iLounge Multi-Editorial: WWDC 2014’s iOS 8, OS X Yosemite + More | iLounge Article

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iLounge Multi-Editorial: WWDC 2014’s iOS 8, OS X Yosemite + More

Apple special events are fewer in number than they used to be, so we tend to get excited about the prospect of anything new and “keynote-worthy” when events are scheduled. Occupying two hours today with the announcement of OS X Yosemite, iOS 8, and a collection of new under-the-hood software development kits, the 2014 Worldwide Developer Conference keynote was exclusively devoted to software. Our editors had similar feelings about the value of what was announced, but different opinions about what wasn’t announced. Read on for our views in the latest iLounge multi-editorial.

Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief: To start with the positives from WWDC 2014, this year’s improvements to OS X and iOS look great. “Continuity,” Apple’s term for sharing everything from files to cellular phone calls between devices, sounds completely awesome — long overdue but impressively implemented. Why not let Macs and iPads take or make phone calls using a nearby iPhone? Why not keep working on an iPhone-composed email or document as soon as you’re close to a bigger-screened device? Soon, you can, and that’s fantastic. Along with related services (iOS-to-OS X AirDrop, improved iCloud photo synchronization and editing, object-based e-mail image/document editing, and 5GB attachment-sharing), the overall experience of using iOS and OS X devices is getting better and better. With Apple, you always know that your 2012 or 2013 device will do even more in 2014, which is wonderful.

But WWDC is supposed to include new Apple hardware announcements. Historically, it was the site of three major iPhone unveilings, the forum where Mac Pros and some MacBook Pros debuted, and also is a great opportunity to publicly bump existing products. Years ago, Apple had to pre-warn the press when it was going to focus a WWDC keynote exclusively on software and services. Apple has obviously changed. There’s been a drought of new hardware, and frankly not much to get excited about for months. Going into this event, we would have been glad to see anything new — an Apple 4K monitor or iMac, a 12” MacBook or iPad, or even low-power Bluetooth 4 Mac input accessories. WWDC 2014 effectively put the last nail in Tim Cook’s claim that Apple would be releasing “amazing” new products “throughout” 2014 — it’s now June, and there’s been nothing amazing this year. Even the software announced today won’t be ready for full public consumption until “fall.”

Under Cook, Apple events have become too infrequent, substantially predictable, and sometimes downright dull. The WWDC 2014 keynote thankfully had a happier energy and fewer low points than we’d expected, but also less meat and — despite claims to the contrary — no huge surprise just waiting to blow people away. Apologists will suggest that this is a developer event, and that developers were gifted with the new Swift programming language, Metal graphics technology, and various kits for health, home automation, and cloud content synchronization. That’s true. From a consumer-facing standpoint, however, the improvements Apple is delivering will be hard to spot for months. It’s unfortunate that there’s no amazing new product ready for Apple customers to play with right now.

Phil Dzikiy, News Editor: As an Apple user, I’m looking forward to both iOS 8 and Yosemite. The continuity stuff is very welcome — especially phone calls and Caller ID on Mac. For me, Family Sharing will be the most useful feature in iOS 8. It looks like a great solution to a lot of little issues that pop up when you’re in a family of multiple iOS users. The tweaks to messages look helpful, as well. How many times have you wanted to drop out of an annoying group chat?

As someone who covers Apple for a consumer-focused site, I really would have liked to see any of the new hardware rumors come true, and we expected to at least see a MacBook update. But nope, nada. I understand it’s a developers’ conference, but I wanted to be surprised — a shift in what’s become the normal Apple timeline would be fantastic — and it didn’t happen. I’d like to think something is coming before the fall. But that’s probably not the case.

Down the road, the biggest impact from this WWDC will likely come from the introduction of Swift — an opening of the gates.

Nick Guy, Accessories Editor: While the lack of any new hardware is disappointing, if not expected, I’m impressed by what Tim Cook and company presented on stage. He’s made it clear that OS X and iOS won’t be merging into one operating system at any point in the future, but this new software shows how the two can be even more intertwined than ever while maintaining their individual identities.

I see Continuity as the single biggest feature of the many introduced. Without towing the Apple company line, it really seems like it will allow people to work more efficiently. The idea of walking in the door typing an email on an iPhone and finishing it up on a Mac is appealing to me, as is answering a call from my iMac, or any of the other tasks you’ll be able to do. There are plenty of other iterative improvements that people have been clamoring for, like the improvements to group texts and widgets in Notification Center, and I appreciate those too.

