I haven’t had a chance to watch the full Keynote, but I’ve watched snippets and followed along with the liveblog. A few observations:
Steve Jobs looks and sounds bad. I’d imagine this is why the stock went down. It’s very sad.
I think he showed today that the company will be fine without him. Schiller and Forstall took up 2/3 of the keynote. I wonder if Tim Cook’s going to be the CEO and master of ceremonies, though. To me it just feels like Apple needs a product-focused CEO, no matter how good an operator Cook is.
ON THE CLOUD:
Today marks the greatest tech bet Apple has placed in a long time. They’re finally embracing the cloud, and they’re doing it all at once – music and calendar and files and email. I think for this to work, it’s going to be a classic example of Apple’s “it just works.” Most users won’t even know what iCloud is.
It does risk trying to be too much and too hard to understand. Each one of the components of iCloud could be its own Google product. I’m curious about why they’re rolling out all these services at once. I guess the idea is that in order for it to be a paramount shift from PC to cloud, it’s got to be an all-encompasing experience.
This is Apple on the offensive. With the App Store, there really wasn’t much invention – Apple went where the market wanted to go. But now they’re setting a strict, defining path for their future. Because iCloud is so integrated, if they do screw it up it could have huge implications.
John Gruber talks about Apple defining its cloud strategy for the future:
This is a fundamentally different vision for the coming decade than Google’s. In both cases, your data is in the cloud, and you can access it from anywhere with a network connection. But Google’s vision is about software you run in a web browser. Apple’s is about native apps you run on devices. Apple is as committed to native apps — on the desktop, tablet, and handheld — as it has ever been.
Google’s frame is the browser window. Apple’s frame is the screen. That’s what we’ll remember about today’s keynote ten years from now.
I haven’t made up my mind on that. Do I really see native apps in 10 years? Right now I don’t think there’s a comparison between the experience on a native app and that of a mobile site – apps kill websites. But there’s a lot of huge players trying to make the browser the primary computing platform.
Gruber’s last line about the frame is interesting. We’ve always thought of the cloud as within-browser. It doesn’t have to be, apparently. Intuitively, it doesn’t even make sense for everything you do on a computing device to happen within a browser frame with an address bar.
I just don’t think that we’re going to have to wait to install an app in the future. I think it’ll “stream,” just like music does on Spotify. I think that a lot of computing will happen server-side, whereas with today’s apps a lot of the processing happens on the device.
I do, however, see app discovery and onboarding as more like websites and bookmarks, albeit with a definitive inventory that’s browseable. It should be more lightweight and web-like. The bet on apps is very interesting – Apple has the market position to influence the course of things (at least for now), so we shall see.
That said, does Android v. iOS become about browser v. apps? Google could leverage its Android position (on smartphones and its currently non-existant tablet presence, which I think’ll be huge) as the vehicle for its computing vision. Android is still app-heavy now, but I’d imagine with stuff like Chrome OS, that will change.
I got iOS 5. It’s really cool. One of the best parts was unplugging the phone mid-sync too see that my apps kept syncing. I didn’t have to set anything up. Notifications are also awesome – as is iMessage. I think Newsstand will huge.
It’s interesting: today’s features satisfied geeks like me, but I doubt most users will even notice what changed. That’s the beauty of the system Apple’s designed. It’s deep for me and simple for my mom.