Thursday, 6 June 2013

What Will WWDC Bring in 2013?

With WWDC just round the corner, I wanted to post about some of the changes I'd like to see from Apple this year. It's been turbulent for the company in the last couple of years, with many people suggesting that the magic has gone. Analysts have eyed the declining stock price closely. Customers had a poor experience with Apple Maps. Some tech writers even believe that the iPhone is no longer the best built phone, touting the HTC One instead. What can, and what should Apple do to fix this situation?


The iPad mini seems to have been a well executed product, but unfortunately behind the competition in it's launch. Apple needs to step it up again with innovation, and move the market forward with some bold new changes in iOS. We know iOS 7 will arrive, but we don't know just yet what it will bring. We have heard inklings that Jony Ive has been key to the design, and that it is potentially going to open up a little, but we don't know if Apple can still lead in design or manage a more open system.

iOS 7 needs to allow developers to access many more parts of the iOS platform. I would love to see the option to develop keyboard apps, widgets, and have some more control over the lockscreen. These are elements of Android that delight users, that there is no real reason for Apple to completely barricade against. As Tim Cook noted at D11 last week, they can open up a little and still maintain a solid user experience.


I'm completely uninterested in the desktop Macs, and I'm actually expecting nothing from Apple on this range. However, a MacBook Air update needs to come. Apple have rolled Retina Display out to the rest of their MacBook line, and the Air is the only one missing. It's seems impossible that they wouldn't announce a Retina Air with some boosted specs. This is arguably the most important product for WWDC - laptops are still the most important device for many, many people, and the Air range attracts a big fanbase by defining the thin laptop category, and Apple advancing faster than the competition consistently. We can probably expect to see an update to OSX too, but where Apple will go with this I'm not sure. They want to focus on services like FaceTime and Messages, and talk about how Apple devices form a really cohesive experience, and one that can't be matched without Apple products. This isn't true today, so Apple's got some work to do there.


We are least likely to hear about the rumoured iWatch, but it's high time (see what I did) Apple took a real stab at creating a new category. We know that watches are of interest to them, and personally I find the concept of an iWatch very compelling - perhaps more so than Google Glass. Watches are less intrusive that glasses, they are comfortable and lightweight, and already have some establishment in the form of iPod-nano-watch thingy-ma-bobbies. The only thing Apple has left to do here if provide an interesting UI with easy of use and clear benefits. They are good at this, and I would love for this to be the big announcement of WWDC.


The TV space is a complete mess, and I doubt Apple can fix it just yet. They need to bring together their great hardware with a bunch of difficult content partnerships. TV has a long way to go, and maybe Apple will show one or two things that might demonstrate some movement, but nothing game changing is going to come this year.