Posted on Jun 5, 2017

WWDC 2017

Ah, the incrementalism continues…

Yes, my annual need it or not blog post continues. Without WWDC to prompt me, my blog would be completely bereft of newish content. I am reminded that I need to update this site a bit. My Flickr account has gathered dust and my recent reads and tunes listed to are a wee bit out of date. But my anticipation for the announcements to come to day? Well, I have pragmatist’s point of view and a tech-loving geek’s hope that there will indeed be at least one more thing that gets announced to make me gleeful.

The pragmatist in me says that we will see iOS, MacOS, watchOS and tvOS updates during today’s keynote. Yeah, that’s about it. Will they be earth shattering? Ditching all 32-bit app support in iOS 11 is a pretty big deal, but not for the casual user who’s favorite game will no longer work. That’s a hard sell, and I hope the developers of all the apps that I keep get warnings for are ready. I and most other folks will upgrade either immediately or as soon as a lust-inducing iPhone 8, 9, or X show up. There will be great strides made, I’m sure, but will there be game changing updates to any of the OSes? Probably not. But the incremental improvements are very important. I don’t think we’ll see anything earth shattering, but we’ll see a lot of things that wouldn’t have been possible without the foundation that’s been being built up for years. That goes for Siri too, which I expect will have a lot of biggish improvements, possibly enough to justify… wait, I’ll get to that under the hopeful geek portion of this post.

Hardware will be incrementally improved as well. Updated MacBooks and iPads… yes, more than likely. They’ll be faster, yes. Better, yes. Drool-inducing? No. And there won’t be anything from the iPhone or MacPro lines to make our hearts skip a beat either. The best possibility would be an updated iMac – but I think that’s a little way off, but happy if Apple were to surprise us with more than a speed bump.

Services… that’s really where things could be more interesting. Incremental improvements? Of course, but let’s see if there’s something bigger on the horizon.

Okay, let’s forget pragmatism now. What would rock my socks off today?

Software isn’t likely to do it. Sure, there could be a huge augmented reality play afoot, but that’s more likely to be announced alongside the new iPhone later this year. VR ain’t happening, and would also be more likely part of a new hardware push. An iTunes overhaul would be so welcome, but also unlikely. HomeKit for MacOS? Sure, why not. Some deluxe workflows for home automation would be easier to create and troubleshoot with a Mac UI. There might be a new app or two and I expect a lot of the innovation to be in how the various OSes interact with one another and with the cloud – which would lead to a discussion of services.

Hardware that would make me whip out a credit card? Will we see the Siri speaker? That would imply a huge leap forward for Siri’s capabilities. I’ll be a happy guinea pig and continue to put up with it deciding what it understood yesterday is nonsense today. Mac hardware excitement is coming later, although I’d love to see a desktop Magic Keyboard with the toucher strip. That would make me happiest of all. I think we may see that, and we may also see a revised AppleTV. What changes? How about 4k support? Okay, that’s not exciting, just expected. Siri Speaker built in? Alright, that’s more like it. New – wait, time for services.

I think we’ll see that rumored AppleTV cord cutter package today. There have been a few other underwhelming offerings here lately, and I think they maybe have there partners signed on the dotted line. I think we’ll get Amazon Prime Video on the AppleTV too. Increased cloud offerings with bigger storage options at better prices – wait, that’s still incremental. To be worthy of drool they would need to offer unlimited photo storage – you know, like Google already does. And maybe the Apple Music song limit for things stored in iTunes will get raised as high as Amazon already is. Hmm. We are still underwhelmed.

So, Siri, what would be a truly inspiring ‘one more thing’ for Apple to deliver today? I don’t think it exists just yet. I expect we’ll see a new MacPro next year, and I expect that to knock my socks off. This year I expect to have plenty of small new things to play with, a Siri Speaker to try (and try to justify), a new AppleTV and a new Magic Keyboard with TouchBar to add to my iMac. Past that, I really look forward to playing with some new refinements and then getting back to pining for new hardware to come.

Posted on Jun 13, 2016

Is there still some time for my annual WWDC predictions?

Of course there’s still time! Although I have to admit, I am ready to be underwhelmed this year.

Why? Well, because it is getting harder and harder to imagine what revolutionary idea could be unleashed on the world these days. And expectations have gotten to the point where if Tim Cook doesn’t announce a flying car that runs off of the emissions of other cars, turning all of our smog into lovely, breathable oxygen, then Apple’s stock will dive after the curtains fall on the keynote.

