Considering WWDC

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) begins next week and, as usual, the rumour mill as achieved maximum output. This is partly fuelled by Apple itself – they’ve been dropping heavy hints about ‘new product categories’ for some time now. A new product category wouldn’t accurately translate into a new iPhone or iPad model.

Sounds like something *completely* different. What could that be?

Home Automation

One rumour points to Apple’s first serious move into the home automation world. Think of your iPhone controlling your heating, air conditioning, lighting and security systems. Philips has already introduced lightbulbs that can be controlled by iPhones (the ‘Hue’ system) and Google’s ‘Nest’ has hit the headlines…though not always for the right reasons.

So it’s not infeasible that Apple could make a move in this space, especially if ‘many steps’ include more apps on iOS to make this easier – rather than Apple-specific products launched next week.

iWatch

What about an iWatch? Well, there’s been a lot of noise but not much detail. I don’t think we’ll see one of these before the Autumn, just in time for crazy-Christmas-shopping-season.

I think Apple will see how upcoming wearables from LG and Motorola are received and then, in typical fashion, launch something that says “Now *this* is how you do a watch!”.

iOS 8

This is all but certain. I’m a little out of the loop here as I’ve been an Android user (gasp!) for the last couple of months (more on that below). But I don’t think the next iteration of iOS will be as significant as the introduction of iOS 7. iOS 8 will most probably be a tidying-up exercise, with the introduction of some changes that users have been asking for.

But not everything – Apple never delivers everything users want. They know best. Allegedly.

Rumours point to an increased focus on health and health monitoring, which will be interesting to see. I use a Fitbit to track my (in)activity and Nike to track my runs. I’m unsure what iOS could include to make health monitoring more relevant and accessible.

OS X Mavericks

Mavericks was a great update to OS X. But it still has some rough edges (including Maps!) so it would be nice to see a meaty update to the OS to smooth these out. More and better interactivity with iOS would be welcome. But most of all, I’d like to see something done about iTunes.

I very rarely even start the app now as it’s such a slow-moving monster. I use Spotify on my iMac for music and Google Music when I’m on the move and dread clicking the iTunes icon.

New iPhones and iPads

The rumour mill has been working overtime on this. If we are to believe those ‘in the know’, Apple will announce two new iPhone models and small updates to the iPad line. The latter will receive fingerprint recognition, just like the iPhone 5S.

The former will appear as 4.7” and 5” screen sizes, as Apple finally realises that the reason so many people have bought Android phones has been for the increased screen real estate. Me included.

I’ll be interested to see what the combination of iOS 8 and a larger screen does to make the iPhone more like the Galaxy Note 3 I’ve been using since March. I’ve really enjoyed my switch to Android  but I’m not averse to making the return journey…if Apple delivers something that ticks all my boxes.

Namely:

  • Improved battery life
  • A 5” screen
  • Better inter-app sharing
  • Ability to choose default apps
  • Easier sharing between Macs and devices (bypassing the horrific iTunes!)
  • Better file management (through an iOS version of Finder)

Am I tempted?

I’m not chomping at the bit to return to the Apple fold as I’m really very happy with my Note 3 and my Nexus 7 tablet. Neither are *perfect*, but to be fair, neither was my iPhone 5S. Using Android has highlighted for me some of the many shortcomings inherent to iOS and the lack of user control that Apple have built in.

I love how, on my Note 3  I can chose the default email and calendar apps. I love how I can share data between any of my apps with a single click. I love the control Android gives me, should I want it. Apple doesn’t seem to trust me with my own devices. Daddy knows best.

The other factor is Google. Their next product launch will be announced at Google IO at the end of June. I’ll be interested to see what they announce in terms of Android (from ‘Kitkat’ to ‘Lollypop’?) and in terms of new tablets. I’m not putting my hand anywhere near my wallet until I can compare both sides.

Thankfully, a return to Apple would be very easy as the vast majority of my apps are cloud based and available on both platforms. Dropbox, gMail, Google Calendar, Twitter, Evernote etc.

After a move to Android, I’m unsure what could bring me back to Apple for mobile devices. I’m still a dedicated Apple laptop/desktop user, but I just have a better mobile experience with Android. And I’m not alone…

I’ll be tuning in to see the event, though probably late as I’m *one again* traveling for work. I can’t remember the last time I was at home for a WWDC announcement. Here’s hoping the crappy hotel wifi holds up for me to watch at least some of it.

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