Apple (Nearly) One Month on From WWDC 2013

It’s almost been a month since one of the most hotly anticipated events in any Apple lover’s calendar — WWDC. There’s been a plethora of articles on the actual event, yet very little has been mentioned about what the WWDC announcements mean for Apple going forward as a company. In this opinion piece I’ll be exploring what some of WWDC’s announcements (and omissions) mean for Apple’s coming months and years. Read on for more.

Certainly in recent months (or years, depending on how cynical you are) there have been rumours and voices on the net of Apple running out of ideas and potentially losing their way. The death of their co-founder Steve Jobs only served to intensify these rumours. Despite this, in my opinion, WWDC brought a number of very promising ideas and new products to the table and attempted to set out Apples path for the coming months, if not years. Naturally there were some disappointing exclusions (I myself was hoping for MacBook Pro updates) but there were also a great deal of exciting announcements, from Haswell MacBook Airs to iOS7 and an all new Mac Pro.

The Announcements

Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, if you’re interested in technology you probably kept and eye on Apple’s announcements at this year’s WWDC. We were shown a new Mac Pro, updated MacBook Airs that promised significantly improved battery life and a radical redesign of iOS (the first since Jony Ive’s appointment as Senior VP of Design), but what do these updates mean for Apple going forward as a company.

The new Mac Pro is potentially the most interesting update for a number of reasons. For many years, Apple’s high end hardware received much of its use from the design industry and other creative professionals and the go-to device for many of said professionals was the Mac Pro. However, prior to the recent Mac Pro announcement, it seemed the Mac Pro (and dare I say it, Pro users) had almost been forgotten by Apple. It was still sporting the same outward design of the PowerMac G5 that was released way back in 2003 and had not had a significant update of its internals since 2010 (casting aside a minor CPU update in 2012).

The new Mac Pro could be a sign of Apple regaining focus on its professional users.

The new Mac Pro could be a sign of Apple regaining focus on its professional users.

I mentioned above that the new Mac Pro announcement is potentially the most interesting and here’s why: perhaps we’re about the see a chapter in Apple’s life where its focus on the pro user is regained. For a company as large as Apple, I see no plausible reason why they can’t keep each of their target markets happy — be that fans of iDevices, laptops or consumer and high end desktops. In an ideal world, Apple’s Pro software lineup (Logic, Final Cut Pro etc) could also be updated to go hand in hand with the new high end Mac Pro to really cement Apple’s new refocus on the high end user. But for now, by giving their Mac Pro a radical update I feel that Apple are certainly trying to make a conscientious effort at keeping their pro users happy and tempt those that moved to other systems back to the world of Apple.

As you may know, a key focus of WWDC was battery life improvements. The new Haswell processors offer significant improvements in battery life over their predecessors, and the move to lower frequency processors only helped to reduce power usage. I firmly believe this is an area in which Apple are trying to establish themselves as leaders.

Apple are trying to establish themselves as leaders in battery life improvements.

Apple are trying to establish themselves as leaders in battery life improvements.

With no new iOS devices announced, we can only speculate about future iDevice battery performance, but on the back of the Macbook Air updates I wouldn’t be shocked if future devices were sporting significantly improved battery life compared to current generations and that Apple’s efforts with the MacBook Air filtered through to all its battery powered devices.

iOS 7 is to some a radical update and to others a disaster. There’s been plenty of literature written already on iOS 7 including a descriptive article by our very own Nathan Snelgrove — Introducing iOS 7 . My own opinion on iOS 7 is that Apple had to come up with something so different. By handing over software design to Jony Ive and his team, they couldn’t very well announce a “more of the same” version of iOS 7 — it had to be a major change and that’s certainly what they’ve gone and done.

iOS 7 represents radical change in some respects and “more of the same” in others.

iOS 7 represents radical change in some respects and “more of the same” in others.

I guess this embrace of change is what’s important for Apple going forward, sure iOS 7 may take some getting used to, sure it may not be to everyone’s tastes but Apple have gone ahead with it in true Apple style and so in many ways, despite being a change of direction on the surface (by that I mean the way it looks), the fact that they’ve adopted a true Apple “like it or leave it” approach means that they’re still sticking by their roots.

The Omissions

What about the WWDC omissions? Could these show a glimpse of what Apple has planned for the future?

A popular rumour leading up to WWDC 2013 was the unveiling of some sort of wearable device or iWatch. Some believed it would come and others thought it was a pipe dream. Despite there being no mention of such a device at WWDC, the fact that Tim Cook takes a personal interest in the idea coupled with Apple’s trademarking of the term iWatch means that wearable hardware from the Cupertino firm could well be around the corner. Apple’s current marketing emphasis on the merging of design and functionality would make a wearable device more feasible, providing it was executed properly.

No new iPhone or iPad models were announced at this year’s conference and that could, on the surface look, for the moment at least, like Apple’s attempt at focusing on their pro user may have taken precedent. However, if you read between the lines, it’s more than likely that new iDevices will be released later this year alongside iOS 7’s release. After all, iDevice sales now account for a much larger proportion of Apple’s revenue than Macs.

As for MacBook Pro updates, I think Apple was prudent in not updating the Retina machines, especially considering that an update only occurred in February of this year. As for the non retina MacBook Pro, I feel the lack of an update clearly shows that Apple’s path over the coming months will be to squeeze the non-Retina machine out of its lineup, keeping the non-Retina MacBook Air as its lower end portable and cementing the retina MacBook Pro as their true high end line of laptops, worthy of the name “MacBook Pro”.

Conclusion

As is often the case with opinion pieces, much of what has been said in the above you may disagree with. Some of my predictions on the path that Apple may now be taking will likely turn out to be incorrect. With Apple, surprises are often aplenty.

Do you think WWDC 2013 marked a change in the path Apple are taking as a company? Were you disappointed or thrilled with the announcements? What do you expect to come out of Cupertino in the coming months? Let us know in the comments below.


Comments are closed.