So what am I expecting? Evolutionary change. Slow, dull, but ultimately important small changes everywhere. I expect Mac OS X to become macOS, because I read the same rumor blogs that everyone else does now. macOS and iOS will continue to converge. I expect to hear all about new features across all of the OS products – macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. I don’t expect to hear about flyingcarOS for a while still, and I don’t expect much discussion of CarPlay. A mention, perhaps, but nothing earth shattering But I do expect that there will be a disproportionate amount of time spect talking about Apple Music as part of the updated OSes.

Services. Apple Music will get a major overhaul. The first gen product was nice, and I have kept paying for it past the free trial because I like being able to say “Hey Siri, play [obscure song] by [obscure artist]” and more often than not, hear that song. Makes commuting by car more tolerable. And yes, there will be a lot of discussion about Siri today. I expect that she will present part of the keynote.

Apple TV… won’t get the overhaul it needs. Why? Because it isn’t about hardware at this point, it’s about the business model that TV – especially cable – is clinging to. So no revolutionary service announcement where I can subscribe to all the channels I want and none that I don’t, with over the air live stations in the mix to be delivered online. So, cord cutting will continue at current paces until there isn’t enough money in cable television, and the providers collapse and become straight up ISPs. But by this time next year, I expect I’ll be using a patchwork setup of Netflix, HBONow, Hulu, SlingTV, Starz, CBS All-Access and iTunes to entertain myself. Especially since Netflix produces the best shows around now. Will Apple buy Netflix? Well, they totally missed out on LinkedIn so…

iCloud is ripe for exploitation. Will this be the year that Apple finally goes big? Part of me really hopes so – and another part of me is sick of people signing up for things with my iCloud.com email address. What would be ideal in this space? Make people forget that DropBox exists. Back up all of my photos for free. Continue moving everything that is on my computer into the cloud so that when I pick up any device I own, I have access to everything I use everywhere. So, basically, iterate on what is there until I can’t live without it. Best thing they can do here has nothing to do with new features, and everything to do with reliability.

I think we’ll see something about the next gen Apple Watch. This is a developer show, and I expect Apple to get around to having all apps run native on the watch. Tell them now, update the SDK and let them at it. I love my Apple Watch – but the apps that run via the iPhone are… painful. Pointless. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this area.

The one area that might be ripe for revolution? Home Kit. The home automation market is disjointed, and awkward. Why do I want any of these devices? Why don’t I want all of them? I do, I do, but it isn’t clear how this is all going to work out. I am intrigued by the Amazon Echo, Nest, Hunter Douglas smart blinds, Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator… but I don’t want to kluge these kinds of things together in a way that is sloppy. I want it all nicely integrated. Do I want an Apple refrigerator? No, but I want Apple to figure out how to make all these things play nice with my iPhone. What does that look like? I don’t know, but I keep hoping that someone at Apple does.

Hardware… new Apple Watch? Maybe, but I keep thinking that they’ll do a two year cycle instead of one for the watch. New iOS devices? No – what would we have to look forward to in September if they did that? New monitor? I hope so. New Mac Pro? That would be lovely to pair with the new monitor, and the Mac Pro is seemingly destined to always be out of date. It would be lovely for them to establish a cadence for Pro updates. I’d love to know that every January – or whenever – I should expect to salivate over the most cutting edge specs and features at outrageous prices. New Macbook is the most likely hardware to show up. Contextual toucher replacing the function row of keys? Color me intrigued. And, again, this is a developer show. Give them the reigns and let’s see what is possible.

So yeah, evolutionary. Nothing earth shattering. That will have to wait a while until we realize where we have arrived. This is a lovely technological peak to surveil the future from and decide where to go next. Is Apple ready to show us the next peak? I don’t expect so, but I would love to be surprised. Oh, to heck with it, just sign me up for an iFridge and have it delivered by an iTruck! Let’s go visit the future!

Posted on Jun 8, 2015

WWDC 2015 Annual Predictions

Like a groundhog, once a year here I am, predicting the imminent future. As in, what is Apple going to tantalize us with this year? Or, alternatively, what do I wish they’d reveal? My list has a few repeats every year, and it seems that one of my favorite unicorns is about to be spotted, while another has vanished completely.

It seems that Apple won’t be releasing an actual television anytime soon. This rumor was always a bit confusing to me. A TV is ajust a big flat panel, and all the smarts that you can put into it and upgrade on a regular basis won’t justify buying a new 80″ TV every year. I’m willing to let it go. Especially since the iCar is everyone’s new favorite Apple Unicorn.

