In general I thought WWDC was pretty lack luster. To be clear I also think MSBuild and Google I/O were also pretty lack luster. We are in some form of a lull right now in the tech industry. It is apparent Machine Learning is here to stay and there are a few different approaches between the big three right now. Augmented Reality is also here to stay but there needs to be better hardware to the market to make it a reality. The platforms continue to advance though. So what are my take aways from Apple’s presentation?
Well My first thought is iOS is stabilizing, watchOS is maturing, tvOS is growing, and macOS is getting more iOS like sprinkles on the top. The one thing Apple truly has over the competition is a unified platform. The seamless ways everything works together is a great selling point. The demos of taking a photo leveraging your iPhone to put a picture into a presentation or document shows how you can leverage your tools together. There really isn’t any way Windows or Google can approach this today due to the scattered nature of their experiences.
It was very interesting seeing Apple start off by talking about ARKit 2. I didn’t really expect that out of the gate. I would have expected more talk about other features like Siri Shortcuts or Machine Learning to keep up with the Google Factory. I still have a strong belief that Apple will solve the hardware problem through an accessory glasses that leverages wireless communication to your phone as the brain. We will have to wait and see though. To bad they are not showing any early hardware even yet. I don’t think the right approach is holding an iPad up to use it for AR.
Apple’s other big push I thought was note worthy is their continued pressure on being the platform for privacy. Apple can ride this for quite a while. Even their Machine Learning strategy is unique and focused primarily on device. Time will tell if they can continue to push their Machine learning platform. I’m hoping to get some time with it soon to see what it can actually do versus the other platforms.
Siri Shortcuts brings some options to the table to really allow App developers the opportunity to create new unique experiences, while putting the power in the hands of the users to do their own automation. I can’t wait to play with that either but I need to get another device to use so I have a primary device that is not running a developer build.
The rest of the presentations around animojis and memojis while entertaining don’t seem like something I want to use daily. Even FaceTime updates don’t scream out to me. My best hope now is new hardware later this year for the platform although I don’t think we will see much for Macs only iPad updates.
So earlier this week Google had their “Made by Google” event. I figured I would put down in writing my thoughts on the event and where Google is going. This post will be focusing on the transformation that Google is starting to go through. I also plan a post on the Pixel itself as well as Daydream but that will be a different post.
I’ve seen a number of posts floating around the internet that “Google is becoming Apple”. Seems like a bit of click bait to me. Google is by no means becoming Apple. They don’t fully control the Android ecosystem. What they are acting like is Microsoft. Let that sync in for a bit…..
With this event Google announced their first fully designed by Google Phone. HTC happens to manufacture it but that is no different than the iPhone which is primarily built by Foxconn. Like Microsoft though Google will be competing not only against Apple but also against OEM’s that utilize the Android operating system. This to me is no different then Microsoft and they Surface Pro and Surface Book.
Apple is a pure Hardware company that controls its full ecosystem which Google will not be able to do with Android since they open sourced it. Google will never be a hardware company full stop. Their primary focus is on their Ad networks and they Google Play ecosystem. Apple is not and probably never will be at that scale. Apple will continue to be a hardware company for years to come, while Google will be a services company with hardware and OEM vendors.
A lot of the event was talking about Google Assistant and AI in general. This play is very similar to Microsoft. At Microsoft Ignite Satya Nadella spoke about “democratizing AI”. Both Google and Microsoft have their own AI plays going on. Microsoft is approaching it with their Cortana Assistant while Google has built their own as well. Machine Learning and Deep Learning are being attacked directly by both Microsoft and Google. This is not a place Apple has done really well in. I personally use an iPhone and iPad but Siri is not as intelligent as either Cortana or Google’s platforms.
Apple really is a hardware not software company. Just look at iTunes… They do great things with hardware but in the software world they just are not there. Google on the other hand is very well versed in software just like Microsoft. Both Microsoft and Google play in opensource quite a bit as well. Some can say Apple is going there with Swift, but it is still very early where Google and Microsoft have very mature software platforms.
Google is becoming Microsoft as much as Microsoft is becoming Google. The moves I’ve seen Microsoft in their new dedications to open source is much more of a Google style play. They are focused themselves on being a Cloud based company on every platform. Even Google does this with their applications on iOS. It is clear to me that Microsoft and Google are in a different category then Apple. I hope people stop comparing Google to Apple as they are two completely different things. I have no problem though with compairing Microsoft and Google.
Do you have some thoughts on this? If so reply and share your thoughts. Have a blog about it share a link as well. I’d love to hear what others are thinking.
So I’ve added an iPad Pro to my portfolio of mobile devices. I decided to get the 128 GB LTE model since I really feel I need internet everywhere I am. I haven’t ever had an iPad without cellular data of some kind.
