My Reaction To Apple’s WWDC Keynote

Did many people notice the three items related to iBooks in there?


Source: Engadget liveblog

– Improved PDF support
– Full page curl transition (ugh!)

And one key thing eBook app makers have been wanting:

– Backlight level control

That last one must be Apple’s idea of a bad joke. I don’t see how offering it when you’re about to evict those apps is helpful to them.

I’m very disappointed that the speculation I cited in this post, Apple Outsmarts Everyone — Again!, did not come to pass.

So what Apple is doing is what webOS is doing, except Apple will have it in the Fall, not now.

iCloud as it stands is just not for me. I’d like to see it done with an option to go to a personal home-based server. Maybe that’ll happen in the Fall, when iOS 5.0 is released. Or maybe it’ll take another entire year, announced at the next WWDC.

Or maybe it will never happen.

The current iCloud scheme is based on “It just works.” Which is great for customers who don’t want to be bothered with syncing (which would include just about everybody, including me). But every Cloud-based scheme is vulnerable, even Apple’s. Not just to haXXorz, but to rights-violating government intrusions.

Just as the NSA compromised AT&T under the guise of national security, the same could happen with Apple. And just like AT&T, Apple will never publicly announce it — because, as AT&T stated, it would create a customer uproar. Besides which, an abusive government could just make it a criminal offense for Apple to even reveal it.

But consider this: With all those iPhone photos going to iCloud, don’t you think at some point there will be some photos that were taken within the vicinity or timeframe of a terrorist threat or act? And the NSA would just love to get its hands on all of those photos to run them through its face-rec software to tweeze out suspects. Don’t expect that to be a precision operation, either. It’ll be a dragnet, grabbing every photo, because not everyone will bother to geotag their photos and the NSA will only have timestamps to go by — but they’ll want all the photos anyway, in case the scope of the investigation widens.

And if you think that’s beyond the realm of probability or even possibility, you haven’t been paying attention to Homeland security issues at all.

This issue, by the way, is not specific to Apple, it applies to all photo services in the Cloud, including Picassa, Flickr, TwitPic, etc. I mention Apple here specifically because they’re the latest and most prominent entrant.

An unintended side-effect of Photo Stream is a scandal for the future. Some cheat snaps a picture of his mistress and it winds up on his wife’s iPad, because he forgot about the automagic syncing. He won’t get my sympathy. In fact, I hope this happens with a hypocritical politician first. It’ll probably be called “iPadgate.” Because that’s how the unimaginative hack press rolls.

The iTunes Match service is interesting, and I wonder how much of that $25/year will be divided up by the record labels? It’s also unclear to me if people will wind up owning those swapped-out higher-grade AAC files. This doesn’t matter to me except as an info point. iTunes Match is not a service I have any use for.

Only Apple could fill a glaring void — such as Camera finally being on the Lock Screen and using a Volume button for the shutter — and pass it off as innovation. That’s just Apple finally getting around to things it didn’t do earlier. The reaction to it should justifiably be, “It’s about $#@ing time!”

Cutting the cord between the iPhone/iPad and iTunes is also something that’s been needed. But I wonder what the result of that will be in practical terms. I’m not aware that someone buying an iPad has to agree to a TOS or T&C before being able to use it. Will that now change? As Nate of The Digital Reader learned, Barnes & Noble prevents people from using the new Nook Touch until they’ve agreed to read and abide by a long list of conditions. It’s as if B&N never sold you the device, they’ve licensed it to you. Will that happen with the iPad too? I don’t know. Maybe someone with an iPhone can chime in if that’s always been the case with that device. (It’s not like everyone would abide by it anyway; hence Cydia.)

Overall, Apple has plugged a lot of gaps and also introduced a hell of a lot of new things, which will make it even harder to resist buying either a Mac or an iOS device. While everyone expects “X” from Apple, Apple says, “No, we’re not at X yet, there are still many steps before we get to that and we’ll do all those first.”

And even so, that still puts them far ahead of everyone else.

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9 Comments

Filed under Apple: The Company

9 responses to “My Reaction To Apple’s WWDC Keynote

  1. I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a “personal iCloud” Time Capsule. It’s an obvious up sell from iCloud limitations, e.g., 1000 photos, 5 GB of documents, downloading but not streaming of music, and nothing about video or movies). Apple likes to sell hardware, but perhaps the message of “we are taking the cloud very seriously” would have been compromised by the perception of an additional hardware requirement on the user. Or maybe it just wasn’t ready.

    • mikecane

      Yeah, you’re right. Mentioning it would have muddied the message. Today was all about “It’s Free!” Had they thrown in an option that people needed to buy hardware, it would have confused everyone. Let’s hope.

  2. Ravi

    I don’t see the backlight control as a bad joke. I suspect it might be more of a “the apps we wanted to keep it away from are going, so now we’ll let everyone else use it”.

  3. Shock Me

    I’m more a fan of the computer as wireless synching hub myself given bandwidth restrictions. I’ve little need or confidence for remote things like that.

    But I’ll happily take the cord cutting and other features such as notifications. They are long overdue.

    I’m curious to see how they intend to handle video now that they’ve revealed their music strategy.

  4. Shock Me

    While I like the idea of a home server best, I wonder how many people are willing to purchase yet another piece of hardware to maintain and have it all work. Given the quality problems the first Time Capsules had as merely backup solutions, Apple may have decided to take that responsibility in their own hands as well.

    In my opinion they would be better served to spend the money on their own memory chip and display fab plants. But, if it functions reliably, iCloud could add value to the many iOS devices they have sold. IF.

    • mikecane

      Lion Server has been priced at a shocking $49.99. That’s $200 less than it was. I wonder if we’ll see a cheap Mac Mini? Or, disregarding Lion Server, see an Apple TV-like simple device for $100 that can act as a server — just plug in USB hard drive?

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