Notes on Apple’s October Event
Steven is a Digital Strategist and UX Architect focusing on Mobile Products with a diverse background in writing and literature. He is currently a Strategist with Propelics where he helps a wide range of Enterprises determine the direction of their Mobile Apps.
Additionally, Steve co-founded Apperian, a Boston-based technology startup focused on Mobile Application Development, and served as Lead UI Architect and Strategist for all iPhone, iPad, and Android Applications, including Apperian’s own flagship Enterprise product, EASE. Steve has singlehandedly helped many Fortune 500 companies define the direction of their Mobile Applications, including MFA Boston, American Greetings, DuPont, Progressive, AAA, Rue La La, and many others.
Steven is available at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @brykman.
Notes on Apple’s October Event
Something More Than Feelings
Apple introduced today’s San Francisco Event with a short marketing video that asserted their primary driver was, “How do we want people to feel?”
I hope you kept this in mind while you watched the live stream. Because if they’re wondering how they want their products to make them feel, it’s a sure bet they’re also concerned with how their events make people feel.
When we like a movie, for example, it’s generally not because of the filmmaker’s technical prowess, but rather because the movie made us feel something, because it played with our emotions. It made us laugh, and it made us cry. So when Apple says their mission is “to build computers people love to use” they mean that literally.
To wit, Apple ran a video of folks celebrating a new iPhone launch, waiting in long lines, camping out, etc. For me, this tactic always backfires as it gives me the icky feeling the iPhone is meant to be idolized, that it is no longer a material object but an object of worship.
Further, part of making us feel good about Apple involves making us feel good about where their products are made. Designed and Assembled in the US is a new (old) tactic for Apple, and one that’s nice to see.
That’s not to say Apple isn’t awesome. That they don’t somehow continue to make their “magical” products smaller, faster, brighter, smarter, sharper, and more battery-efficient, seemingly defying all laws of physics. Because obviously they do. It’s just that at a certain point things can get a little creepy.
Head in the Clouds
But make no mistake. behind all the sweet-talk and lovey-dovey, a battle is raging between two giants: Apple and Google (Android). A battle to regain the cloud and ownership of your data in it. And for the moment, with 80% of the market share, Android is winning. So Apple really had to accomplish two things today: they had to make you fall back in love with them (again), and they had to assert their superiority when it comes to cloud-computing.
Because these days, it’s all about data management and consolidation of data over multiple devices. Convenience is in the cloud, and whoever wins this war ultimately sells more devices and wins it all. This is why Apple today spent so much time talking about Safari, a humble web-browser, and about Calendaring, Messaging, and Syncing passwords across devices. The opponent is obvious: Google Chrome. Apple one-ups Google with a new feature that lets you share browser-links with friends, something that seems totally obvious once you see it, since we’ve all been sharing links for years now on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and Reddit and Pinterest. Hey, here’s an idea— why not share our links in the very place the links originated from — in the browser itself!
Ultimately, the best way for Apple to win-over users (and their data), the best way to lure them away from the Google/Android cloud and over to the Apple (i)Cloud is by pushing the awesome software that truly differentiates Apple from Google: iWork and iLife and making them even cloudier by adding live collaborative capabilities. Because here, Google just can’t compete. At least not yet. And what’s the best way to do this? You guessed it, by practically giving the software away! Better yet, by actually giving it away, which is exactly what Apple in its wisdom has decided to do.
Finding Our Way
And let’s not forget about maps. Apple may have an uphill battle here, given the embarrassing wonkiness of the Maps app in its early days. But Apple is smart enough to realize they must inextricably pair cloud-convenience with their mobile devices — and fast. Hence, seemingly simple features like Send Map to iPhone can actually make a huge impact, since getting a Google map from your desktop over to your iPhone is still trickier than it should be. And if Apple can win Map users back to Apple Maps, they can potentially win Android users back to the iPhone.
Some more good news:
- iBooks is finally available for the desktop. Which is great, though it may leave some folks with a sour taste in their mouths, wondering why this wasn’t the case from day one.
- You can now respond to texts directly from within popup notifications, which is totally clever and simple and probably took Apple Developers like ten minutes to program.
- The new MacBook Pros are down $100-$200 from last year, which means that at this rate in 13 years the cost of a new MacBook Pro will be somewhere around 99¢. Of course by then we’ll all be working from the holographic displays encoded into the lenses of our eyeballs. Now that’s what I call a retinal display!