Ap­ple’s new era

Last week saw the most sig­nif­i­cant set of an­nounce­ments from Cu­per­tino since the pass­ing of Steve Jobs. Is Ap­ple’s new dawn enough?

Finweek English Edition - - NEWS - Si­mon Din­gle

Steve Jobs saw de­sign as some­thing be­yond what prod­ucts look like. De­sign, he said, was how things work. This prin­ci­ple un­der­scores prod­uct de­vel­op­ment at Ap­ple and is alive and well in its lat­est of­fer­ings. Things have changed when it comes to aes­thetic philoso­phies, how­ever. Last week at the an­nual World Wide De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence (WWDC) CEO Tim Cook and his team un­veiled a set of Ap­ple prod­ucts with a strik­ing new look. The com­pany is more se­cre­tive than ever about what it is work­ing on and the reigns of de­sign have been fully handed to Sir Jonathan Ive who has al­ways sculpted Ap­ple’s hard­ware, but who now over­sees soft­ware in­ter­faces too.

We didn’t see an Ap­ple tele­vi­sion set, watch or any of the other things that wilder spec­u­la­tions have sug­gested the com­pany may be work­ing on. WWDC also isn’t the kind of event where Ap­ple would an­nounce new prod­uct cat­e­gories any­more – that stuff hap­pens be­fore and af­ter. June is about ex­ist­ing plat­forms and how they are chang­ing and im­prov­ing. Ap­ple an­nounced a new Mac Pro tower, ver­sion of the OS X op­er­at­ing sys­tem en­ti­tled ‘Mav­er­icks’, an up­date to the MacBook Air and the lat­est ver­sion of iOS that pow­ers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch prod­ucts.

Cook kicked things off on the mo­bile front by rub­bish­ing An­droid and dis­play­ing statis­tics about how Ap­ple users spend more money on their de­vices – whether on or in apps, or in on­line shop­ping in gen­eral. The mes­sage was clear: if you want to make money, you need d to do it on our stuff.

iOS 7 was in­tro- duced as a new be- gin­ning. It adds some e fea­tures that are simi- lar to An­droid – such h as the abil­ity to quickly ac­cess tog­gles for WiFi, Blue­tooth and d other fre­quent set­tings gs – along with a new, w f lat­ter look and feel. The op­er­at­ing sysstem in­ter­face is quite strik­ingly dif­fer­ent from any­thing else on the mar­ket, us­ing stark luminescence and colour match­ing to bring some­thing that is both min­i­mal and f lat in look, while still per­sonal and pol­ished in feel. It’s a big de­par­ture from the skeu­mor­phic pre­sen­ta­tion of in­ter­faces (which made them re­sem­ble their real life non-dig­i­tal coun­ter­parts) in pre­vi­ous ver­sions of iOS, but isn’t quite as f lat as what Mi­crosoft is do­ing in Win­dows Phone, nor dis­tinct as what Google is do­ing in An­droid. It cer­tainly is un­ex­pected.

Un­veil­ing iOS 7, Ive said, “There is a pro­found and en­dur­ing beauty in sim­plic­ity, in clar­ity, in ef­fi­ciency. True sim­plic­ity pp g g is de­rived from so much more than just the ab­sence of clut­ter and or­na­men­ta­tion, it it’s about bring­ing or­der to com­plex­ity.” Bring­ing or­der to com­plex­ity is so some­thing Ap­ple does v very well, even if it has brought dis­dain from more tech­ni­cally-savvy d de­trac­tors who mis­take t that sim­plic­ity for in­ad­e­quacy.

Then there was the bril­liantly en­gi­neered Mac Pro that looks like some­thing out of a Stan­ley Kubrick science fic­tion film wi with a sleek, black, cylin­dri­cal case and some of the plan­ets most so­phis­ti­cated guts lurk­ing within. Man­u­fac­tured in the USA, the new Mac Pro is a ridicu­lously pow­er­ful work­horse for creative pro­fes­sion­als and soft­ware de­vel­op­ers.

Af­ter run­ning through the key fea­tures of the new Mac Pro, Ap­ple’s Philip Schiller re­marked: “Can’t in­no­vate any­more, my ass.”

Fi­nally, iTunes Ra­dio was an­nounced as a stream­ing mu­sic ser­vice that will be free to cus­tomers who are happy to en­dure ad­ver­tis­ing, or who are sub­scribed tom to Ap­ple’s iTunes Match ser­vice. Noth­ing ma­jor here – but does en­hance dis­cov­erab abil­ity in iTunes.

The mar­ket seem­ingly ap­proved of Ap­ple’s new of­fer­ings. The stock was up 2.95% at time of writ­ing on a day when most tech list­ings were down. A re­turn to mas­sive highs is go­ing to re­quire new prod­uct cat­e­gories, how­ever, so ex­pec­ta­tions i are high for more an­nounce­ments b be­fore the end of the year.

iOS 7

Mac Pro

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