The annual WWDC keynote has been part of my working life and I have rarely missed a chance to attend the event, which always gave a clear idea of where Apple was headed. It was also a chance to connect with many friends who flock from far-flung places to attend the annual Macpalooza.
After being a professional newshound for all my working life, it is good to be a civilian and track Apple’s announcements like rest of civilians. What that means, is no more live blogging. Instead my pal Kevin Tofel will be carrying the live-blogging load for Gigaom. Kevin is a great live blogger and has a very objective and delightful style.
And while I might not be in San Francisco, the WWDC will hold my interest mostly because it will be telling. Adam Lashinsky of Fortune hit the nail on the head with his latest piece about the complexity of Apple’s product line. I have had the same fears and more importantly, I am fearful about the company’s ability to deal with the changes being brought on by the impact of data and constant connectivity on how they shape their product design.
Some of my sources at Apple point out that the company’s ability to say no to products and features has started to erode and as a result complexity of products has gone up. Adam’s piece echoes that sentiment. I am not surprised — when founders give way to managers, the moral imperative that is needed to say no to things gives way to more consensus-driven approach. Both approaches have merit, so I am not being judgemental.
For me, it was fun to watch late Steve Jobs perform like a thespian actor, making inanimate objects come alive with the power of his showmanship and his deliberate use of adjectives, pauses and his smile. WWDC has been less fun since his passing, and every year that passes, the emptiness that he has left behind is more obvious.
I am skipping the WWDC this year and instead will be spending next three days in New York, meeting a handful of people and attending a conference focused on how visual sensors are changing our relationships with not only each other but with the world around us. We can tip the hat to iPhone for the spread of camera/selfie culture. I can vividly remember 2007, when Steve showed off the iPhone and in one quick swoop changed our expectations of what is a computer, what is a phone and what we can do with. That day, the world changed. Now it is Apple that is changing.