My first impression when opening up the iPad Pro box was “DAMN this thing is HUGE”. It is a really large device. I really started to fear I made the wrong decision by buying it without using it first. That first impression washed away in a matter of a couple hours. It definitely is a different device. I have an iPad Air 2 as well I have used iPad Minis. They all seem to have their own place.
My planned usage is both productivity and creative. I’d like to be able to use the iPad Pro on the road for photography as well as some limited productivity like coding via SSH sessions. That being said I’m currently writing this post on the iPad Pro.
The best iOS 9 feature that seems to really excel on the iPad Pro is multi-tasking. I thought multi-tasking was great on the iPad Air 2, but man the iPad Pro screen really shows off the power.
Multi-tasking on the iPad Pro
The screenshot above is my layout with Safari, Apple Notes, and watching a podcast all at the same time. I feel like I actually have two iPads when I’m multi-tasking on the iPad Air 2. Some may ask why not just use a Macbook. Well actually I like having some constraints. I feel I open way more on my Macbook which actually doesn’t allow me to focus. Without multi-tasking though you couldn’t do research and type a document.
So I ended up ordering the Logitech Create keyboard for my iPad Pro. I also went to the Apple store to try out their Smart Keyboard. I will probably do a separate write up on the Logitech keyboard. I used the iPad Pro without a keyboard for a couple days. One of the issues right now is that not all apps are taking advantage of the new keyboard. Until all apps adopt it, you end up feeling a jarring experience. Below is an example of each keyboard.
New Keyboard Old Keyboard
I haven’t received my Apple Pencil yet but I played with one at the Apple store. I have to say that the Apple Pencil is amazing. I’ve used styluses across multiple devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. I’ve even used the Surface Book. All of them have latency issues that bother me. I even have a Wacom Cintiq. The Apple Pencil seems to have zero lag. It feels really natural. I can’t wait to get more time with it. I feel it will unlock a lot of creative applications on the iPad Pro.
In summary I think this is a new classification of a device. If you are into creative or feel that you need more screen then an iPad Air 2 gives you then this might be the device for you. I’ll be back when I have some time with the Logitech Create Keyboard as well as the Apple Pencil.
iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
First let’s talk about the iPhone. Probably the biggest change to the iPhone 6s versus the iPhone 6 is 3D Touch. 3D Touch is the ability for the iPhone to detect deep presses versus a regular press. We first got introduced to this feature on the Apple Watch under the name Force Touch. I’m guess that Apple may have been “forced” to change the name. (yes pun intended). This interaction will cause quite a bit of fragmentation for a while until the iPhone 5, 5s, and 6 models leave the market as the only device to support it will be the iPhone 6s models. The changes this brings may be time savers for all of us users. It will give you access to information and features of applications much faster. A few examples shown included getting to the “selfie camera” quickly as well as calling your favorites by doing a hard press on the phone app.
The other normal upgrades happened as well faster CPU and upgraded Camera. Some of the things done in the technology behind the camera sensor might be pretty amazing. Adding 4k brings some interesting things as well. The baffling thing though is why did we keep the storage so low on the starting models. 16GB doesn’t cut it in a 4k world. Apple did cut their cost of iCloud so that may be the play but still 16GB? The new feature also brought to us is Live Photo. Basically it takes a video 1.5 seconds before the still and 1.5 seconds after. It is pretty interesting when you watch the demo.
Although the update to the Apple TV may not look like a major update to most as it does have some of the “me too” feel to it, I feel it may be a bit of a sneak attack. Apple has one of the best App ecosystems. With an App Store now available for Apple TV we may see a large amount of both TV and games make their way over to the Apple TV. If Apple is right that Apps are the future of TV we will be in for a evolution for cord cutters that may accelerate. Time will only tell though.
The most interesting presentation last week was that of the iPad Pro. Apple truly is trying to push the post PC era. The most confusing thing for me was that Microsoft jumped on stage with Apple to show Office on the iPad Pro. This shows us a different Microsoft. It is apparent they will keep their focus on selling their services around Office 365.
The iPad Pro will need to find its market though. I feel it is targeted at the artist market which is a good spot for it. If we see more business applications coming over to the iPad we may see it as the device of choice for most executives and creatives. The desktop/laptop market will be only for engineering and higher computing needs such as video and photo editing. I expect the software for the iPad to grow quickly over the next year with the new form factor. I myself want one right off the bat. I’ll be interested if it feels like a true replacement for my 12” Macbook or not.
From all reviews the Apple Pencil is as amazing as it was made out to be. If it is as accurate as they say I’ll be pleased. As soon as I get my hands on one I will write my review. Till then the future for Apple looks bright to me.