Yesterday I was on the floor of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center listening to Apple’s latest at the first day of WWDC. Overall, the company delivered a big yawn.
I’ve said before that Apple Watch is a failed platform for consumers and developers alike and yesterday did not give me confidence in the platform going forward. I mean, new watch faces and animations? That’s what they came up with? We’ll see if the other functionality updates are enough for consumers but I am betting against it. Developers still are not able to monetize this enough to match their efforts.
Contrary to what Mr. Federighi said on stage, High Sierra is not fully baked. There isn’t anything awe inspiring that was brought to the table, no real enhancements to core apps, multi monitor UX or Siri. As far as payments go, Apple is a late entrant to P2P but will certainly be a legitimate player due to it’s massive iMessage user base. This won’t kill Venmo but it will push Square Cash further out of sight. There was a lot of missed opportunity with iMessage as we saw no introduction to proper bots or group payments, just some UX enhancement.
The new iOS update (11) misses the mark. The phone app hasn’t been touched since iOS 1 and Mail, Calendar, and Contacts apps are also lagging. Live tiles would have been nice. The iPad updates do not include multi-user support and it’s differentiation from iPhone doesn’t go far enough. There’s no real motivation for existing owners to upgrade.
While certain aspects of the App Store redesign and separation of games will be welcome among smaller developers, there’s not enough personalization. There’s no Apple Watch or iMessage sections. These things were needed to move Apple’s platforms with significant opportunity forward. I have high hopes for TVOS and the monetization that will unlock for devs on that platform. Homepod is obviously already behind Alexa and Echo (but priced significantly higher) and doesn’t offer a skills store or any skills. Now Siri can be useless without your iPhone!
Not everything was negative though. There were some positives which included Apple syncing iMessage to its iCloud platform. The ability to sign on to any Apple device and pull up your messages will prove useful. The new control center is also a welcome enhancement. It bolsters functionality while maintaining a slick and easy to use interface. I’m looking forward to hearing more here at day two.