Apple’s highly anticipated World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) always delivers a strong shot of adrenaline to the company’s software and products. And those upgrades were present in abundance at the 2016 conference.
In the past, though, Apple has sometimes used WWDC to introduce dramatic new products and services and address the biggest problems on users’ minds. I didn’t see much of that this time around.
Don’t get me wrong. Apple did what it had to do at WWDC. The company addressed many of its competitive shortcomings and product lapses, upgrading key components across virtually its entire product line.
+ More on Network World: FIRST LOOK: What happened at Apple’s WWDC +
The list includes lots of new features to the Apple watchOS (better performance, more comprehensive fitness tracking, and more), big improvements to Siri (including allowing third-party apps to leverage the voice assistant), changing the name of OS X to macOS (and adding a universal clipboard and other enhancements), previews of iOS 10 (with upgrades of Apple Maps, Music, Photos and News), and changes to tvOS, which runs the Apple TV.
As a (relatively) happy Mac and iPhone user, I’m looking forward to using all the new stuff. But none of it really seems to leapfrog the competition, and none of it would be sufficient to keep me in the fold if Android or some other competitor offered something dramatically better. More to the point, perhaps, if I weren’t already an Apple user, none of it seems to materially increase the chances that I would abandon whatever platform I was on and come rushing over to the Apple world.
In fact, the announcements seem to raise as many questions as they answer. Here are 10 of the ones I’m thinking about most:
- What part of watchOS 3 would be enough to make a fence-sitter finally buy into the Apple Watch?
- Is Siri now better than Amazon’s Alexa or Google Now, much less Microsoft Cortana? How well with those third-party Siri apps really work, and how much functionality will Apple actually allow them? And are you really going to sit at your desk at work and ask Siri questions on your Mac? What will your co-workers think if you do?
- Is Apple Maps now better than Google Maps? Is the new interface enough to make you choose Apple Music over Spotify, for example?
- Does anyone really care what Apple calls its desktop operating system?
- Do we really need separate operating systems for the Mac, the iPhone/iPad, the Apple Watch and Apple TV?
- Why did battery life issues—the one thing smartphone users say they care about more than anything else—get so little attention?
- Do you know anyone who actually uses Apple News? What do they like about it?
- Will people suddenly start using Apple Pay and leave their credit cards at home? Why?
- Apple iMessage improvements are welcome, but are they enough to replace Facebook Messenger and all the other extremely widespread messaging apps already out there?
- When, oh when, is Apple going to do anything to make iTunes less of a user-intimidating disaster.
BONUS: Are any of Apple’s competitors—I’m talking to you, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung—quaking in their boots after these announcements. (I’ll answer that one: I don’t think so.)
What questions does Apple’s WWDC raise for you, or did it perfectly match your wish list?