I did tune into Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Development Conference) that aired on Monday. The most amazing thing for me was the size of the crowd in attendance. The announcements, not so much.
There were several announced updates of the Apple software. However, I saw nothing in the hardware area that would drag me into the store.
In many ways, it continued to convince me that Apple has no real strategic leader who can chart a winning direction for the company.
The hardware announcements amounted to processor advances. However, we are getting to the point where the average person doesn’t use 50% of the capability of the compute power they have. While the software advances were nice to see, I will get them on my current Apple MacBook Pro and iPad.
Apple did announce a new iMac Pro. What was not mentioned, was that this announcement really shows the abandonment of the Apple Mac Pro that Apple announced in 2013 to great fanfare, saying that Apple has not lost its ability to innovate. Now, just four years later without any upgrades, that device is being pushed to the side in favor of an all in one unit.
I bet the people that forked out $5,000 are a little peeved. The new iMac Pro comes in with similar pricing and obviously is aimed at professional users and I wonder how large that market is.
The other hardware announcement was the Apple Home Pod. This is Apple’s voice activated assistant. They tried to show it as an innovative whole home music system that integrates with their Home Kit for smart homes.
It had better show up with some very significant software to gain any market traction. Being priced at $350, you really have to be an Apple addict to buy one. You can buy an Amazon Echo Dot for $49 and connect it to a better speaker than the apple for a whole lot less.
Both Amazon Echo and Google Home have a huge head start in the AI market that will be driving the Smart Home market.
However, the smart home market is still very young and Apple can play a part if it is able to provide a more secure environment than Amazon or Google. Still, Apple is a little late, to the party and there is no way I would shell out $350 for an Apple Home Pod. Give me an Amazon Echo Dot combined with a decent speaker.
Bottom line for me, the Apple WWDC did nothing to attract new buyers. Smart Home buyers will stick with the Amazon or Google products. The whole home music buyers will stick with SONOS, Bose or real music products. Current Apple product users were not presented with any reason to upgrade, and users of other platforms were not presented with any reason to change.
Lastly, a disappointing part of the Apple WWDC was the announcement that Michele Obama would be speaking in a session the following day. I hate to see politics enter into technology.