Analyst's Notebook: WWDC 2011 Keynote

Nom nom nom

Not much that applies to enterprise IT came out of the keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday. The summary version: Lion will be released in July, available only as a download; iOS 5 will be available in the fall, along with iCloud. The tl;dr, along with a heaping pile of attitude, follow.

9:00: I'm on the streetcar, headed downtown to Moscone West. Contact lenses refused to go in this morning, which is a bad omen for the day. But as much as I hate going to these things, compared to the guys wading ashore at Omaha Beach in 1944, I have it easy. Nobody's firing anything more vicious than a camera strobe this morning.

9:25: All checked in and hitting the caffeine and muffin tables outside the Golden Gate room, where the keynote will take place. The last-minute carbohydrate top-off is nice, but I'm still craving bacon. Is there a 12-step program in my future?


9:45: I'm settled into a prime seat on the aisle; fourth row back. I would be getting awesome shots, if I had a better camera. (As it turns out, I won't get enough usable shots to make it worth my while.) Meanwhile, the guys to the left of me smell like my grandfather and are slowly edging me out of my seat.

We're getting perfectly good coverage remotely, or so Chris Preimesberger told me when I ran into him outside. He's shooting today for a slideshow, and I forgot to ask who in NY is watching the feed for news.

9:56: "Our presentation will begin shortly." If you would like to load or unload, go to the white zone. You'll love it. It's a way of life.

10:00: ...and they're still playing James Brown; Dear Leader must be running late.

10:02: The lights go down, and Steve Jobs comes on stage with a decent amount of energy, considering his appearance. He notes that there are 5200 attendees this year; it only seems like all of them are in this room.

Three big things to talk about this year: Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud. Here's Phil Schiller to talk about Lion, and Craig Frederighi to do the demos.

Phil Schiller: 54 million Mac users worldwide; rough doubling from 2006 according to chart.

PC sales down 1 percent year over year, Mac way up [26 percent?]; 73 percent of Apple's business is notebooks.

Schiller calls Mac OS X "the heart of the Mac." Well, yeah, because without an operating system, all the company's hardware amounts to nothing more than a few overpriced PCs.

Over 250 new features in Lion; here is Apple top ten:

1: Multitouch - disappearing scroll bars. Note to self: wonder how well these work if you have most multitouch features disabled for sanity, as I do.

2: Full-screen applications - multiple apps can run in full-screen at once, swipe to see desktop. Ugh. Apple basic apps and iWork will run full-screen; this is nice if you like it, but there just aren't that many apps that I would want running that way, especially on a larger screen than the 13-inch MacBook Pro I'm holding.

3: Mission Control - A view of all Spaces, Dashboard and apps. This might be useful; on the other hand, I'm kind of over UI gimmicks at this point in my life.

4: Mac App Store - Downloading software is not revolutionary, people.

5: LaunchPad - Application folders available with the same behavior as in iOS; but do we really need another entry point? The half-dozen applications that I use every day of my life are already in the Dock; is it so hard to look in the Applications folder?

6: Resume - state restore of applications and system; this is fraught with peril, because in my experience, I'm most likely to reboot because of problems with Safari. I may want to restore my open windows at some point after my reboot, but not right away.

7: Autosave: any good application should be doing this already, but this appears to offer more flexible options, including revert to last opened; browse all versions, lock, or duplicate. I just have to wonder how much disk space this consumes.

8: Versions - Tying in with Autosave, we get the ability to see different versions of a document. Again, this isn't that new from an application level perspective.

9: AirDrop -- P2P networking with encrypted file transfer, but slicked up bigtime. This might actually be something I would want to have.

10: Mail - UI overhauled; conversation view added.

Other features: Windows migration. FileVault 2, Server add-on, FaceTime, 3000 new APIs

No more optical disks, available only in the Mac App Store. 4GB, installs in place. Works on all "authorized Macs" however that's defined. Priced at $29.99, I assume this is per Mac. [Note to self: How are multiple installations in a household or business handled? Can one burn an ISO for disaster recovery? What are current broadband caps in comparison? If you're on a 250GB plan, it may not be so bad; but I could see this being a problem in Canada, where Rogers caps at 25GB.]

