Apple has always been known as a company that produces beautifully designed products. It’s focus on stylish, highly usable watches, laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets has won it a global audience of fiercely loyal fans and mainstream buy-in from increasingly tech-savvy users. Other manufacturers, especially those in Asia, have long taken their cue from the designs flowing out of Cupertino.
Yet it was Apple’s software updates that really caught the eye at its annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose on Monday. We sat through the two hour-keynote to bring you our analysis of the most important announcements. All in all, it’s good news for consumers, developers and possibly channel sales.
Challenging the Surface
One of the biggest announcements at the show was Apple’s decision to effectively create a new iOS version for the iPad. This has been a long time coming and will finally take advantage of all that extra screen space on the iPad versus the iPhone. We’ve been saying for some time that it was frustrating for users being saddled with what was effectively a 12in iPhone screen.
The effect will be to create a more desktop-like experience on the iPad: Safari gets new keyboard shortcuts and a download manager; a new split screen feature allows users to view two apps or Word docs side-by-side; users can now pin widgets onto the home screen; and they also benefit from new copy and paste gestures. Finally, Apple has added Flash drive and memory card support to the Files app.
The cumulative effect of the new iPad OS features could mean trouble for Microsoft, as they will enhance the Apple tablet’s standing among the kind of users that would normally plump for the Surface. Interesting times ahead.
Continuing to push privacy
Apple has been watching the security and privacy travails affecting Facebook with interest. Its response has been a renewed focus on privacy as a differentiator. Unlike the social network, or Google for that matter, the Cupertino giant collects significantly less data about its customers — primarily because it doesn’t have an ad-driven business model. The “what happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone” marketing campaign is testament to the firm’s current privacy-centric push.
At WWDC, Apple continued this running theme in a new iOS 13 feature: a single sign-on feature which allows users to log-in to third-party sites using FaceID. Sign in with Apple also allows users to create log-ins whilst hiding their real email address from such sites. This will offer a much-needed new option for users looking to avoid relying too much on Google-Facebook for log-in protection. In addition, Apple is offering users reports on background tracking and a new option to limit how much data third-party apps can collect, as well as blocking apps from collecting location info via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.
Other big reveals at WWDC included a new version of macOS (Catalina) which will finally do away with the much-maligned iTunes app, and a new watchOS version which will allow developers to create apps for the platform which no longer need a companion iPhone application. Confirming its business credentials, Apple also unveiled a new Mac Pro at the staggering price of $5,999. All in all, there’s plenty here for the channel to get excited about.
© CONTEXT 2019