For me, if Apple finally reveals an AppleTV SDK it’ll be the culmination of a long and persistent prediction path for me. Of course, rumors say that the new hardware won’t be forthcoming, but I kind of figured that would end up launching closer to August anyway. Makes more sense for them to launch a cable replacement service then anyway. And when there is still no SDK at the end of today’s announcements? Well, I will be sad but no longer surprised. I’ll take comfort in seeing a WatchOS SDK instead.

I do think we’ll hear about it though, as part of a focus on Home Kit. We won’t see any Apple branded Home Kit devices, but I’m sure we’ll see some boring third party products that do the same thing as every other smart home product. Yes, IFTT will let me have Hue light bulbs turn purple whenever the Lakers win. Like that’s been a frequent occurrence lately. I still haven’t bought a Nest, and that is the one Smart Home device that I can justify as both useful and attractive. I am holding off on this whole smart home movement in the hope of avoiding a box in my garage filled with ugly, bulky smart home plugs.

Apple Music? Sure, why not. Because there’s nothing like introducing a platform to developers that they can only consume and not integrate into. But hey, that means the possibility of an appearance by Taylor Swift is on the table. I fully expect that Google Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and Tidal will all end up being very similar services with a few really annoying exclusives as differentiators. Just like Amazon and Netflix now, 95% of the content will be completely duplicative so that you feel stupid paying for more than one.

Speaking of Netflix, if Apple is going full bore into streaming music, how long until they move into streaming video? Do they roll their own or do they buy Netflix?

Will we see new iPads? Nah, that’ll be part of the annual iOS device launch around September.

No, this year we’re looking at OS updates for iOS and Mac OS. Lots of stability improvements, a font swap from Helvetica Neue to San Francisco, and a lot of small changes to clear away things that annoy users. One thing that I think we’ll see is better notification integration between the different platforms. In other words, if I already saw the notification on my iPhone, I don’t need to see it on my iPad and Macbook too. I think there will be a lot of fixes in that vein that will smooth the customer experience rather than expanding it.

One thing I’d love to see but won’t? A single place to enter your username and password for your cable provider. This would be ideal for the current model where there are a plethora of apps on iOS and AppleTV that require the same cable credentials in order to work. Which is  patently absurd and stupid. But with Apple rolling out their own cable replacement later this year? Why improve the crappy model now? On a related note, I’ll really miss Comcast not at all.

I also expect a pretty big focus on improved Maps. Apple doesn’t like being the butt of jokes, and they know that they’ll have to have a Maps product that is exponentially better than the competition in order to overcome this particular blemish. Especially if they really are planning on releasing an AppleCar somewhere down the road.

All in all I expect a pretty low key event. So of course something magical is bound to be revealed.

 

Posted on May 20, 2014

2014 3rd Annual WWDC Predictions

Okay, so really, it’s my 3rd annual wish list. Especially since I’ll be trotting out the items rom my previous lists that have yet to see the light of day. I won’t be including iTV, iWatch or any iPhone or iPad updates. Those will all come later in the year. Well, unless the iWatch and the glorious rainbow unicorn that is iTV fail to materialize. Again. On to my shopping list! I mean, predictions.

1. AppleTV SDK. I know, I am setting myself up for disappointment again, 3rd year running. 1st rule of guru-dom is that you keep predicting the inevitable because inevitably you’ll be right! Also, new hardware and an updated UI/OS. AppleTV works better than Roku (haven’t tried Amazon’s Johnny come lately Fire) but the UI for Netflix on Roku is prettier. And it has Pandora, Amazon Prime, and a bunch of other stuff. With Amazon entering the fray, Apple will finally open up the toolbox and let developers close the gap for them.

2. iMac 4k/Retina. It is time. Why? Because I am looking to replace my iMac finally, and want the resolution to be as lovely as a MacBook’s. Sure, I could just splurge for a Mac Pro, but I’m not working at home enough to justify it. Plus, what 4k monitor would I get? I need the constraint of an iMac. Otherwise, I’ll just keep spending until I have to decide between a maxed out Mac Pro with 4k monitors and RAID boxes dangling off of it.

3. Of course, if Apple takes the guess work out of huge equation by introducing their own 4k displays, that might tip the scale.

4. iOS8 will be shown off but not released until the iPhone 6 in September. Some interesting stuff, but nothing too major that hasn’t already been talked to death in the rumor mills. HealthBook? Sure. But new hardware will lead to new software features – and we’ll hear about those in September. NFC, solar, 42″ iPad, holographic chess… Not at WWDC.

5. Mac OS X Irvine. Okay, it’ll probably be OS X Yosemite, but someday my little hometown will get its due! Jong Ive’s fingerprints will be all over this one. I expect this to be a pretty major overhaul. And I expect to be surprised.

