WWDC Thoughts

I had a rare (for me, anyway) opportunity to stream the WWDC Keynote at work on Monday. Normally I have to follow one of the many live blogs and then watch the video after the fact, and even in the last few years since the stream has been public, most streams have been choppy and un-viewable.

The two-hour keynote was like drinking from a firehose of awesome. Some thoughts have been percolating since, and so what follows is what’s been on my mind:

Apple

My 2ยข: for the past few years it’s felt like Apple’s only goal was to put us in our place. Now it feels like they might want to be friends.

For the first time I can recall, I was thoroughly entertained during the keynote. I wasn’t just waiting for the details on what they were releasing; I was genuinely entertained. The presenters, seasoned and raw alike, were confident and seemed to have a ton of fun. They played to developers, and the audience (largely developers) seemed to eat it up.

I really should be taking video of @marcoarment during this segment. He is literally bouncing.

Overall, they rocked it.

Yosemite

The UI refresh looks nice. Nothing huge, nothing so ground-breaking that anyone should be up in arms about it.

I need to play with Mail to know if it’s worth going back to it from Airmail. The version of Mail in Mavericks is pretty terrible for Exchange.

The notification center overhaul / widgets look neat but possibly annoying. It seems to indicate that Dashboard is on its way out someday, which I like.

Spotlight’s update sounded like it might upset Alfred, but I use Alfred for so much more than finding/launching stuff. I think it still has a permanent home.

iCloud Drive and Photos

This could be a “big deal” for me. I’ve been a big Dropbox user for years, and have loved the ubiquitousness it delivers. Between that and Crashplan, I don’t worry about my data being lost1, and can easily share a song, document or whatever with anybody. My photos are all in one place, and for the moment I haven’t run out of space2. I am, however, almost exclusively a Mac user now, and having a native experience for cloud-based file storage sounds great.

Also, it’s less expensive than Dropbox. I have the Pro200 plan now with Pakrat3, which costs roughly $200 a year. For the same storage space on iCloud Drive, I’ll pay $48. That’s $150 I can do better with.

I have a lot of questions about how they’re going to deliver this, such as:

  • Will there be a Windows client?4
  • Will all of my iCloud Drive files be synchronized locally? Can a 3rd-party tool back up those files from your file system?
  • What if my local drive is smaller than my iCloud Drive? What gets sync’d locally?
  • Given this will integrate with the new Photos application, can I have photos in multiple structures or only in the Photos “silo”?
  • Will the folder structure be “normal” or will it be in my /Users/matt/Library hierarchy somewhere, obfuscated from me without Finder?
  • Can I symlink in/out of the folder structure?
  • Will there be an IFTTT channel?
  • What about file sharing, share links, public links, etc.? Will I still need/want Dropbox, even a 2gb free plan, to share via links?
  • What sorts of privacy statements are they making about these files? Dropbox seems to be taking it seriously, or so they say.

The iOS implementation looks really awesome. I’m mostly concerned about how this is manifested on my Macs.

It seems like they’re going to replace iPhoto with this on the Mac. I’ve always hated iPhoto, so I’m interested to see how this pans out. I’ve wanted an app for photo management that I didn’t hate for at least six years.

Family Sharing

This is great. Just great. So long as by “credit card” they’re also ok with “PayPal Account”. Also, I have no intention of sharing apps with my son’s iPad, but this was interesting:

Just caught this detail on the iOS family sharing. pic.twitter.com/hgwMmOxE1k

iDevice / Mac Integration

Again, it all comes down to implementation. If they use Bluetooth LE, that bugs me, though this would seem a straightforward way to tackle proximity so that my computer at home doesn’t try to answer my phone call when I’m on my way to the office. I hate having bluetooth enabled everywhere, so I’d prefer they do something different, for instance a P2P wifi connection ala AirDrop. It would seem that they’d need to be clever about proximity, and I see all sorts of holes using things like common network details for other connected networks. I suppose they could use signal strength.

Messages

Group messaging looks cool, but not something I’m likely to use very often. I can see my wife using it more with a few friends, or groups or parents or something.

Audio messages are wicked cool… Who needs voicemail anymore?

SMS in iMessage is fantastic, and is a feature my wife is actually excited about.5 I’d greatly prefer a full keyboard for messaging whenever I could have one, but speaking of keyboards…

Other IOS8

3rd-party keyboards

Swype.

AirDrop between iDevices and Mac

YAY! YAY YAY YAY!

Enterprise Features of IOS8

They didn’t even talk about this, but I’m jazzed about:

  • S/MIME from Mail. Woo!
  • You can email meeting attendees from Calendar. Should have been that way forever!
  • Swiping to mark read/flag/etc.
  • Designate threads as VIP
  • Turn out of office on/off from my phone

Swift

I don’t have a lot of thoughts about this yet, other than that I’ve had a few ideas for iOS apps for a while, and learning Objective-C was the only thing stopping me. This might be enough to get me moving.

Conclusion

Overall, I’m excited by all of this and am trying to decide which Mac is going to run the Yosemite dev preview when it’s ready.


  1. I suppose I need to worry about it being kept

  2. Based on my estimates, I have until 2016 or so.

  3. Because I never, ever want to be faced with an OMG where did that file go??!? moment ever again.

  4. Someone has to ask…

  5. She normally rolls her eyes about these sorts of announcements, but this actually piqued her interest.

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