Every year Apple’s keynote presentations, whether WWDC for developers, or various new product introductions scattered throughout the year, have one thing in common. Anticipation. No, not from the average customer. Most don’t pay that much attention.
For the rest of us we get ourselves all wrapped up in the possibilities vs. probabilities and no matter what Apple does, other than perhaps a $5,000 annual rebate per customer– because their customers are just so nice– we’ll end up being disappointed.
UPDATE: WWDC 2017 is no different. Here’s my early list of guesstimates and the actual results for each category (in italics).
macOS Bakersfield – Alright, we don’t know the name yet, but it’ll be the latest and greatest ever, unless you’re still stuck on Mac OS X Snow Leopard. This will be macOS 10.13. I know, it’s a weird numbering scheme that almost nobody but geeks and certified Apple watchers pay attention to.
The surprise is the name. macOS High Sierra. Someone at Apple was high when they came up with that name.
iOS 11 – I think it would be cool to give this a nifty annualized name, too. Like iOS Santa Monica. Whatever it is, iOS 11 will do more than iOS 10, integrate better with macOS Oxnard, and set the stage for the release of the next iPhone– iPhone 7s, iPhone 8, iPhone Edition, or iPhone X– later this summer.
Sorry, no iOS Santa Monica, but iOS 11 for iPad Pro has more differentiating features, including some nighty File app management options, and more onscreen multi-tasking, including drag and drop.
appleOS – We’re so wrapped up in new product announcements that we forget WWDC is for developers. Developers make apps that ron on Apple’s various OS versions, so look for some updates to watchOS and tvOS and perhaps an introduction to siriOS (I made that up; it’s not on the scorecard).
Not much noise about either tvOS or watchOS; plenty of iterative improvements, though. It’s as if Apple is polishing itself.
Those are the absolute scores for WWDC. They can’t miss. Take it to the bank. Here’s the rest of my scorecard for an event that doesn’t talk much about hardware but in 2017 needs to.
MacBook – The time is ripe for a thinner, lighter, faster entry-level Mac that goes beyond the aging MacBook Air. I expect faster Intel CPUs, longer battery life, and a $999 entry-level price tag. Yes, it’s OK to score a point or two less if I miss more than two.
Sorry, nothing thinner, lighter, or less expensive, but the MacBook line gets newer CPUs, including options for Intel Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs.
MacBook Pro – Apple just released updated MacBook Pro models last year and two things happened. Customers loved them and lapped them up. Critics and professional users howled in pain. It’s time for pain relief so expect Apple to have faster CPUs from Intel, too. But not much else. That includes no news about iMac, Mac mini, or Mac Pro (not due until next year, infinity, or beyond).
Nothing on the Mac Pro or Mac mini, but a sneak preview of the iMac Pro coming late in 2017– with multi-core Xeon CPUs, more RAM options, USB-C ports with Thunderbolt, and a Space Gray device that every professional Mac user can show off to everyone will now they’re cool and different.
iPad Pro – OK, iPads start at $329 but it’s for a design that dates back to 2010. Apple should and can and might double down on iPad Pro, slim the case down to micro bezel size, up the power capabilities, add more battery life, trim the price tag, and come out with a real keyboard. Or, not.
Close, but not quite. The iPad Pro gets new hardware; screen, CPU, camera, plus, with iOS 11, it will have better split screen options, drag and drop, and more. Plus a slightly lower price.
Siri In A Can – I like the idea but I wonder, well, “Why?” Google has Google Home but the company doesn’t sell much hardware. Amazon has a bunch of Echo-like devices that house Echo but doesn’t sell many of anything that talks. Even Microsoft is in on the act with a new talking device for the home. But Apple has about a billion of these already with Siri in Mac, iPhone, and iPad, but whatever. Sure, all we need is another piece of Apple hardware because we’re not completely poor and Apple hasn’t bought its own country yet.
Now we know the Why? and Apple downplayed how Siri-in-a-Can competes with Amazon Echo, Google Home, and whatever Microsoft wants to do in the space. Enter HomePod. Yes, it’s Siri in a can, but it’s a speaker can, packed with tweeters and woofers and microphones. $349.
Car, AR, VR, AI, et al – No bets on any of these extras because the future isn’t here yet. Apple Car is a no show. CarPlay in your car is ho hum boring. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are cool to demonstrate but don’t get used much, but everyone knows Apple is way behind on Artificial Intelligence so expect Tim Cook to trot out an Apple executive or engineer with a scared look and poor social skills– Kevin Lynch, I’m looking at you— to explain it what it would prefer to keep secret but cannot because nobody else is good at keeping secrets, or delivering upon their announcements.
Hey, today’s show was an exercise in buzzwords. Machine learning was everywhere, coupled with AR– augmented reality— demonstrations to keep the critics at bay. Apple’s been busy.
How did I do?
Not bad. This show ‘n tell was about the longest in memory, just shy of 2.5-hours, filled with six categories of product introductions.
- tvOS – Amazon Prime video coming to Apple TV was the big news
- watchOS – some updated applications; no new hardware
- macOS and Mac – it’s macOS High Sierra with Apple File System (APFS) baked in, plus new CPUs for MacBook, MacBook Pro, and a look at the iMac Pro with Xeon CPUs inside.
- iOS 11 – a dizzying array of goodies including Messages in iCloud, person-to-person payments, improved Control Center, and Siri has 375-million users (out of about 1-billion devices, though).
- iPad Pro – combined with iOS 11 makes the device closer to PC capability
- HomePad – think of Siri-in-a-Can of speakers and microphones for $349