Week in a Nutshell #22

Welcome to the twenty-second episode of the 'Week in a Nutshell’ series,

Last week, it was Apple's turn to dominate the tech news with the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) following the Google I/O conference that took place a week before. This year's WWDC was all about the next versions and the new features of iOS, MacOS X and watchOS.

Headlines:

  1. Apple Announces Proactive Assistant, Its Google Now Competitor
  2. Apple announces OS X El Capitan
  3. Get ready for Apple Watch 2.0
  4. Apple announces its streaming music service, Apple Music
  5. Yep, Apple Maps Will Include Transit Directions In iOS 9

Apple Announces Proactive Assistant, Its Google Now Competitor

Proactive is one of the new features that will come along with iOS9. Apple is investing in Proactive to support Siri and take it to the next level to compete with Google Now. However, by looking at the Proactive use cases that were demonstrated during the event, I can easily say that Apple is trying to play a feature catch up game with Google Now. For example, Proactive can analyze your emails and calendar event and based on that data it can send you a notification like "You should leave now if you'd like to make it on time for your event.". Frankly speaking, I've been using this functionality in Google Now for maybe more than 2 years now. I believe recently launched "Now on Tap" feature for Google Now will help Google Now to get one step ahead of Siri. If you'd like to get more information about "Now on Tap", please feel free to have a look at my previous post.

Siri got us all excited when it was first launched. However, I think Siri is losing it magic against Google Now due to lack of innovation. We'll see if Proactive can turn the tide for Siri.


Apple announces OS X El Capitan

Apple stopped naming the Mac OS X versions after big cats beginning with Mavericks. Next Mac OS X version, El Capitan was announced at WWDC. Previous version, Yosemite had shown great signs of convergence of iOS and Mac OS X and I think it is clear that El Capitan also follows the same trend.

Apple stated that there will be significant performance improvements and new features especially for the Spotlight search functionality. I'll play the devil's advocate here and I think it is fair to say that El Capitan falls a bit short on bringing breakthrough new features to Mac OS X. 

Apple shared an interesting statistics. Mac OS X Yosemite adoption across Mac users has reached to 55%. I believe this is a very impressive adoption rate for an operating system launched a year ago. Microsoft will also follow the same "free upgrade" approach starting with Windows 10. I'm very curious to see what the Windows 10 adoption rate will be after a year of its launch.


Get ready for Apple Watch 2.0

I think maybe the most important news from the WWDC conference were the new updates coming to Apple Watch operating system and the watchOS2 SDK. This new SDK will allow developers to develop native apps for Apple Watch and fully use the its hardware and software functionalities such as accelerometer, audio, video, taptic engine, HealthKit and etc.

I believe this new SDK will enable developers to create Apple Watch apps with compelling user experience and also to be more creative.


Apple announces its streaming music service, Apple Music

iTunes was lagging behind compared to music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Rdio and Google Music. Apple is trying to close the gap and catch up with these competitors by launching its own music streaming service, Apple Music.

Apple mentioned that Apple Music will be available for Android devices as well. I believe this will be a first for Apple. It is interesting to see that Apple challenges one of its core principles of having a closed ecosystem around tightly integrated hardware and software. In addition, Apple Music has an advantage from a pricing perspective. It will provide 3 months of free trial for new users and the family plan up to 6 people will cost $14.99 per month. I think it will not be too long until other services like Spotify start matching this pricing points.


Yep, Apple Maps Will Include Transit Directions In iOS 9

Apple launched its mapping and navigation service Apple Maps in 2012 and it immediately replaced Google Maps as the default app. During its first days, Apple Maps received many criticism because it was way below the quality standards  that we expect from an Apple product or service. It has been 3 years since its launch, it is fair to say that there have been significant improvements to Apple Maps but I still believe that Google Maps is the superior product in this segment. 

Apple announced that Apple Maps will start providing transit directions for 20 cities. Google Maps has been providing transit directions since 2007 and as of today it supports transit directions in more than 18,000 cities across 64 countries

I believe we all get used to these events where Apple announces these product launches and updates as if Apple has reinvented the wheel.


We came to the end of the twenty-second episode of ‘Week in a Nutshell’ series. If you enjoyed this post, I'd be happy if you could comment, share, like and/or recommend it. 

Thanks,
Birkan