Apple’s 2018 WWDC developer’s conference keynote presentation is history. I can only imagine the corporate management dog fights that go on to determine which new features or functions get displayed in the two hours or so of such a keynote.
I watch from beginning to end, took a few notes along the way, and came away with a insights, observations, and opinions.
High on my list is just how complicated and complex Apple’s devices have become. Yes, this was a developer’s conference keynote, but Apple devoted far more to to displaying Apple’s own software than it did developer apps, or developer tools.
Like it or don’t, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch, and Apple TV– and the software that runs on each platform– have layers of complexity which don’t come into view until they all fight for stage time during a big show. For a keynote which usually lasts a couple of hours, a whole hour was devoted to iOS 12, even though the next version is supposed to be about stability and dependability more than features.
Instead, the show was about, well, new features, including more eye candy. You know about Animoji, right? Well, coming soon we’ll see Memoji. Emoji made up of me. Me as in you and me if we have the latest iPhone models that support Face ID. Memoji will give users the option to create their own talking emoji with animated faces that resemble their own faces– but fully customizable.
My parents live in Peoria and no doubt in a few years their iPhones will be Animoji and Memoji capable but I wonder how such features will impact their usage. If at all.
Apple’s capable executives and managers outlined new feature after feature across each platform– macOS Mojave, iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS– and the first concern I had was, “Hey, this stuff is getting complicated.”
Who can keep up?
Apple plans to move the popular News and Stocks apps from iPhone to macOS and iPad. FaceTime gets group connections. Messages gets Memoji. Parents kid reports on their kids’ iPhone usage and new controls to help curb their own addictions.
Somehow Photos will learn about the objects in each photo to make searches for objects in photos much easier. Watch might have some fashionable watchbands but won’t have customizable 3rd party watchfaces to go along with all the new exercise and health functions on the way.
A few of the integrations between iPhone and macOS Mojave look great– screen and camera capture from iPhone and add to Mac with a few clicks, for example. Mac dark mode looks, well, dark. But professional. “Hey Siri…” leaves Watch Series 3 for a plain old ‘just raise your wrist and talk’ instead.
Those points do not even scratch the surface of what has clearly become an Apple problem worthy of concern and consideration. Complexity. These devices do so much more than they or their counterparts did just a decade ago that keeping customers and users apprised of changes is an ongoing issue for any company that makes money selling hardware that holds more software than any of us can figure out how to use each day.