Apple WWDC 2014: All About Choice And Growth

Jun 3 2014, 4:06am CDT | by

I had the pleasure of attending the Apple WWDC 2014 keynote in Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco. While Apple didn’t introduce any new hardware, they did announce a dizzying array of software and service improvements for today, but more interestingly, for tomorrow. Two key themes I recognized were “choice” and “growth”, and I’d like to drill down on these two.

More open

Apple has an industry reputation of being a “walled garden”, but I was very happy to see them open up key part s of their OS to app developers. “Extensions” provide developers the ability to connect to key parts of the new iOS 8 like the browser and photos. So instead of users sharing to the limited mail, iMessage, Twitter and Facebook, they can hypothetically share to Google+, Gmail, Evernote, Instagram, Picasa, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, etc. While Android users have enjoyed this for years, iOS 8 now brings this capability to all iOS users.  Apple also opened up many features of the camera they hadn’t before.  This is very positive move for Apple and iOS and neuters a key Android feature.

Closed but optimized

I give Apple many kudos for opening up as I outlined above. They also brought out a few “closed” features, too.  Apple introduced “Metal”, a close to the metal API that provides an exponential boost to graphics performance. Metal can be used by iOS game developers instead of Khronos’ OpenGL to dramatically improve the game experience. This is very much like AMD’s Mantle that circumvents Microsoft DirectX. The challenge, though, is that iOS games on Metal aren’t optimized for Android or Windows games. The biggest game developers hypothetically win because they can use their games engines, like FrostBite, to be that arbitration layer. Could game engines replace open API’s like DirectX and OpenGL? We’ll have to wait and see.

The next closed example is “Swift”, what Apple describes as “Objective-C without the C”. Native iOS apps use Objective-C for optimal performance. “C” is a widely used, open programming language for developers. Much of that code can be salvaged to be used for Android or Windows apps. With Swift, it remains to be seen just how much code can be re-used for Android and Windows apps, but I would guess very little.

All of this makes life more difficult for both Windows and Android if iOS is the preferred development starting point as it has been for years.

Growth through home automation

Only about three minutes and three slides were dedicated to HomeKit, Apple’s initial solution to home automation. I attribute this to the short time Apple has been working on this and the willingness of partners to lockup with Apple. I believe, though, that in 5 years, this could be huge for Apple. Home automation is the next frontier in home electronics, and after close to 20 years, is ready for a breakout.

That’s where Apple comes in. In today’s model, each home automation company, whether it’s Sonos, Phillips Hue, Schlage, Honeywell or Nest require separate apps and hardware to work. There are solutions like Revolv and ELAN who do solve this problem.  While it’s not clear how Apple will deal with the hardware, it’s clear that “one app to control them all” is front and center. Consumers don’t want eight apps and Apple is very happy to walk in and to provide that “control point.”  You can just imagine how Apple will integrate this into the overall Apple experience, very similar to Revolv.  Imagine you are driving home from work…. When you get 15 minutes away from your home, your Honeywell thermostat knows to turn to 73 degrees. HomeKit knows then to turn on the inside and outside lights. 30 seconds before the car arriving Apple HomeKit opens up the garage door and upon arrival, open the front door locks. While it’s unclear exactly how Apple monetizes this, it certainly could provide preference for the Apple ecosystem which has shown to be a money-maker.  What’s unclear is how Apple solves the hardware problem. I currently need a hardware hub for Sonos, Honeywell, Hue and Lutron. That’s a mess and something that’s not Apple-esque. I’d like to see Apple adopt a Revolv approach which eliminates the need for the extra hubs… and integrate into a future AppleTV.

Growth through health, wellness, fitness

Apple announced HealthKit, ironically not too different from HomeKit in the sense of the “hub” mentality. Apple hopes to be the trust arbiter of all personal health information, something I think they have a high chance of succeeding in. Having done research in “trust” I will tell you Google doesn’t have a big shot at this.  Microsoft, maybe.

Anyways, Apple’s HealthKit would be the base for all of a consumer’s health information. According to Apple, users would be able to pick and choose which information goes to each source. This is a bit of a Nirvana state as this is what consumers and businesses want. Today, this is all about fitness and wellness. It controls what info Nike, FitBit, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, Basis gets. Tomorrow, it’s all about insurance companies and medical equipment. Want to get 25% off your health insurance premiums? Provide them with certain health data to make that happen. Think beyond today’s sensors, too. Think about blood pressure, glucose, brain function, urinalysis, blood work, etc. All of this can be contained in your HealthKit.

