Well, there you have it. The WWDC 2010 Keynote has come and gone. The big news, of course, was the new iPhone 4. Additionally Steve Jobs talked about the newly renamed iOS 4 and minor updates to iBooks on the iPad. I’m not going to bother running down the features of the new OS, Apple covered that during the special event earlier this year. Nor am I going to go through a detailed list of the specs of the new iPhone. You can get a good run-down of that at Ars Technica. What I do want to talk about are my impressions of some of the announcements, and in particular, the reactions to them.
iPad and iBooks
There’s not much to say here. Steve did the usual song and dance about how popular the iPad is, and introduced some new features in iBooks including PDF viewing. There really isn’t much that I can say about the iPad. After a month of using mine it really is as transformative as Apple makes it out to be and the sales stats show that people get that. I can only imagine with great relish the anguish that that fact causes in all the iPad naysayers. Welcome to the new flesh mother-fuckers.
The App Store.
As I said in Twitter during the Keynote: pay attention bitches because Steve is being crystal clear here. Steve stated that Apple supports two platforms (actually, I’m surprised that few people noted that he omitted the platforms that MacOS X supports). The two platforms that Steve was referring to are HTML5 and the App Store. Steve made it blazingly fucking clear that Apple considers the App Store their own playground. Like it or not, that’s the way it is. And, based on sales, the proletariat seems to like it. Oh how that must chafe.
Steve segued neatly from talking about the App Store to talking about apps, featuring a demo of Farmville by Zynga, which was immediately met with groans and derisive comments online. This shows, yet again, how much the tech press and many developers are utterly out of touch with, and contemptuous of the average consumer electronics customer. For those who blessedly don’t know, Zynga is the developer of such time-wasting Facebook games as Pirates, Mafia Wars and the Keynote-featured Farmville. What do these games do? Precious fucking little, but the masses seem to enjoy them. In fact, one of the most common reasons to include Flash on the iOS devices amongst people I talk to are these games. Now, I think that these games are worthless wastes of time, but the difference is that I can acknowledge that I’m not a mainstream customer. The presence of Zynga on the iOS platform will be huge.
Jesus, where to fucking begin. Seriously, just go read the Ars report on the dam thing. Suffice it to say that the new iPhone is an amazing piece of kit. I’ll be buying one as soon as I can. Now on to some specific thoughts.
Of course, the white elephant in the room was Jizzmodo’s leak of the iPhone 4 prototype earlier this year. As much fun as it was reading Jizzmodo’s idiotic “Metaliveblog” where they re-created the experience of stealing an iPhone by stealing coverage of the iPhone announcement, overall their performance was just sad. What really jumped out at me was just how little those ass-clowns managed to reveal about the new iPhone. Even taking into account the fact that they couldn’t access the operating system, the things that they missed: screen technology, camera technology, the fact that the metal sidewalls are part of the RF antenna system, just go to show how utterly incompetent those hacks are.
I’m glad that Steve Jobs took the opportunity to point out that the race to cram as many photo-sensors into the tiniest chip size is a fools errand, and does nothing to deliver what consumers actually want, which is the ability to take better pictures. On the other hand, I’m utterly ambivalent to the whole front-facing camera FaceTime video-chat thing. Perhaps I’m wrong. Honestly I’d be tickled if I was, since the theme of this post is that the punditocracy doesn’t have the foggiest clue what real consumers want or need. I’d enjoy the irony.
Speaking of cameras. Apple just shot the Flip (and related hand-held HD video cameras) in the junk. I know that I’ll still carry my Canon SD960 IS with me, at least at first, but I don’t know for how long. I’m actually sanguine about that though, as it will give me the excuse to move up to the Olympus E-PL1 for my fancy-pants camera. What I would like to see, and there is no technical reason why it can’t happen, is a combination of iMovie on the iPad and a iPad Camera Kit that supports the iPhone 4. Now that would be my dream rig.
I’m somewhat disappointed that the iPhone 4 is available in the same storage configurations as the iPhone 3GS (16 & 32 GB). Coming from a 16GB iPhone 3G I was hoping to jump to 32GB and save a c-note. On the other hand, I’ve still never used more than 12 GB of my current storage, and won’t even use that much now that I have an iPad. Also, It is obvious that Apple put a premium on cramming as much battery into the iPhone 4 as they could. It seems like a good trade-off for now.
Since I wasn’t at the Keynote, I’ll have to quote Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng quoting Steve Jobs
Apple is not just a technology company: it’s more than that. It’s the marriage of that plus the humanities that distinguishes Apple. It’s the hardware and software working together, coming up with A4 chips that work with the software and give us incredible battery lives. It’s not just a front facing camera, it’s a front facing camera and 18 months’ worth of work to come up with software that you’ll never even notice when you want to place a video call. A complete solution so all of us don’t have to be system integrators.
This, more than anything else is what the vast majority of the tech press just doesn’t get about Apple. Apple isn’t going to act like Google, or Microsoft, or Dell because the way that those companies do business is antithetical to what Apple is. And, ultimately, there is nothing wrong with that. “Highlanderism” (it tickles me that that term has gained traction) is stupid. The world smart-phone market is sufficiently large that Apple, Android, RIM and whoever else is in play can all happily survive by catering to the needs of their users, not the other guys. If you don’t like the iPhone, stop your weeping and buy and Android phone. There’s more than enough choice out there for all of us, and the choices just got that much better.