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?

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<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

Apple’s New SIM Card Is Great For Travelers
Apple’s New SIM Card Is Great For Travelers
The latest iPad comes with SIM cards perfect for people on the go
 
 
Tim Cook Met With Chinese Officials On Privacy
Tim Cook Met With Chinese Officials On Privacy
The Chinese government has taken an interest in Apple’s security and privacy
 
 
Why Is Apple Pay The Most Secure Option Available?
Why Is Apple Pay The Most Secure Option Available?
Is Apple Pay really worth the hype?
 
 
Apple Planning to Open 25 New Stores in China within Two Years
Apple Planning to Open 25 New Stores in China within Two Years
Tim Cook reveals that Apple is thinking to build 25 additional stores in the massive Chinese market
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Second MERS case reported in Qatar
Doha, Oct 23 (IANS) A 43-year-old man in Qatar has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second confirmed case of the deadly virus in 10 days, media reported Thursday. The patient had...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Two people die in Pakistan bomb blast
Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) At least two people were killed and 12 others injured in an explosion that took place in Pakistan's Balochistan province Thursday, media reported. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle, Dawn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Trott extends contract with Warwickshire till 2017
London, Oct 23 (IANS) England batsman Jonathan Trott, whose mental issues led to his abrupt departure from last winter's Ashes tour, has confirmed his successful comeback to competitive cricket by signing a new three-...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap big movers in BWF rankings
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Alvin Stardust dead
London, Oct 23 (IANS) English singer Alvin Stardust died after a short illness. He was 72. Stardust's manager confirmed the news about his demise Thursday, reports mirror.co.uk. He was recently diagnosed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian man reunited with family after 40 years
Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) An Indian man, who had disappeared from his hometown in Kerala nearly 40 years ago, has been found by his family at a hospital in Dubai in the UAE, a newspaper report said. Now in his 60s, Abdulla...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap, Saina rise in world rankings
Kala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest released Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Flintoff signs for Big Bash side Brisbane Heat
Brisbane, Oct 23 (IANS) Former England captain and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who retired from international cricket in 2009, Wednesday confirmed that he will play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) this...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price falls again
Vienna, Oct 23 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $81.94 a barrel Wednesday compared to $82.09 Tuesday, the OPEC Secretariat said. The new OPEC...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lopez to sign multi-million dollar deal?
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of securing a multi-million dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old is being offered $350,000 per show at The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla