In early June Apple’s World Wide Developer’s conference was held in which Apple laid out a vision for the company that is very right for the times. Although they introduced some products, such as the MacBook Air, the real depth of this meeting was in the vision Tim Cook laid out.
He portrayed an Apple Computer that would deliver products of quality and beauty. Systems would need to conform to a new thinking of Clarity, Deference and Depth. At a user interface level this simply means that the UI steps away from the user to reveal what the user is working on or their content. At a different level, the interface would have to be beautiful but in a simplistic yet elegant fashion. The systems to meet such a vision would be IOS 7 and Mavericks for the Mac.
The Vision is deeper than the User Interface Experience
Although it is easy to see what was being laid out at a user interface level in that systems really had to present themselves in a simple fashion to allow users to take advantage of those systems. However, the vision goes much farther than that. It taps on the infrastructure level.
Applications are beginning and will evolve leading to a virtual world. The world will still be as real as ever. The access to that world though will occur more and more virtually. The cashless society is gradually becoming a reality. It’s not necessary to even pay your cab driver or house cleaner cleaner cash. Shopping online, only five years ago was shunned. Not any longer.
To power this virtual world the cloud will play a central role. The company that provides access to the cloud will be pivotal. Yet, the systems be both hardware and software will have to be up to snuff to drive and deliver these capabilities as they are in no way simple. Large amounts of bandwidth will be required plus raw computing power for the delivery of these services. Fortuantely now, we have an abundance of bandwidth. The capabilites to deliver are there.
The Apple Ecosystem is Primed to Fulfill
WWDC wasn’t simply about the delivery of new and shiny gadgets. It was really about the delivery of two new operating systems designed to provide the bedrock of delivery services. The operating system to do this has to be simple for the user to approach while at the same time almost built in granite. That is, the operating systems have to be incredibly solid.
So not only do the operating systems have to be simple to access and conform to clarity, vision and depth providing visual beauty and simplicity they have to be powerful engines as they will be the access points to these virtual services I speak of. The end user, if he or she is to take advantage of what’s to come must be able to do this in an intuitive way yet with incredible underlying power that provides flow.
Apple’s Operating Systems are Designed to Deliver
I have not seen Mavericks yet in a close up fashion other than what was presented at WWDC but I have seen IOS 7. Rolled out on Wednesday Sept 18 2013 IOS 7 is a sight to behold. This is an elegant OS that’s stunning to look at, provides easy flow and yet is incredibly powerful under the hood. Our IOS devices, such as the iPhone, will be our access points to our virtual world. We will access our bank accounts and pay bills through our iPhone, while potentially booking a holiday and shopping for some new clothes online for that holiday. Our iPhone is really a computer in our hands. In fact, if I look at the iPhone 5s it is an iMac in our hands disguised as a phone. IOS 7 is part of the delivery vehicle.
Has IOS 7 lived up to the promise of Apple’s vision. I would say most assuredly. This is a beautiful operating system and part of it’s beauty lies in its simplicity. There honestly is a wow factor that goes with this OS. In my view, it‘s absolutely fantastic. I would encourage anyone to upgrade to IOS 7. The idea that you’ll have a new phone without having to buy a new phone couldn’t be more appealing.
Yet, bearing in mind what we’re trying to accomplish through the vision, IOS 7 lives up to that part also. As I mentioned, to access the services that are coming along the OS and it’s UI have to be very approachable. They have to be intuitive and simple to use. No matter how many services are made available if the access is not easy to use people won’t use it. They’ll shy away from it. I would say with IOS 7 this won’t be the case whatsoever. We have one part of the puzzle in the vision delivered via IOS 7 and it’s a brilliant piece of work.
The Vision Includes so Much More
During Sept 10ths presentation by Tim Cook one thing I was disappointed with was the lack of emphasis on the other great stuff that is in Apple’s kit bag. There seemed to me to be far too much emphasis on the iPhone s and I basically saw this as a Yawn Fest. Frankly, I was bored.
I know though that Apple has a lot of very important stuff in the pipe. IOS 7 is just one part and we no have it. As significant though as IOS 7 is there didn’t seem to be enough emphasis on even that but rather an overemphasis on the iPhone s. The iPhone s is just a piece of hardward and it wasn’t that exciting in the least.
Mavericks as PowerHouse
What is exciting though is not only IOS 7 but Mavericks. Mavericks is the next OS in the OSX series that is being fundamentally improved on both the infrastructure side and the interface side. As I said, to power the apps that are coming a long we need two essentail things. One we need an OS that is powerful and provides a firm bedrock to support the kind of applications we’re going to see. Two and just as importantly the OS has to introduce this power in an intuivtive fashion if not a simple fashion. That is, the OS needs to be very approachable so people can use these new, powerful and generally cloud based apps or services effectively. If this wasn’t the case, we would be hard pressed to move forward.
Mavericks is exactly the kind of OS needed. It draws on the lineage of OSX generally and specifically. OSX has done nothing but become faster, more feature rich, easy to use and yet extremely powerful. Built on a tried and true Unix core, it is capable of supporting just about anything technologically we can throw at it.
I would have loved to have heard more about Mavericks. What we know of it is that it is being designed to optimize the hardware in a fashion that will enhance overall performance. Yet, again as in IOS 7 it will provide that approachable user interface so essential as significant changes continue to form. The challenge will be and has always been for software developers to capitalize on these new capabilities.
The Road ahead Looks very Exciting Indeed
The road that is ahead of us looks very exciting indeed. We are seeing the end of the brick and mortar shops we currently have. The AppleTV has revolutionized the delivery of top quality, first run to video store movies. As such, the days of the video store are coming to a close. We’ve seen this with iTunes and the music business previously. These events portend a significant shift in the way we relate to our technologies.
Apple’s products that are being laid before us are much more than glimmering objects that are the cool, trendy things. Rather, they are both that and the foundation for this new era that has begun to dawn. The advantage Apple has in all of this is they’ve always built tightly integrated hardware and software products that simply work. Why has the iPhone and the AppleTV been such a success (the latter is only beginning to blossom). It is the power and simplicity yet beauty they provide in the delivery of the services and capabilities we need. As we sat in awe of that first plane that took to the air for a mere 12 seconds to only see the skies crowded with jets and a new way of life in which we travel great lengths, these new technologies are the enablers of yet a new era in the information age that will see us travel far; possibly farther than some want.