs
Where Phil Schiller was something closer to affable at Apple's last Macworld keynote, he's gotten better and better with each subsequent appearance. WWDC was no exception. While the upgrades to the MacBook Air were welcome if incremental, there was nothing incremental about the new Retina MacBook Pro. Bringing a computer to market that's that powerful, that thin, and with that kind of screen, is no small feat of design, engineering, and logistics. If you can't accept that, go ask HP or Dell to sell you their versions.
Speaking of which, I can't imagine the product VPs of any other PC company were happy that morning. They can't even make the MacBook Air from two years ago yet, and Apple has now lapped them again with the Retina MacBook Pro. As someone who desperately wants more choice and competition in the PC business, I'm begging them to get their heads out of their collective asses and to start investing in the future before they become little more than bankrupt relics of the past.
But back to the Mac. There were lineups outside the Market Street Apple Store every day of WWDC. Developers and designers wanted those new machines. That's a powerful endorsement.
I'll be getting one as soon as I can as well.
Craig Federighi and OS X Mountain Lion
Craig Federighi had the challenging task of taking over from the incredibly charismatic former head of OS X, Bertrand Serlet ("Redmond, start your photocopiers!"). He'd been tentative in the past but not this time. This time he was comfortable and almost charming. He has the same bent body posture as Bill Gates and Dan Dodge and other lifelong coders, and a head of hair to make Bill Clinton and Don King jealous, but he wore all of it with a big smile and a lot of style.
Mountain Lion hadn't been shown on stage before, but it had been previewed in private media events and on Apple.com. That means we already knew something about it going in.
Still, Apple had some intriguing additions: Dictation in lieu of full-on Siri, Power Nap and the ability to not only "just work" but keep "just working", new features for the rapidly growing Chinese market, and OS X and iOS cross-platform gaming, to name but a few.
Moving to a yearly schedule means OS X updates will become more frequent, but each one will be smaller. Like iOS, I'm fine with that as long as -- by giant leap or tiny steps -- OS X gets where it needs to go.
And no, that's not an inevitable "iOS X", at least not for a good long while. Apple's doing a lot to make OS X look familiar to iOS users, but their underpinnings are still very different.
Or, to put it in Steve Jobs' terminology: Apple is making sure the interior of their trucks are every bit as comfortable and well appointed as the interior of their cars. But they're absolutely keeping them as trucks.
Scott Forstall and iOS 6
If Craig Federighi has learned to walk the stage, Scott Forstall knows how to strut. The head of iOS, he's been presenting the new betas and SDKs since 2008 and he's incredibly confident doing it.
For those disappointed with what they got, or were expecting more -- frankly you were reading the wrong websites. (Hey, we even warned you about Maps, okay?)
Apple is dragging hundreds of millions of users behind their mobile OS now, and they're going to do it slowly and steadily unless and until they're forced to make a radical change.
Right now they're not and they didn't.
That's not to say iOS 6 is done and finished. It's still in beta, and no doubt iPhone 5 will include a few special features we haven't seen yet. (Maybe a new Podcast app and the stuff that makes it work.)
But these are the broad strokes -- Siri, Facebook, Shared Photo Streams, Passbook, FaceTime, Phone, Mail, Safari, Accessibility, and Maps. (200 in total!)
And tomorrow we're going to start deep-diving into all of them.
Unlike the Keynote, all the WWDC 2012 sessions were under NDA. That means no one there can really talk about them. For example, I can't urge any developer who didn't go to WWDC or to the specific session at 9am on Friday that needed to be signed off on, reportedly, by two vice-presidents before they could even run it. I can't urge you to watch it the moment it shows up on video in Apple's developer portal. And I can't say how fantastic it was for Apple to share that level of product insight with the WWDC attendees, or hope they do it again next yet.
What I can tell you is that we met with several developers and got their reactions to the shows, and some expert tips on using their apps, and we'll be posting them this week. So stay tuned!
And if you didn't catch Leanna's photoblogs, where she journaled our WWDC 2012 week day by day, go check them all out now. (You don't want to miss Seth Clifford giving Merlin Mann a spanking -- literally.)
- WWDC 2012 day zero
- WWDC 2012 day one
- WWDC 2012 day two
- WWDC 2012 day three
- WWDC 2012 day four and five
We also did two special edition podcasts that are must-listen (sorry about the audio, my mic died -- we'll get something better for next time).
- iPhone & iPad Live 298: WWDC Keynote and iOS 6
- Iterate 23: WWDC 2012 round table
Apple might be done with the announcements for now, but we won't be slowing down on the features. Keep your HTTP receptacle of choice locked on iMore. WWDC was only the kickoff. Now the fun starts!
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