While it’s uncertain exactly how Apple will monetize this, my instincts tell me that the trust arbiter for health information is very, very valuable, and that health, wellness and fitness companies will pay big bucks to get access.

A different kind of WWDC

This year’s WWDC wasn’t about the next new piece of hardware. In fact, no hardware was announced. It was all about software and services.   And I’m fine with that. I believe that Apple is doing what it takes to maintain market share with their short-term announcements. Mid-term, I think these announcements plus the rumored large display iPhones could spell share gains for Apple.  Heck, I can see personally moving back to an iPhone from Android if they release a large iPhone and heavy developer use of Extensions. Long term, Health and HomeKit kick in, essentially providing the lock-in Apple needs to monetize the biggest trends out there, home automation and healthcare.

Who said software was boring?

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Want good raise at work? Get a supportive wife
New York, Sep 19 (IANS) Do not just blame your boss or jealous colleagues for no promotion or salary hike at work - your spouse's personality is equally important to decide if your chosen career will make you richer or poorer.
 
 
People with larger pupil size bad decision makers
London, Sep 19 (IANS) People with larger pupil size tend to be inconsistent in their decisions, says a study.
 
 
Five World Heritage sites severely damaged in Syria: Experts
Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) In war-torn Syria, five of six World Heritage sites now "exhibit significant damage" and some structures have been "reduced to rubble", reveals new high-resolution satellite image analysis.
 
 
New iPads and OS X Yosemite Reportedly Releasing in October 2014
New iPads and OS X Yosemite Reportedly Releasing in October 2014
Apple is rumored to introduce the new devices at a special event in the mid-October
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Iranian hardliners form 'chastity patrols'
Tehran, Sep 19 (IANS/EFE) "Chastity patrols", created by an Iranian paramilitary group, are patrolling the streets of Iran to force women to go "well covered" in public. At the beginning of summer, trendy Iranian...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Sophia Loren celebrates 80th birthday with an exhibition
Los Angeles, Sep 19 (IANS) Italian actress Sophia Loren, who will turn 80 Saturday, will celebrate her birthday with an exhibition displaying her most prized possessions in Mexico. The Oscar winner's belongings,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Liam Neeson scared of heights
New York, Sep 19 (IANS) Actor Liam Neeson may be known as a action star, but there is one thing that terrifies him: Heights. The 62-year-old actor admits he suffers from acrophobia and can't even manage to stand on a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Jeptoo targets history in Chicago Marathon
Nairobi, Sep 19 (IANS) History will be beckoning for Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya when she lines up at the Chicago City course for the 42km race Oct 12. Jeptoo is chasing her maiden win in the World...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
UN urges diplomatic accord on Iran's n-programme
United Nations, Sep 19 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear programme at an early date. Ban made the appeal at a meeting Thursday with visiting Iranian Foreign...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Bieber, Gomez moving in together?
Los Angeles, Sep 19 (IANS) Singer Justin Bieber has reportedly asked his girlfriend Selena Gomez to move into his house here. As per a report in hollywoodlife.com, Bieber, who rekindled his romance with Gomez recently...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Smoking causes urological diseases
Vienna, Sep 19 (IANS) Smoking leads to a number of urological diseases, experts said. Reduced fertility, impotence, and bladder carcinoma are problems caused by smoking, the Association of Austrian Urologists (BVU)...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lily Allen shares tips for applying eyeliner
London, Sep 19 (IANS) Singer Lily Allen may have popular make-up artists taking care of her looks, but she knows it takes practise to perfect the art of applying eyeliner. In an interview with Now magazine, she said "...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Baek readies himself for Asia-Pacific Golf Championship
Tokyo, Sep 19 (IANS) Korea's Baek Seuk-hyun is relishing the prospect of teeing up against some of the best players from the Asian Tour and Japan at next week's Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup....
Read more on Sport Balla
 
'No losers, only partners with Afghan unity government'
United Nations, Sep 19 (IANS) Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Jan Kubis said there is "no better way forward" other than a unity government in the crisis-torn country. "There is no better way...
Read more on Politics Balla