Apple’s 2015 WWDC: The Good, the Bad, and the Meh
Well, we made it through another Apple Music event, or was it a Developer’s conference? I’m not sure, but the whole things seemed a bit confused and unorganized… Let’s take a quick look at was was Good, Bad, and Meh about Apple’s 2015 WWDC!
Apple Music (Maybe – We’ll have to wait and see) There was a lot of cheering by developers at Apple’s WWDC, so I’ll have to assume that Apple announced some wonderful things if you are a developer. However, if you’re a consumer, pretty much the only real news out of the WWDC worth getting excited over was Apple’s upcoming “Apple Music” launch, which, when you think about it, has absolutely nothing to do with developers or the conference. Apple Music is basically Spotify/Google/Amazon Music, but white instead of black and gray. I’m putting this in the GOOD section because I love and use almost every major music service, and would love to get rid of some or all of them if Apple Music turns out to be as good or better. I’m cautiously optimistic, but the run through of the navigation didn’t look nearly as intuitive as Spotify, and it will really depend on how accurate/ annoying all the recommendations and such are. I really did not see anything here that sets it apart from the other major services, except Beats 1 radio and the follow/stalk my favorite artists thing which I may be too old to care about now. Luckily Apple has decided to give a full THREE free months of the service to convince people to try it out, so I’m guessing they’re pretty confident. Also, their family plan (up to 6 accounts for $15) will personally save me $10 a month, as I am paying for 4 Spotify subscriptions currently. So that can’t be bad.
Apple Music on Android – This is cool. I’ll likely never use Android, so I don’t know why this excites me, but I like that Apple is finally putting its Apps on the Android store given so many of their apps are available on iOS. It shows that Apple wants to kill off the competition, wherever it lives, and can’t let Android be a safe hiding place for Spotify and other streaming apps. Can Apple Maps for Android be too far off?
Apple Maps is evolving – Speaking of Apple Maps, I love that Apple appears to be putting so many resources into Maps. The new transit directions are very welcome and may help me to get over my fear of the city. Probably not, but you never know. Will Maps ever beat Google Maps in features/accuracy? Even if it DOES, Apple Maps has a bit of a PR hole to dig itself out of, but I can see feature parity for sure (outside of the weird Google things like underwater and Moon/Mars maps and such). And honestly, once cars are driving themselves who will need ANY Maps app?
Swift 2.0 – This really was the big news out of the Developer Conference, or at least the big DEVELOPER news out of the Developer’s Conference. Swift 2 appears to be coming into its own as the programming language of the future, working to make both OSX and iOS apps. And what’s really impressive is Apple apparently snuck a fast-ball by the rumor sites by making it OPEN SOURCE.
iOS 9 – This seems like a speed update more than a feature one, which is still a good thing, but there’s not much you can really point to as a must-upgrade feature. Oh sure, there’s a built-in News App now which you may or may not be able to delete, but most of the news for iOS9 was tech talk about underlying frameworks and APIs to get developers excited, which it DID, and that’s great, but it’s nothing we consumers will care about until the developers do something with it. The REAL sign that this update is mostly a maintenance release is that for the first time a full iOS update will actually run on everything the PREVIOUS OS could run on. And it’s 1/4 the size. Oh, actually if you own an iPad Air 2 you can do split screen apps, and the Notes app can now have pictures and bulleted check boxes. Oh, and some iPads can put certain video in a picture-in-picture kind of thing so you can surf the web AND watch Netflix. That’s actually the coolest thing I think.
Watch OS 2 – Whatever. The Apple Watch doesn’t really need any features other than a touch-screen 6-inch holographic display. Otherwise I’m not interested. Any convenience/time saving looking at my watch delivers is negated by the time it takes to do anything on it. I could easily have taken my phone out of my pocket and finished the task in a much more enjoyable way in that time. But I am still a fan of Apple Watch development. I just don’t think I will care for 4-5 more years.
Siri gets better – This is going to be like one of those “No duh” announcements, like when an iPhone or MacBook comes out and it’s a little thinner. Oooohhh.. Yes, Siri will be more accurate, and it will be more accurate every year.
El Capitan – For better or worse, the next version of OS X is called El Capitan, and it will have a “split screen” snapping view. That’s about it for features you can easily describe to your mom. Sort of like iOS 9 El Capitan seems to be a maintenance release to Yosemite that will make search a little smarter, things a little faster… so… there you go.
Apple Pay – You can add reward cards to Apple Pay. Hooray! I used Apple Pay at a McDonald’s drive through for the first time last week, and while it was nerdy fun, it saved zero time over handing a credit card. Still, like the Apple Watch, I am a fan of ANY additions to Apple Pay, as that’s clearly going to be the future of retail payments for iPhone users. I like Apple Pay for where it is going, not necessarily where it is now.
Car Play/HomeKit – Ok… So I can tell Siri on my Apple Watch to set the mood for Dinner so when I get home certain lights will be dimmed appropriately. This would be great if I had no arms or feared touching my dimmer switch, or feared entering a dark house, or had my house set up for this stuff in the first place. Homekit keeps sounding cool, but ultimately keeps coming back to turning on lights and adjusting my thermostat when I am not home, which ultimately doesn’t excite me for some reason. As for CarPlay, all I want is an AUX port and a decent iPhone holder. There, now I have all the CarPlay features I care about.
The Weeknd musical performance. Not that he was bad. In fact, he was so good I could not tell if he was lip syncing or not… it’s always hard to tell when there’s no band and they’re signing to a track. But what I don’t like is that Apple treats their end-of-show musical guests like they are announcing a new iPad or something. It’s not a “one more thing” moment, it’s an artist 5-10% of the audience has heard of singing a new song NO one has heard while the media frantically types their articles. At least this was a “music event” so it made sense… oh wait, it WASN’T. It was the DEVELOPER’S conference.
All the speakers – My GOD. Everyone was disturbing in their own way. Iovine seemed altered in some way, like a distracted Paul Shaffer – Eddy was your cringe-inducing Uncle dancing at a wedding – Tim Cook still hasn’t developed a comfortable, energetic delivery… The only shining star was the first two sentences of Drake’s speech where I thought “Oh, charismatic and eloquent, make him CEO” and then that turned into a fumbling awkward um-fest as well. In all the show seemed unrehearsed and low-energy.
So, there you have it, the official word on what was good, bad, and meh. Please feel free to let me know how right I am i the comments.