“Can’t Innovate Any More, My Ass” Part II: A WWDC ’14 Postlude

Let’s rename WWDC to “Apple Super Bowl.” The company that never left is on the top of its game and ran an amazing play yesterday. Apple, fearless, full of bravado and confidence, went on to showcase a series of one of the better product and developer announcements in its history. It was a truly historic WWDC keynote. Fully packed with announcements and for the first time Tim Cook didn’t break-down the traditional sales and stores bit. Straight to what matters.

Apple yesterday went ballistic. Among others, it announced:

  • Mac OS X Yosemite
  • iOS 8
  • A new programming language called Swift
  • Continuuity
  • Touch ID to third-party apps
  • HomeKit APIs
  • HealthKit APIs
  • iMessages improvements
  • App Store improvements (App Bundles)
  • iOS 8 apps can “talk to each other”
  • Siri improvements (and Shazam integration)
  • New Photos app
  • Family Share for iOS 8
  • QuickType
  • AirDrop between OS X and iOS
  • iCloud Drive

New features obviously don’t stop here. There are tons of other stuff that Apple didn’t share during the keynote that will get shipped with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.

But that all pales in comparison to the undercurrent for all these changes: Apple has a newfound confidence in itself. It’s at the top of its game, and it knows it.

Craig Hockenberry nailed it. Much like Craig Federighi did. Apple went “full Apple” yesterday and thermonuclear on everyone else. Groundbreaking software (Yosemite and Continuuity, especially) which paves the way for amazing new hardware later this year. This tight-knit integration and complete control of exceptional hardware and software, which we saw yesterday, is exactly what puts Apple in a massively better position than any other company. Apple isn’t skating where the puck is going to be—it creates a whole new level of the game altogether. These announcements will allow Apple to go beyond its current lead against its competitors1 and obsolete them altogether.

Apple needs an iWatch sooner rather than later, or the company will risk losing its innovative edge to rivals, analysts say.

“They only have 60 days left to either come up with something or they will disappear,” said Trip Chowdhry, managing director at Global Equities Research. “It will take years for Apple’s $130 billion in cash to vanish, but it will become an irrelevant company … it will become a zombie, if they don’t come up with an iWatch.”

John Gruber linked to this CNBC piece on March 20, 2014. Wolfram Alpha says it’s been 75 days since March 20. Shouldn’t we be worried? Apple analysts are the lost brothers of the Rapture apologists. They always predict Apple’s doomsday only for it to not happen. What a surprise. Who’s the “Haunted Empire” now?

There was no iWatch, no Apple TV, no MacBook updates—no new hardware at all. And, if in fact, Apple was turned over to an ace team of pundits, analysts, and journalists to run, it would be bankrupt by the spring of next year. No one who really understands Apple expected an iWatch to be announced yesterday. Or perhaps ever.

Apple reassured us of its ethos and product credo yesterday and that we can still believe in the Cupertino Way. “We don’t make concepts; we make products.” The burn was subtle. “We’re engineers and artists. Craftsmen and inventors. We sign our work. […] And it means everything.” What happened yesterday was majestic and a preamble for the future.

Apple is doing what Steve wanted: not remaining static in the wake of his death. That’s the way forward.

  1. Which competitors Apple carefully ignored making yesterday’s announcements even more impressive. Much like saying “Guys, I know you really dislike me, but I don’t really care at all. I really don’t. I have so much great stuff going I literally don’t have time to waste on you. Take your plastic phones and kthxb.”