Every year in the world of technology, WWDC holds a special place as it is a premier event from the most sort after company in the world ‘Apple’. This is a conference for the millions of developers who are associated with Apple and develop all the apps we love to use. As usual the conference is booked within minutes of its release. The stage is set and in comes Tim Cook and says “Good Morning” in his usual style. Tim starts throwing his numbers and goes gung-ho as to how good Apple is and how bad Google and Microsoft are. Till now everything is a carry forward from what Steve Jobs use to do and the buck stops here because from here what you see is all Tim.
Apple is not the same company any more which Steve left, it has changed as the core has shifted from innovation to consumerism and it evident in whatever Apple does nowadays. This paradigm shift is stamped on the entire WWDC this year. There is no innovation only refinements and copies. There is a clear pattern wherein you can see Apple borrowing stuff from not only their one time followers Google and Microsoft but also 3rd party app manufacturers.
In this article I will not cover ‘Yosemite’ the OS for Mac as I only talk about Mobiles and Mobile platforms. My concentration will be on IOS 8 which will be replacing IOS 7 this fall and the overall experience. Let’s start with the good point first
This is the strength of Apple, its ecosystem and it is evident that the company has really invested heavily on the same. The seamless transition between devices and equally smooth handover between Mac and iphone/ipad OS is beautiful. I have always believe that you cannot enjoy an Apple product as a standalone product, you have to invest in the entire ecosystem. Apples does a brilliant job in the amalgamation and people who are heavily invested in Apple ecosystem really can leverage this strength. There are 3rd party apps what can help you achieve quite a bit in this area but still you cannot compare it with overall experience of Apple’s products.
You talk of ‘Handoff’, ‘icloud’, ‘Airdrop’ everything helps in this seamless interaction between devices and OS. But everything is not hunky dory here, the moment you need to communicate outside this ecosystem it falters. I have seen so many cases where even small things like documents created on an Apple device do not work on a Microsoft PC. Apple has put in some efforts towards this aspect but still there is a big gap.
Look and Feel
Every year Apple invest a lot on how does the OS looks and feels. How seamless and easy can be your interaction with the OS. Apple scores in this department and is a strong point of the company. But off late Google and Microsoft have worked on this area and are not far behind. There are areas where Google and Microsoft are better than Apple and these are dangerous signs for the company. There was a time when we use to believe what Apple thinks today the world thinks tomorrow but not anymore. With IOS 7 my personal view is that Apple has taken a followers approach. Today all the three OS i.e., IOS, Android & Windows Mobile 8 look almost the same ‘FLAT’. Google had notification centre now everyone has one. Previously only Windows has a flat structure now with KitKat even Google has gone flat. What I am stating here is that everyone is copying one another and there is no innovation left. Do what the market wants is the mantra and there is no need to create a new ‘need’ which is so important to innovate and be different.
Interactive notification is carried forward from Android. Message getting audio and video chat sounds more like ‘We Chat’. Heathkit is inspired by windows sense. There is a new photo app but there is nothing new about it just add a little Instagram in it. ‘Ok Siri’ is now hands free you just have to replace the word ‘OK’ with ‘HI’. Shazam is integrated. Apple now has widgets on lock screen which again sounds so familiar. I can keep on going like this but you see now why I said there is lack of innovation, new ideas and trend setters. They covered the translucent transition, skin and layering of the OS in length but is that really ground breaking?
My disappointment is not because there was nothing to look forward to in the new IOS 8 as the OS will make life simpler. For sure it is much more refined and smooth and the integration and connectivity is far enhanced. The disappointment comes from the fact that we expect a lot from Apple. When Steve Jobs anchored the show every minute was an experience full of new ideas, new products and above all new vision and that is what lacks now in Apple. Sure Tim Cook is a great leader but his vision is more commerce than innovation. There is nothing wrong with his style of leadership, vision and direction but it is not the Apple we knew, isn’t it?