Dev preview today; July ship.

10:38: and we're on to iOS. Scott Forstall, SVP iOS software is on stage.

200 million iOS devices sold to date; 44 percent of installed base (Android, 28 percent); 25 million iPads in 14 months.

15 billion songs sold in ITMS; iBook Store: 130 million downloads; App Store: 14 billion apps downloaded; $2.5B paid to developers in 3 years.

The App Store has "great business apps." [Yes, but the tricky part is finding them. If you don't know the name of the publisher or the app itself, you are probably not going to find it.]

10:43: iOS 5 has 1500 new APIs, 200 new features; here are the top ten:

1: Notification Center - one-stop notifications, persistent, activated with a downswipe.

2: Newsstand - news rack paradigm for subscribed periodicals; background downloads.

3: Twitter - integrated client with "single sign-on"; this is nice if you give tuppence for Twitter, which I do not.

4: Safari - 64 percent of mobile market (Android 27 percent "and that's based on Safari, too." New in iOS 5: Safari Reader, Reading List synced with Safari on Mac; tabbed browsing. The last is another "nice if you like that sort of thing" feature, but again, I don't get it.

5: Reminders - location sensitive; syncs with iCal, and Outlook. This, on the other hand, I see the point of.

6: Camera - most popular mobile phone camera application on Flickr. New: lock screen shortcut; passcode bypass, without unlocking rest of phone; volume up to take picture; grid lines; AutoEx/AutoFocus lock. Editing: crop & rotate, red eye reduction.

7: Mail - Rich text formatting; draggable addresses; flagging; search message contents. Swipe to inbox for pictures. S/MIME support. Dictionary as a service; split keyboard for thumb typing.

8: PC Free - no computer needed. Over-the-air software updates; delta updates.

9: Game Center - not exactly my target audience, but I'll pretend like I care. 100,000 "game and entertainment" titles; 50 million users (Xbox live: 30m).

10: iMessage - messaging for iPad, iPod Touch. Delivery, read receipts, typing indication, pushed to all devices. 3G & Wi-Fi, encrypted traffic. [This violates my rule on separation of tasks by device.]

Also: Wi-Fi sync & backup to iTunes; dev seed today, to ship "this fall" (which gives them until mid-December).

11:20: iCloud, iCloud, iCloud

(Jobs back on stage, moving more slowly up the steps than before.) The cloud is replacing the Mac/PC as the center of the digital universe. It's not "just a hard disk in the sky." No, it's a great big data center in North Carolina. [Or it's this guy.]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="740" caption="Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."]xkcd, from 6/6/11[/caption]

iCloud pushes data to all devices [note to self: that better be selectable]. Integrated with apps; the consumer apps from Apple appear to be the first to get this; wonder when/if the professional tools will catch up.

Understatement of the year: "Mobile Me wasn't our finest hour."

iCloud will be free. {Note to self: you get what you pay for.] Contacts, Calendar, Mail joined by App Store, iBooks, and Backup. Automatic download to all devices; restore to new devices: that's going to take a while on media-loaded iPhones and iPads.

New iCloud app #1 - "Documents in the Cloud," with auto upload and storage; synced to devices. This is already available in Keynote, Pages and Numbers 1.4, which were released last week. This "completes the document storage story." APIs released to devs.

New iCloud app #2 - Photo Stream: photos in the cloud. Put last 1000 on iOS devices (albums are permanent), 30 days in iCloud, forever in Mac/PC

New iCloud app #3 - iTunes in the Cloud: Multi-device download.

iCloud available with iOS 5. Storage limits: 5GB, but purchased apps, music or books, and PhotoStream images don't count. iTunes in the Cloud available today as a beta.

11:52: one more thing... iTunes Match: service that matches ripped CDs with music in the store; scan and match, instead of uploading your entire collection. Upgrade of matched songs to 256Kbps AAC. Only $24.99 per year; as a flat rate, this looks very good when compared to Amazon.

11:57: "If you don't think we're serious about this, you're wrong." My response: anyone who thinks Apple doesn't take everything seriously doesn't know Apple very well.