Thoughts on the WWDC 2008 Keynote

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Yesterday was a very interesting day for a number of reasons. I am still shocked to see Apple go the “Snow Leopard” route. I think that’s a terrible move on their part – although I am glad to see that, so far, there has been no mention of that being Intel only. I was also surprised to see the iPhone reduced to $199.

That’s an amazing price drop that will take the iPhone to a new level. In a lot of ways, it seems like that price drop may make Apple the “Microsoft of Mobile”. By that I mean that Apple could finally achieve the level of market dominance that Microsoft received with Windows in the mobile world. It’s a huge announcement – and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

There was something else going on at the Keynote though that I found very interesting. Often times Steve Jobs’ keynote are geek versions of a rock concert. There was still quite a bit of hooting and hollering at this year’s keynote, particularly when the 3G iPhone was announced. Typically these Keynotes move from one exciting thing to another, and are probably more entertaining than they should, but this year the Keynote was different.

This year the Keynote was kind of boring.

By the time all the developers were finished showcasing their apps, and Scott was done showing us the iPhone SDK again, I was completely bored with the entire presentation, and based on reading other live coverage notes, I don’t think I was the only one. That’s not a bad thing, however.

This Keynote focuses on showing developers what they can do with the iPhone SDK, and then giving them all the motivation in the world to develop for it by announcing a $199 iPhone. It was a good Keynote because it was actually FOR the developers – the target audience – instead of all of us watching at home or in the audience. It wasn’t a show for us – it was a Keynote for developers at a developer’s conference.

Those of you that may have been bored by it that aren’t developers or interested in development – GOOD. That’s the way it should be.

It’s also worth noting that Jobs lent the stage to both Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller for a large portion of the presentation. Just like the March 6th event. As Steve gets older it looks like they’re getting us used to seeing other people on the stage besides Steve. Sure, we’ve seen Phill on stage before, but normally a Keynote is a Jobs’ dominated presentation, and this time he was happy to let others do the presenting. It’s a transition that no Apple fan is looking forward to, but one day Steve Jobs will retire, and someone will have to take his place. I get the impression that Jobs is reducing his role in the presentations for exactly that reason, and that we’ll see more of that from him in the future.

All in all, I thought it was a good Keynote, and I eagerly await the release of the iPhone 2.0 software update.

What did you think?

Comments

  1. I thought that it was a good Keynote for the iPhone and the .mac successor.

    There is plenty to look forward to in July. The 3G pricing has just been announced in England and it is set at a price that is tempting for me to upgrade and perhaps pass on my current iPhone to my lucky wife!

    Me.com looks as though it may make me keep up with my subscription. The most helpful function will be the ability to keep my contacts and iCal up to date between my laptop and iPhone without connecting them through those old fashioned wires.

    All in all, plenty to be excited about.

  2. Robert B. says:

    Snow Leopard will likely be released along side an updated Leopard for non-Intel machines. It’s important for Apple to make the new processing power of multi-core processors available to programmers. Cleaning out a lot of legacy code makes progress towards full 64 bit computing easier. A new era of processing is upon us and Apple wants to have superior solutions for that potential. It can’t do this while dragging older processor designs along for the ride. Some new technologies will still make it into the standard Leopard upgrade as well; but the technical problems are too great to keep them together.

  3. I have personally never developed anything, but I found it very exciting to see the SDK capabilities, again. It was cool. Jobs-wise, I agree with you. And as I wrote in a different comment earlier, he seemed sort of sick and less enthusiastic than usually as well.

  4. As a software developer I feel that throwing more features at a product continuously is a poor approach to product development, especially if its the OS (just look at Windows). Apple has somehow managed to get away with this for a while now but I’ve noticed that the ‘quality’ (stability) seems to have sagged a bit in Leopard compared to Tiger. I’m glad that they’re going back to work on the quality. Leopard is still quite nice, but if they can go back and improve it under the hood, that’d be even better.

  5. The Wizard says:

    I liked the keynote a lot because they presented the right material to the right audience. It made me wanna ditch developing for windows using .net platform and jump to OS X and iphone development. It’s just so cool.

    Now about Steve jobs, I have some thoughts:

    1. He is ill. He had feeble voice, less energy/enthusiasm (compare him with MacWorld 2007 and the iphone introduction when he kept saying a wide screen ipod, a phone and an internet communication device over and over repeatedly with escalating enthusiasm.) I do wish it’s nothing serious.

    2. He is doing the smart thing by letting people who know better than him in their specialty do the talking like for e.g. Scott on Development and SDK matters, I mean, the guy is a Wizard.

    3. Steve is un-matched in terms of charisma. He is a man who changed three industries, the computer industry, the music industry and the animated movies industry. It’s almost impossible to fill his shoes. The question of who could and eventually would lead Apple after Steve is a very gray zone right now.

    Finally, regarding the iPhone 3G itself. I think that hardware wise, apart from the 3G radio and GPS, it’s pretty much like the first generation iPhone. So unless you need 3G and GPS you won’t find a reason to upgrade.

    The smartthing they did though was the price cut. Now you can get a wide screen video ipod with touch controls + a phone + an internet communication device + GPS for just the price of an ipod nano and with the same capacity! hmmmmmm. I wonder how would the market receive these new babies?!

    Yes Mr. Michael. Apple is the next Microsoft of phones and the halo effect of the iPhone would be a hundred fold that of the ipod. The next 5 years will witness a sharp rise in Apple’s market share in every possible aspect.

  6. I thought it was pretty boring as well, but in one month I’m not going to be thinking that. I think the major reason people were bored is because they didn’t get anything to buy that day. I think the best keynotes are when you actually get something new and this time we didn’t get that.

  7. I liked the keynote, it was better than the last one where all that was released was the macbook air. I’m really excited for MobileMe, hopefully they have finally fine tuned their syncing system so it doesn’t take forever to do. The Web 2.0 apps are really top notch too, I’m really anxious to try those out. They destroy those by Google and Microsoft, mail in particular.

    The iPhone I’m not doubt excited for as its finally in Canada (officially) I also like how on their map Canada was the first country they showed :)

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