10 #WWDC2016 Keynote Innovations that were Long Overdue

The first thing to say is that I wasn't blown away.

  1. OS X is now macOS.
    • Hasn't it been "Mac OS X" from the start in 2001? It's always been a little bizarre how Apple chose to call the system "OS (10)" for more than a decade while iOS would be renamed with intuitive numbering since its inception in 2007. This change is long overdue.
  2. Siri is open to Developers for deep integration into apps
    • Siri debuted on the iPhone 4S in 2011 w/ iOS 5. The team that developed Siri got frustrated with Apple's lackluster approach to the software and left to start their own system called Viv. In the meantime Amazon pioneered a new generation of dedicated voice interface devices and Google also got on the train, leveraging their deep understanding of natural language interactions.  I know it takes time to build proper developer tools for these systems but this is, again, long overdue.
  3. Siri is on the Mac
    • There is one exciting thing here, and that's the ability for Siri to help find and manage files on your desktop. iOS doesn't really have a file system, so considerable thought and work must have been done in order to achieve this. kudos.
    • Still, given that the software was made to work with a teeny-tiny little phone, with far less computing power than Apple's powerful desktops, I'm not sure what technical barriers stood in the way of this revolutionary achievement but it was (say it with me) long overdue.
  4. Copy and Paste across devices.
    • Pastebot has been doing this for years over wifi networks, so this feels less magical to me than it perhaps does to others. While I hate to see an app's functionality (and business) get swallowed up by the OS it's on, Apple can bring background AirDrop services to bear as well as cellular networks into the mix alongside their cloud computing to make copy and paste work across devices anywhere they may be, which is a good thing. Given PasteBot's work in this space more than four years ago, this functionality feels overdue.
  5. Apple Pay works on the Mac
    • The premise is welcome and makes sense but the functionality does not. The idea that if I want to use Apple Pay on my desktop, I have to go and find my phone to authenticate via my fingerprint, is the definition of awkward. I get that WWDC is a software conference but the Mac needs a TouchID fingerprint scanner. It shouldnt be too difficult to incorporate it into the trackpad because hopping back and forth between devices is a barrier to impulsive commerce. Especially if your phone is in another room, or worse yet, your kid is playing with it.
  6. Apple Pay works on the Web
    • Apple Pay, which was really the ingenious merging of TouchID+NFC to securely authenticate transactions, is a fantastic use of available technologies to make life easier and through that ease, facilitate more commerce. This is a natural evolution of the technology but I could have sworn I saw a demo of Apple Pay being used on the Target website back when it was announced but perhaps that was just the app. Either way, I'm not the only one who thinks this functionality was long awaited (aka overdue).
  7. Apple Watch OS 3.0
    • The good news? This may be the first embedded device by Apple that actually moves more quickly with new OS updates, unlike the sluggishness that users often complain about after updating iOS.
      Remember that #iPhoneSlow is not on purpose.

      Apple Watch has been on the market a little over a year now and it's already on the third version of it's OS. Given the "year-in-review" takes I read on the wearable device, I remain of the opinion that the watch was launched prematurely because the tech wasn't there in the first place. At first, this was limted to thinking about the device's hardware-- chiefly laggy touch response and animations alongside poor battery life. The fact that Apple is launching not just point-releases but whole new versions of the OS effectively once a trimester, shows that the software wasn't there either. There are some gems in Watch OS 3 but certain key bits of functionality like sharing fitness metrics and scribbling words with a finger should have been present at launch and are long overdue.
  8. iOS Messages Have Apps!
    • Messages are becoming more fun. A lot of people won't care about this but, conversely, a LOT of people will. Opening up Messages to developers is a solid move toward making communication more vibrant and finding news ways of expression. Emoji and other image-based communications also mean that people will be able to say more (albeit silly) things to one another across traditional language barriers. As regular, small snippets of communication are less and less about the written word, one wonders will happen to grammar and usage in the West, but (a) it'll certainly be interesting and (b) only time will tell.

      There are two pieces here. Apple has created an app SDK for devs to create new ways for users to communicate on messaging and they've added some of their own flash and bang to the messaging experience. C'est la vie.
  9. Apple News gets subscriptions and push notifications
    • To date, Apple News, which is basically a web browser with links to news stories based on topics the users has said they're interested in, has been an interesting experience. It's been informative without being immersive-- and that's a good thing. Get some news, nicely curated, and then get out and do something. With subscriptions, however, I wonder if the software will be reminiscent of it's awful predecessor, NewsStand, which was an app replete with paywalls and content updates and that felt heavy because of it. I don't see myself using News anymore if I'm challenged with a call to subscribe every time I open a story on a nationally renowned site. Apple is usually good about this sort of thing. Time will tell.

      As for notifications of breaking news.. the system has long known my preferences so this should have been offered at launch so this is somewhat overdue.
  10. Photos use AI for a better experience
    • Everpix started this functionality back in 2011. Everpix ultimately failed (their product was superior but their business model required a $50/year subscription, which was ahead of it's time. Figuring out how to store, screen, read, organize and otherwise process these images is tricky-- no downright difficult. Was Apple behind Google and the defunct Everpix in offering this functionality? Sure. But given the challenges of getting it right, I can't in good conscience say that this feature is overdue. It's the ability to retroactively tag and organize photos that's interesting. I look forward to seeing how this works on the images imported into Photos on the Mac. This could be right on time.
  11. Voicemail gets transcription.
    • Visual voicemail was an incredible innovation in 2007 when the iPhone came out. Google added transcription to their iOS app, Google Voice, in 2009-- seven years ago. The feature was helpful because it allowed the consuming of voicemail discreetly during meetings or quietly in bed while your partner is deep in slumber. Say it with me now:

      Long overdue!