The World Wide Developers Conference, probably the largest Apple-run event of the year since the Cupertino-based brand pulled out of MacWorld San Francisco, is quickly approaching. The event is set to run from June 7-11.
This is usually the time that CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage at the opening keynote to present the company’s sales reports, product achievements, and more importantly, the next iPhone. But recent activities at One Infinite Loop have left many die-hard Apple fans with mixed emotions, as their once-revered brand has taken a turn for the worse.
We could attribute this decline in brand image to the loss of the prototype version for the next iPhone, rumoured to be called the iPhone 4G, in a bar near the company’s main campus. Before this event, Apple was famous for its Fort Knox-rivaling sense of security. Employees have been rumored to work on the next generation of iGadgets under strict security conditions: 24-hour camera monitoring, working underneath boxes covered in black cloth, and having to switch on a red warning light if a prototype is exposed. Many lambasted this as being “ridiculous”, but at the end of the day it ensured top-notch quality products; trend-setting devices in the tech world.
Then there’s the Apple vs. Adobe debacle: Adobe creates a 3rd-party development tool, utilizing Flash technology, to allow developers to create apps for the iPhone OS. Apple suddenly comes out with a new developer policy stating that apps made with such 3rd-party code would not be accepted for their vague review process.
Adobe criticizes Apple of not supporting developer freedom, and confining software makers to using only one set of development tools. Apple, in response, posts a lengthy article written by Mr Jobs himself talking about how Apple is wanting to embrace “open web standards” with HTML 5 — in my opinion totally evading the whole point of Adobe’s argument. That’s why I was happy to see Adobe’s new advertising campaign, the “We ? Apple, but we also love developer freedom”, which is being aired on prominent blogs and print media, such as The New York Times.
That is why its important for Mr Jobs, when he takes the stage at this year’s WWDC keynote, to address the direction his company is headed in. At the moment it appears that Apple is focussing a bit too much on their beloved iPhone platform, and many Mac users, myself included, are feeling a bit “left out in the cold” with no apparent signs of Mac development. In fact, Apple has now removed the “Mac apps” category from the Apple Design Awards, the coveted software awards given out to developers of significant apps, and instead only has awards for iPhone OS applications. It’s as if growth in the Mac sphere — the “real” computing platform — has been strangled somewhat.
Mr Jobs needs to address the Mac platform in a deeper context, provide us with insights into the company’s vision, and hopefully give us some indication as to where OS X is headed — Mac OS X 10.7, that is.
What do you think — has Apple lost its street cred? Or is this just a rough patch that they’ll easily overcome?
I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.