6. Since this is a wish list, I’m throwing in a redo of iBooks for Mac OS X. How putrid was this app that ate all of my ePub files last year? Makes me long for Microsoft Bob. Sure, Bob was terrible, but it didn’t make things worse. You could get rid of it. iBooks is the first product from Apple that makes me angry. I like to put my own art, years and categories on books. Like I do with everything that still gets to live in iTunes. Someday I’d like to see my Kindle and iBooks and books that (shocking!) I bought somewhere other than Apple or Amazon live on the same virtual bookshelf too. But I’m not holding my breath. Hey, somebody in Cupertino, fix this.

7. The death of iTunes Radio? Nah, not yet. The Beats acquisition should get some air time, but no real information as to what it really means. Lots of talk about how everyone really looks forward to working together and making the best music experience imaginable. I have to admit, this one doesn’t move me much yet. I would have been more excited to see them buy Twitter. Or Yahoo. Pinterest. Apple makes great hardware, and has a pretty awesome content delivery service. They don’t do social too well on their own, though they have done a better job of integrating it into their core products. Actually, forget I said I wanted them to buy Twitter. I would rather be able to integrate a whole bunch of services really well rather than just have a couple of Apple approved services. See: AppleTV.

8. Huge emphasis in iOS 8 on maps. I had Apple Maps direct me to a hospital in Silicon Valley last year. It had me drive by the hospital in a way that didn’t let me see that I was passing it, and told me I had arrived a few blocks later on the wrong side of the street. True story. So, a big focus here, with integrated transit being big too. No flash, no dazzle, just reliable information and true eases of use.

9. App updates for Mac OS X Irvine. Can’t overhaul the OS and leave the apps looking like yesterday’s news. Just ask Scott Forstall.

10. One last thing… Seems like a slow news year. Perfect time to do something unexpected. I’ll go with something in the Nest / WeMo / Hue range of product types. It isn’t happening, but this is my wish list, and I want to tinker with home automation.

Tune in June 2nd and laugh at how inaccurate my predictions are!

Posted on Jun 10, 2013

WWDC Predictions 2013

Can I just trot out last year’s predictions and call it a day? Really, I’m not so much predicting as I am making a wish list, and since last year’s wishes went as unanswered as my 9th birthday wish for my very own Death Star did… Let’s be optimistic and blow those candles out again!

  1. Apple TV SDK. More important now than ever since all of my toddler’s favorites just migrated to Amazon Instant Video. Come on, Apple. Don’t make me buy a Roku.
  2. A technology I lusted for – I mean predicted – last year will finally show itself today: 802.11ac/Gigabit Wifi.
  3. CPU upgrades too. Haswell, your time has come. Better battery life and enough power to drive larger retina displays are on their way.
  4. The previous two items mean it is time to upgrade some hardware. New MacBooks with Gigabit Wifi will be nice, but how about a Gigabit Wifi and Retina Display iMac? Same for the Mac Mini and Cinema Displays would be nice too.
  5. Mac Pro. You have the attention of the biggest geeks in your community. Give them something to lust for.
  6. iPhones and iPads probably won’t get updated but wait a couple months for new ones with iOS7, new and updated apps, and Gigabit Wifi.
  7. New AppleTV, Airport and Time Capsules with Gigabit Wifi. AppleTV update will be a couple months away, so that Amazon, HBO and others can get their apps ready.
  8. Okay, so I’m obviously lusting for bigger retina displays, faster wifi, and AppleTV Apps, but what about the core of what they’ll show off? Like iRadio, OSX and iOS7?
  9. iRadio. Sure, why not. You could just put Spotify and Pandora on AppleTV and I’d be happy, but if you can do better, cool.
  10. Mac OS X 10.9? iOS 7? Dazzle me, Johnny Ive.
  11. And as long as you are upgrading MacOSX, how about showing some love for iLife and iWork too?
  12. New toys? iWatch should arrive this fall and iTV by Xmas. This is after all a wish list.

Until next year!

Posted on Jun 11, 2012

WWDC Predictions

I’ve always thought that Mac Guru would be a nice gig. Especially for a news or rumor site. Prognosticating can be fun! And whatever doesn’t come to pass will come along later. What? No 3D holographic chess on the iPhone? They must still be working out the bugs. Don’t worry, C3PO will fear the wookie’s wrath soon enough.

So what gets announced in a couple of hours this morning? Mountain Lion and iOS6 are obvious at this point. Features? Siri on iPads. Auto app updates would be nice. I’m pretty tired of constantly seeing that little red circle on the App store. It’s like a game that I am constantly losing. Resolution independence in OSX. Facebook everywhere.

