Alright, I’ll tell you right off the bat. I’m a massive Apple fanboy. I am among the ilk that think the world’s most exciting tech company walks on San Francisco Bay water. So you can imagine that whenever there is any kind of unveiling of the next manna from heaven, I’m going to view it with rose colored Bono glasses. Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) keynote was exponentially better this year. You’re just going to have to trust a heavily biased source on this one.
First of all, it’s ridiculous that any company can make such an affair so exciting. This is, after all, a glorified trade show for developers, AKA the people that make your favorite time wasting, social skill reducing sinkholes on your phone. When Apple started hosting these events twenty-five years ago, they were basically a series of workshops for coding nerds. Enter Steve Jobs and his lineage of product brainchildren. The keynote address then morphed into an annual presentation of that thing that you didn’t know you couldn’t live without just twenty minutes prior. It has only snowballed since then into the media frenzy it is today. Imagine if all the work in your office stopped for two hours because someone at a waste management convention was unveiling the new dumpster styles for 2014. It’s madness.
If you’ve gotten used to following these things over the years as I have, you’ve learned not to open up any live blogs until 10 minutes in if you want any actual news. The presentation is as self-congratulatory as a thirteen-year-old’s XBOX Live account. Shit finally gets real when Tim Cook says, “let’s talk about OS X.”
OS X 10.10 Yosemite
Changing OS X is a sensitive matter for the dedicated Mac user. What was once our favorite corner of the computing world is now a major operating system, and some us want to keep our pet desktop unsullied. The iOS-ification of OS X has been been a topic of scorn and relief alike. The bottom line that fans forget sometimes is that iOS devices make Apple insane amounts of money. Amounts that hand over fist surpass Macs. So of course design wizard Jonny Ive and world’s biggest Rush fan/head engineer Craig Federighi are going to mastermind a way to bring iOS familiarity into the Mac user experience.
I for one welcome our new iOS overlords. OS X, much like iOS before iOS 7, was getting stale. That being said, no one wanted a carbon copy iOS put onto the big screen. OS X Yosemite hits the nail on the head. And by nail, I mean the last nail in the skeuomorphic coffin. If Mavericks put a soft ban on soft linens and stitching, Yosemite obliterates the compasses, leather, and notepads that were still left.
If you already use an iOS device, you’ll see the similarities: the non-frosted glass translucency, the bright colors, the flat textures. But the icons remain perfectly Mac, not the rounded corner app squares people were fearing. Everything is just so fresh and so clean.
As for feature roll outs, most of Apple nation is floored. Devotees will remember years of rumors and leaked screenshots that only served to disappoint on keynote day when said rumor was nowhere to be found or that official announcement of the feature you wanted was already last month’s news. Chalk that one up to CEO Tim Cook’s pledge to “double down on secrecy.” When there’s a drought in rumors, Apple can finally wow the public again. Just typing that sentence hurts. We’re pressing all of these expectations upon an industry trade show, and year after year they deliver, but we’re not satisfied. We were out dazzling Apple with our own imaginations. Not this year.
Yosemite promises complete Continuity with iPhones and iPads. Seamlessly answer incoming iPhone calls using your Mac speakers. Send a text to even your heathen non-iPhone owning friends straight from your desktop. These were the features that should have been in place for years, but instead of rolling out this year’s impression of the Comic Book Guy, Apple fans are excited because we didn’t have enough lead time by way of the rumor mills to get into our normal jaded states.
Ok, iPhone users, you’ve had a good year to let the newness of iOS 7 wear off. Admit it, you love it. You wouldn’t go back to that shiny candied blister pack of a homescreen even if they paid you to. Good, because iOS 8 features almost no design changes. Since iOS 5, new iOS release numbers are like the opposite of the original Star Trek films: the even numbers aren’t as big of releases. This release essentially gives you a few feature bumps here and there, but ultimately sets the stage for Continuity with OS X. Until…
Good Lord, it’s finally here! Interactive notifications, you’re the drop of water I’ve spent seven years in the desert for. You mean to tell me I don’t have to jailbreak anymore just to text someone from the lockscreen?¹ High fives all around. This place is starting to look like NASA mission control after the Curiosity landing. By this place, I mean that lonely metaphorical space inside my head to which I relegate my Apple-related thoughts all day.
To bring the keynote to a close, Tim and crew rolled out all of the changes on the developer side of things. You know, the things this conference is supposed to cover. And I of course like to pretend to understand what’s going on. “Objective-c without the baggage of C?” Of course! I’ve been waiting for that! Who doesn’t hate C, amarite guys? I’ll be sure add ‘Learn Swift’ to my Reminders app.
I spout off this Apple apologist maxim like a broken record: “Apple isn’t worried about being first, they’re concerned with being best.” Most of these features have been community requests for years. Apple demonstrated once again their penchant for carefully delayed implementation. I am excited to see Yosemite’s overhaul to OS X and its integration with iOS 8, and expect it to fulfill my uppity demands. I’d expect nothing less from the company that somehow turned tech insider buzz into an international event.
Now hurry up and release the iWatch!
¹Just kidding, I’ll still jailbreak