WWDC 2012 Musings

Just some random thoughts on the WWDC keynote.

Got to hand it to Apple, in that despite the huge build up of anticipation and numbers of rumours floating round, they managed to pull off the keynote without a huge backlash of disappointment. Mainly by producing a pretty spectacular number of announcements all paced at the right time.

Quickly skipping past my predictions, the core announcements were a refresh of the MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros, a next generation MacBook Pro with Retina Display, Mountain Lion and iOS6.

The masterstroke was to introduce “One More Thing” only a quarter of the way into proceedings. After announcing some speed bumps and price reductions for the current line up, Apple dramatically introduced a new model under covers. At that point, all the disappointment of Apple not refreshing the entire laptop line with new processors, new form factor and retina displays were dismissed in an instant as the new beast was unveiled. A brand new “next generation” MacBook Pro – completely redesigned and re-imagined from scratch. Thin, extremely powerful and with the hugely anticipated retina display.

Game over!

Apple could have finished the keynote right there and everyone would be ecstatic.

It’s so obvious when you think about it. No way could Apple refresh the entire line, that would be madness. But a single new machine brimming with new technology and connectivity. The introduction and timing was a masterstroke.

If you’re a regular follower to my blog, you’ll know that I’ve pretty much switched to the 11″ MacBook Air as my main production machine. I’m still happy with the arrangement but I have been waiting for the revisions to the range, mainly to upgrade the processor speed, the RAM and perhaps a bigger screen. With the introduction of the next generation MacBook Pro, I think I’ve found the ideal combination of speed and portability. So immediately after the keynote, I placed an order for this configuration:

  • 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
  • 512GB Flash Storage

Not cheap, but less than I would have spent actually going to WWDC which was originally planned.

Will keep you posted on my thoughts once it arrives and I put it through its paces.

The rest of the keynote covered Mountain Lion and iOS 6.

Some new features in Mountain Lion and Apple are aggressively pushing it as a must have upgrade – just $19.99 and available from next month. For it to be so close to WWDC, you have to think that it may have been targeted for release at WWDC and slipped. Some solid new features, well worth upgrading for, but it remains to be seen just how many people will be excluded from upgrading due to machine limitations. It was surprising to me to see the new Power Nap feature only being available on the most modern machines.

iOS6 also delivered some pretty neat features. The new Maps feature looks a solid 1.0 release but I remain to be convinced that the “Flyover” feature is nothing more than eye candy. and extremely limited at the initial release. Still, Apple must be applauded for delivering such a enormous undertaking as rolling out your own mapping solution. Google mapping has an enormous head start over Apple so it may take Apple a while to produce a truly comparable service.

Some big updates to Siri too, especially in its functionality and coverage – but Sports? Meh ;-)

The application I think will be a sleeper hit and will probably mature into something that will be seen as revolutionary is the new “PassBook”. Most definitely Apple’s first foray into turning the iPhone into your electronic wallet or payment system – I expect big things from “PassBook” in the future.

There’s so much to cover in the keynote I’m going to leave it at that for now, except to say I was shocked to see the earlier rumours of iOS 6 not being available for the iPad1 come true. iOS6 is available for the 3GS but not the iPad 1? That doesn’t seem right to me, although out of the two, the 3GS is still the only one still on sale.

The big omission was the non appearance of the Mac Pro, although it did receive a minor speed bump following the keynote. No Thunderbolt or USB3. Apparently, there are technical reasons for this, all not under Apples control, so I’ll give them a let on this for now. I find it interesting that they didn’t kill it stone dead, and that leads me to think that they still have plans for the Mac Pro line, now is just not the time.

My 2012 WWDC Predictions

WWDC in three days and I’m not going!

It was a deliberate decision on my part, one I think I’m now regretting.

It’s traditional to have a punt at predications before the major WWDC keynote, so I’ll have a go.

My major predication is that there will be much moaning, gnashing of teeth and cries of anguish from the Mac rumour sites. Regardless what Apple do announce, there is no way they can actually launch or announce all the products currently being touted by the rumour sites.

It’s just impossible.

So this is my take on what will make it into the WWDC keynote on Monday.


If there ever was a safe bet, this is the one. It’s been 12 months since the iOS 5 feature set was announced and we’ve heard nothing since. Apple may be struggling to pick the low hanging fruit of new features this time round, as iOS is pretty mature and fully featured.

One thing we will see (as confirmed by Googles rushed mapping event earlier in the week) is that Apple will be touting their own Mapping solution in iOS. They’ve made the necessary acquisitions of technology and people, and they’ve had a few years to work on it, so I think its time has come.

We’ll also see Siri move out of it’s beta status and into full blown status on both the iPhone and the iPad. It’s probably time that Apple opened up the APIs and let 3rd party developers in. Can’t think of a better place to do this than at WWDC.

The New iPhone

They’ll be some surprises but it’s unlikely that they’ll announce the new iPhone.

However, they’ve not said it wouldn’t be there – not like last year. They made sure expectations for the new iPhone announcement at WWDC were quashed last year by some carefully released leaks. Not so much this year, everyone is just expecting to see the new iPhone in the autumn. There’s lots of talk about a new screen resolution and we’re starting to see some credible video’s of new “alleged” iPhone parts coming out. Apple were hit last year by a slow down in iPhone sales leading up to the launch of the iPhone 4S. It damaged their projections.

What if this year they decide to bring the iPhone back into a summer release schedule?

If the developers need to recode Apps to accommodate a new screen resolution and the SIRI API is opened up, these need to be discussed at WWDC.

But what would that leave for Autumn?

A revamp of the iPod brand with the new “entertainment” iPod – the 7″ iPad Mini (or now the new iPod touch) plus the Apple TV.

I’m going out on a bit of a limb here but the new iPhone may make a surprise appearance at WWDC.

Mountain Lion

Another safe bet. This is unusual in that Apple haven’t publicly demo’d Mountain Lion yet. It was announced via the Apple website and some carefully orchestrated one to one sessions. So we may well get to see a peek at Mountain Lion – but of as yet unannounced features. We most certainly will get a release date.


Yes, Yes, Yes – Mountain Lion is the release where the other shoe drops and we get to see the full extent of Apples iCloud strategy. This will be the full vision of iCloud and one where the Mac gets to play on an equal footing with iOS. Expect to see new iCloud enabled versions of iWork and iLife released with Mountain Lion but I don’t think that they will demo at WWDC, unless to show developers how great Apps can be with proper iCloud integration.

New Mac Laptops

Lot’s of talk about new Mac laptops being launched at WWDC – I’m starting to think it won’t happen. They will appear either as a soft launch after WWDC or as a combined Mountain Lion/MacBook Pro launch. Remember, Lion launched with new MacBook Airs ISTR. It would be great to see them, but I don’t think they will have time to include them in the keynote.

Apple TV

No actual Apple TV, they may hold any Apple TV announcements back until the Autumn. However, I would not be surprised to see a Developer SDK made available during WWDC with the requisite sessions for developers.

One More Thing

OK, I’ll go out on a limb again here and say the one more thing for this years WWDC keynote will be:

The New Mac Pro

There, I said it!

Where better to launch the new Mac Pro than at the developers conference – imagine the howls of delight! I previously pontificated on the spec of the new Mac Pro but I think multiple SSDs and Thunderbolt will figure heavily in a new design, with a radical new form factor.

So there you have it, my predictions for WWDC 2012

To be taken with the necessary quantity of salt!