Would I have liked to have seen new Macs, an iWatch, or an updated Apple TV? Of course. But when Apple decides to finally ship out some new hardware this fall, I feel that it’s going to be a big, big event. Without any big changes rumored for iPads or iPods, expect an event to show off a larger iPhone, plus lots of Mac hardware, and whatever else Apple has up its sleeves.

Jesse Hollington, Applications Editor: Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is always a bit of a mixed bag in terms of what to expect, and while the company has used it as a platform in the past to debut new hardware products, it’s often been at least somewhat developer-relevant hardware, such as the Mac Pro. While it was interesting that nothing at all was announced in terms of hardware, the OS X and iOS announcements themselves were certainly enough to make for a very full keynote.

OS X by itself received a face-lift and a couple of relatively minor updates, however Apple’s new ‘Continuity’ feature brought together aspects of OS X and iOS that should dramatically improve user workflows, making it far easier to seamlessly use both devices at once. ‘Continuity’ is a feature that addressed some of the minor pain points that many of us have likely felt when using both platforms, such as starting a message on an iOS device and then feeling it would be better finished on a desktop, or eaisly transferring pictures and files between both devices without waiting for iCloud to sync things up.

iOS 8 also showed a great deal of interesting promise in this area by itself, and this is the first iOS update that brings the platform on par with Android in terms of the “openness” that most users are likely to actually care about, such as inter-app sharing of data, and support for “widgets.” While it remains to be seen how readily these new features will be implemented by developers, Apple’s debut of its new development language, Swift, shows that the company continues to be serious about making the development path as easy as possible.

Readers, share your thoughts on the WWDC 2014 announcements in the Comments section below!

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Comments

1

Haven’t watched the Keynote yet (will do so soon) but from what I gather from the above is this—today’s event made “Continuity” from the user’s perspective a key theme.  That sounds very appealing and I’m looking forward to these capabilities.

But reading between the lines, this (buzzword) is independent of hardware, so even if Apple had hardware to talk about, that may have been a distraction from today’s theme of ‘continuity’ which will be enabled by upcoming software enhancements.

As much as we are all eager to see new hardware, and as much as Apple needs to hit some home runs soon, perhaps Apple left hardware out of the keynote to let software take center stage today.

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on June 2, 2014 at 6:45 PM (CDT)

2

I think OSX Yosemite and iOS 8 really are awesome. The features and implementations are simply phenomenal.

Even with no hardware announcement, this was more than enough.

With Family Share, Apple turned the concept of having profiles on iOS devices on its ear.

I have enrolled for the beta testing program and have downloaded OSX and have just installed iOS 8 on my iPad Air.

I have downloaded the Swift guide from iBooks and can’t wait to start working with it.

I am really excited!

Posted by Sreedhar on June 3, 2014 at 1:13 AM (CDT)

3

Really, editor-people, i realize you must all be gadget heads (iLounge is tops for iOS accessories/peripherals info and reviews).

but you really missed it today. went right by you.

us consumers saw several dozen very useful iOS/OS X improvements we will all enjoy a lot. ultimately, the quality of the user experience is what produces satisfied repeat buyers, not simply snazzy new hardware.

and developers saw about a dozen new options for their apps that they really wanted and can take big advantage of. so there will be a fantastic new generation of iOS 8 apps coming out later this year as a result, further delighting consumers.

this is all HUGE news in fact, and sets the stage very well for the hardware launch to come in the Fall.

you’re right that the new hardware is what generates mega media excitement, as exemplified by those long lines outside Apple stores. but really, you can only play that card once a year. as to the pre-launch hype build-up web sites love so much, the already-active rumor mill will generate a classic will they/won’t they suspense meme in the media (about the iWatch i guess) that will have you all in a frenzy by September.

just try to have some patience and not foam at the mouth too soon.

Posted by AlfieJr on June 3, 2014 at 1:21 AM (CDT)

4

@3: So the previously separate iPad (March), iPhone (June), and iPod (September) events with Mac releases throughout the year weren’t a good thing? Apple was playing too many cards throughout the year?

Just checking. It seemed like a really great strategy to keep people continually excited and spread out purchases over 12 months.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 3, 2014 at 6:19 AM (CDT)

5

From WWDC 2014 we have:

1. (i)OS updates including “Continuity”

2. no new hardware + a statement that the updated (i)OS will run on current hardware

3. the knowledge that Yosemite is that last version of OS X aka Mac OS.

I wonder if all this points to a truly revolutionary overhaul of the Apple ecosystem, currently just over the horizon? Perhaps a complete paradigm shift away from iPhone + iPad + Mac?

Posted by G-Man on June 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM (CDT)

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