Hardware is coming, it seems. A complete rev of the Mac line? Sure, why not. Nice big splash for Tim Cook’s first keynote. Retina displays across the board, along with USB3 and 802.11ac gigabit wifi. Ivy bridge CPUs. New Airport products too.

Toys, toys, toys!

But this is a developer conference, and the most important things will be what will be possible for geeks to code. Like Siri integration for 3rd party apps. How to make your apps take advantage of resolution independence. And an AppleTV SDK. I’m betting that we’ll see Pandora, Spotify and Angry Birds on AppleTV demos.

That’s a pretty hefty slate for one day. Probably a lot of wishful thinking on my part. But even if all of that were to take place there will still be some pundit complaining that the iPhone 5 wasn’t announce, no 7″ iPad and definitely cries of alarm that the iTV isn’t coming and that obviously Apple has failed in their objective to take over your living room so best to sell your stock.

Should be fun regardless. Wish I was going this week just for the lunch presentation by JJ Abrams. Oh, and all the cool code. I think I need to get back to attending again.

Posted on Oct 6, 2011

2 Years

It has been a little more than two years since I last wrote anything on this blog. Sorry, but a lot has been happening out there. I’ve still been blogging over on Social Edge, but everything else has been restricted to quick tweets, Facebook posts, and Flickr pics.

So, what has been happening? I turned forty for one thing. Right after that I got to see an ultrasound picture of what would turn out to be my daughter. As you can imagine, I’ve had my hands quite full as a result, both literally and figuratively. The night she arrived was quite a surprise. So much so that I ended up being the one to deliver her, right at home. The past year has been a blur of giddiness, joy, diapers and amazement.

Professionally, I have made a change as well. I am still running Social Edge, but I have a new gig as well. I am the CTO for a startup gaming company. More on that soon…

Otherwise, I’ve done some traveling, and reconsidering of what I want my life to be. Change takes time, but change is the only real constant we have. Tomorrow won’t look like today, and I am busy trying to shape a different, more interesting tomorrow for myself and for the people I love. Here’s to the next two years, and the two after that, etc.

Posted on Sep 20, 2009

Fall will be here soon

The summer went by way too fast, but I’m looking forward to the fall. Well, parts of it at least. That part where everything that has grown in the yard for the past six months or so turns brown gradually and continually, and covers the ground in a manner that requires cleaning up – that part I could do without. I need a yard that doesn’t require maintenance. SoCal did that to me. Grooming, sure, but not edging is different from mass pruning and raking. I’d prefer to have a yard that could just grow and grow. A mountain yard. That’d be nice.

So what does the fall have in store? I’ll be in SoCal next weekend, Big Sur in November and a European cruise is in the planning stages for December. Me on a boat. Always a good time.

Otherwise, there’s the constant striving for improvement that keeps me busy day in and day out. So much work to do! Speaking of which, I’d better get back to it.

Posted on Aug 22, 2009

Slight Site Update

More and more of my digital life takes place elsewhere, so I’ve updated this little corner of it a tad. Flickr photos, YouTube links, Twitter… if you can’t find me or what my thought o’ the moment is, you’re really not trying too hard.

The latest iWeb ’09 is nice enough, though I’m still tempted to swap it out for a WordPress site and really dig into it. But this is simple and I don’t need to spend that much time on it. Sure, there’s no iWeb client for the iPhone, but that’s what Twitter is for, right?

Maybe I’ll set up a WordPress blog and then port the RSS over here. Then I’d have the best of both worlds.

Posted on Aug 22, 2009

Summer distractions

The summer was filled with fabulous distractions.

A trip through the pacific northwest turned into one long used book store excursion. Oh, and the whale watching, there was that too. Sunset on the beach in Oregon. All good.

My first trip to Hawaii was fabulous. And yes, as indicated by the photo above, I learned how to surf. The most telling part of my trip to Honolulu, et al., is that I can’t wait to go back.

Now, with fall approaching, it’s time to get back to business. I’ve allowed the status quo to persist for far too long. And you know how I hate the status quo. It bores me. I would rather set everything ablaze and start from scratch than accept that this is as good as it gets.  It can’t possibly be. I simply refuse to believe that things can’t be better. And so I go forth to prove it to myself.

So, what changes are forthcoming? I have no idea yet. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have a few notions. A few short term, some long term, some small and others large. It’s going to get fun around here again. For now, you’ll just have to stay tuned. I promise, it won’t be boring.