June 9, 2013
When Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage to open the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday, it will be the fourth such event that I have covered for AppAdvice. Going back to my first WWDC in 2010, one constant has remained – at least until now. No matter the lingering rumors, those of us in the media had a fairly good idea what to expect before ever arriving in San Francisco. This year, however, has a different feel to it. Consider what we think we know. We know, for example, that Apple will unveil iOS 7 and OS X 10.9. So too, we’re pretty confident that Cupertino will announce its long-rumored “iRadio” streaming music service. Throw in the necessary Mac upgrades that always arrive at WWDC, and tomorrow’s keynote is more-or-less covered. And yet, we know surprisingly little about what the products mentioned above will actually look like, let alone what fancy new features they will entail. Take iOS 7, for example. We’ve heard for months that the next version of iOS will be flat, and shun “realistic images.” The reason? Because we’ve heard ad nauseam that Apple’s hardware guru, Jony Ive, has been “really key” to its development. Fine, but this doesn't actually tell us anything about iOS 7. The same goes for iRadio, which is being described as a cross between Pandora and Spotify, whatever that means. Frankly, what little I’ve heard about iRadio has felt underwhelming, at best. I already spend $9.99 a month to stream music via Rdio. For reporting purposes, I have also tried many of the other services. Apple's iRadio service will offer the exact same content as other providers. “Carry On,” by fun., for example, sounds exactly the same whether it’s played on Rdio, through an actual radio, or via Pandora. And yet here is Apple, the largest technology company in the world, about to release their own streaming music service. In recent weeks, I’ve become increasingly confident that the reason we’ve heard so little about iRadio, iOS 7, and everything else, is because Apple is about to throw us more than a few surprises. In fact, this could be the most unexpected WWDC in many, many years. And I’m not alone. The Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, who has reported on Apple for many years, has noted that no one seems to know what Cupertino is planning for tomorrow. He and I, like many others, couldn’t be happier about being in the dark. Not only will it make our WWDC coverage much more exciting, but it also proves that Apple has used the time since its last event in October wisely. Many people in recent months have lamented that Apple is a company in decline that has stopped innovating. Tomorrow will likely change this narrative. I end this Sunday night rant with the words Gruber used earlier in the day. I’ve done so because his words are so on the mark, they deserve to be repeated:
The primary problem Apple faced with the iPhone in 2007 was building familiarity with a new way of using computers. That problem has now been solved. It is time to solve new problems. The training wheels can now come off. That’s what I think Apple’s going to do tomorrow.Powerful commentary, don’t you think? Join us Monday morning beginning at 10 a.m. PDT for full coverage of WWDC. Until then, stay tuned.