AMITIAE - Tuesday 27 May 2014
Cassandra: WWDC Under a Week Away - We are Apparently Going Domestic (Updated - Live Feed)
By Graham K. Rogers
The paradox was that, until recently, Amazon's CEO was praised despite never making a profit, while Apple kept scoring big time both in terms of profits and unit sales. In an article this week, Kate MacKenzie on PixoBebo points out that the main product lines (Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Store, iTunes, App Store) each have more than $5 billion in revenue, adding that "Apple's annual revenue run rate is pushing $200-billion and profits are pushing $40-billion".
These points have been made before by diverse writers, including Daniel Eran Dilger, Rene Ritchie, Jim Dalrymple, John Gruber and of course, The Macalope who savages those who make idiotic comments about Apple. Long may he continue (with the way the idiots keep going, he probably will).
My badge got me a good enough seat on Monday morning, but then I was out in the cold, until the flight home. Hanging about outside at lunchtime, one might occasionally hear dropped gems, but there was too little real context to work with and too much in San Francisco to see to make it worthwhile.
Going on last year (which I did not attend) the main focus was on OS X 10.9, Mavericks, and the slimmed down iOS 7. Before the event there had been rumours (even then) about the iWatch: everyone was wrong last year, they may well be wrong this.
Instead of being there, I used the video feed that was available a short while later and split this into four parts:
The second part was the most interesting to me, partly because we knew that OS X and iOS were to be updated: it was just the details that were missing and Federighi showed himself a likeable and knowledgeable star on both. Eddy Cue filled in some details of what became CarPlay: "Control with a word. Or a touch. Or a twist." Hold that thought.
Although Craig Federighi had the audience as his own, for me it was Phil Schiller who left me stunned. There was the feisty comment on the (then) future Mac Pro - can't innovate, my ass - which left Steve Wozniak looking distinctly put out after his press comments. But the key to Apple's future for me was when Shiller paused the introduction for the new MacBook Air and announced the Airport Extreme Router with 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
For those less aware of networking, the IEEE gives standards numbers; and for updates to them, uses letters. Those that refer to wifi speeds and capacities are 802.11a, b, g, n and ac (when they run out of letters they use two). [For example, 802.11aa is an amendment to MAC Enhancements for Robust Audio Video Streaming.]
To release an enhanced wifi (and before it was officially finalised by IEEE) suggested that this was important to Apple.
As well as the suggestions in the article by Tim Bradshaw, I have seen an increasing number of uses for the iBeacon: low energy locator devices. I have a couple of the Estimote beacons in my bag and the iPhone is set up to report to me if the bag is moved.
Much of my current working life using Apple products is already integrated both through iCloud (especially PhotoStream and synchronisation of data) and through the home system with which I can connect iOS devices to the computer, or control the computer via iOS devices.
Other companies, such as Whirlpool are also working on such linked domestic appliances, like washer/dryers and dishwashers that connect to the Internet. One of my students was working on a project to create an electric fan that could be controlled using a browser; so the concept of linked devices has passed the thinking stage and is becoming reality.
On the home front, were Apple to apply its know-how, particularly what it has learned in creating CarPlay, iOS, OS X and faster Wi-Fi could be the keys to open the Jetson door.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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