You may find it ironic that one week after EdgeLens editor @bretkinsella declared in effect, “The OS Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” that I am reporting at his request on the iOS 6 release during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). Well, such is the nature of innovation and technology. As he said, the operating system (OS) matters less today, but still has a role in driving the app ecosystem forward and occasionally delighting a user or two.
Bret’s comments to me on this topic:
What we saw today was well in line with the thesis that all OSes have to keep up with their peers and enable cross OS and cross platform performance. It appears Apple is playing a little catch-up with Facebook and Flyover (Maps) and is extending functionality in areas such as Siri and Passbook.
I think Apple is doing more than playing catch-up with Flyover and the potential for Siri, Passbook and new the Facebook integration is compelling. As a developer with experience on iOS as well as Android, HTML5 and more frameworks than I can to remember, here is my quick reaction to today’s announcement.
I’m not sure I get the new features in Siri. I admire the engineering that goes into it. Siri is artificial intelligence (AI) made real and practical. Perhaps I don’t drive enough (though when I do, I prefer to talk to real live people. Or play air guitar).
Wow. So this continues what to me has been Facebook getting far below skin deep with people. Two years ago, I (and many others) saw Facebook as a ghetto of superficiality. Cat pictures, dog videos, and so on; sort of an America’s Funniest Home video for the internet with all the mediocrity that implies. But the introduction of Spotify integration made me re-think FB’s possibilities – how deep a connection they are making with people, as well as with the technology ecosystem that surrounds them? A platform for expressing the enthusiasm we feel for music to me is powerful. And now integration with iOS. I think this is very, very smart for both companies. Though why did Facebook buy Instragram again?
FaceTime via Cellular
I don’t have much insight on this other than it is pretty cool and will help drive those mobile data growth numbers. For heavy travelers, it may provide the first practical way to conduct a video conference on-the-go.
Shared Photo Streams
This is a killer app for consumers. Photo streams + Facebook + a million different location-aware applications have so much potential. Let’s mashup every experience we have and really make some memories! Is it launching with public APIs? I’ve got some product ideas already, and in the last two weeks I’ve heard two others that to me are “can’t miss” functionality. Who wants to build something?
Coming from the RFID industry, this is something that many of us having been waiting on for some time. Along with the shared photo streams this has immense potential to change how we experience “real life.”
Google Maps has started to seem stale – the traffic data seems less accurate and relevant. The absence of turn-by-turn directions is frustrating – and most troubling from a developer’s perspective, it’s not a platform. Apple’s answer: Flyover. It looks like Google Maps on steroids – more context, 3D, developer APIs, and turn-by-turn directions. Great for both developers and users. Of course, Google made its own announcement last week. Google Maps will be going 3D as well, but that was just an announcements. iOS 6 is available today.
iOS 6 Impact Review
My first read on iOS 6 is that it represents a new apex in location-based mobility software. The combination of Facebook integration, shared photo streams, improved maps, and the new passbook is going to unlock another round of innovation in how we interact with the world around us. I think these are concepts with very long tails, and will be sources of innovation for years to come. We are just starting to tap into what can be done, and Apple is showing it can and will lead the way.
It is less clear how this will impact enterprises which are just starting to leverage apps for business use. Two areas that have near-term promise are Siri and Passbook. Siri integration into apps that enable employees to interact with enterprise applications through voice command could be a big step forward in mobile computing and convenience. Utilizing Passbook to enable employees to take advantage of corporate-sponsored benefits and vendor partnerships could be the app HR departments are looking for to establish relevance in mobile.
What we know is that consumer is leading enterprise in new feature adoption today. The forward leaning enterprise will need to take a hard look at iOS 6 and its features when weighing decisions on HTML5 vs. native app development. And, we all need to stay tuned to Apple’s direct assault on Google. This is getting interesting.
What do you think the impact of iOS 6 will be in the mobile world?
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Live reporting from Washington, D.C. On the-fly reactions to iOS 6 announcements from WWDC. Many thanks to the great WWDC 2012 coverage by MacRumors (http://www.macrumorslive.com/) and CNet (www.CNET.com).