journal

WWDC 2017

Apple's HomePod

Apple's HomePod

 

Another year, another WWDC. With new iPhones on the horizon, this was probably one of the most exciting in recent memory for a number of reasons. I've quickly complied some of my thoughts below, taken while watching the keynote.

The Highlights

- We're seeing incremental updates to the Apple Watch still. Nice new fitness features, expanding APIs, cute new watch faces. Proactive Siri fulfills a major functionality gap.

- Still nothing for Apple Watch that makes this a "must have" for undecided buyers.

- iMac Pro is likely future of pro desktop computing from Apple. modular systems will disappear from all but most computing intensive areas within 10 years.

- Can't really speak with any authority on the specifics of the new file system or image format, but I'm curious to see how that translates into real world performance. Thinking of syncing speeds between Apple devices with iTunes/iCloud, app read/write speeds, and more.

- iOS 11 makes iPad much more useful

- Also brings greater clarity and cohesion to visual overhaul started in iOS 7. Love the consistent use of big, bold type throughout News, Music, Messages, and more.

- AR is gonna be huge. If their software announcements are any indication, look for some new hardware to go with the fantastic software they've been developing this fall.

- HomePod is what I expected from Apple: simple, elegant product design paired with high quality audio and "Hey Siri". Would love to see a version that incorporates the now defunct Time Capsule. Imagine the possibilities.

- HomePod is more of a serious threat to Sonos/BeoPlay than Amazon, IMHO. Remember Apple's target market.

- Overall, Apple came out with a strong showing this year. Met many of my expectations and long held requests. Excited to see what hardware drops this fall to support all of this new software wizardry.

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iMac Pro is the future of the Apple pro desktop. modular systems will fail to compete in marketplace for avg. pro user, as distributed computing becomes more powerful and ubiquitous, and able to handle most tasks a professional creative demands.

hard to tell how space grey iMac will look in real life. need to see it in person. hopefully better than microsoft’s “Middle of the Road” grey for Studio Pro.

that magic keyboard and magic mouse combo…intriguing. Would love to see them bring back the mighty mouse. ergonomics and usability of magic mouse are still a nightmare.

control center ui is an improvement, though i’m wondering why they decided to cram everything in the lower half of the view. (Update: Spent more time looking at and thinking about Control Center, and came up with a good enough reason for the design residing in the lower-half of the screen: one-handed usability.)

Do Not Disturb While Driving - Big move in user safety and experience. Depends on user adoption, but suggestion based on first drive is nice way to intro and message functionality.

presenters are still mostly white and male. kudos for the pregnant woman, tho.

really liking Apple’s use of their San Francisco typeface. Swiss-lite throughout iOS 11, especially Messages

AR features in ARKit are phenomenal, specifically plane detection and lighting effects on RL environment.

improved AR in Pokemon Go might just get me to play the game again. simple things like having a ball bounce where you throw it in the “real world” make the difference.

wing nut AR demo was incredible. further convinces me that while VR/AR will coexist, AR will likely be the dominant medium, replacing the television in ubiquity. this especially if apple can create hardware that generates same or greater level of demand as iPhone. will probably replace iPhone to work in concert with Apple watch, EarPods

apple’s image processing game is strong. great advances in both software and hardware, and apple is playing for keeps with improved image processing for photos, and AR capabilities. keep in mind that all of this processing is happening on device, if apple's assertions are to be believed.

all of which leads me to suspect many of the rumors of the new hardware Apple’s planning to introduce this fall may be true (namely AR glasses)

new iPad pro is very powerful, and could be a big deal

iOS 11 for iPad = very useful, such productive

craig federaghi’s jokes…smh

Affinity Designer for iPad Pro won’t get me to ditch my laptop, but it’ll definitely do in a pinch. one use case i envision is being in a meeting and needing to quickly visually represent an idea. or being an architect in the field and needing to quickly understand how landscaping changes could effect overall visual impact of site and structure.

files on my iDevice!!! some will say this is a big concession to android's system for apple, which it may be, but i also just think it’s smart. makes iPad Pro more competitive with M$ Surface as an extremely mobile productivity tool.

interaction for multi-select of files in files app is really awesome. and it kind of has to be, otherwise bad things can happen.

makes me wonder how much of this functionality will be exclusive to iPad.

seriously though, iOS 11 for iPad makes the iPad so much more useful. instant notes for example. can see many more people ditching laptops for an iPad Pro

HomePod - not sure how i feel about the name, exciting product

HomePod replaces apple tv/ipad as the home hub.

love the design, hope the mesh ain’t fabric though. need something i can wipe with a damp cloth and that won’t attract dust/fur. (Update: Apparently this mesh is fabric. Not sure how I feel about this.)

Apple’s emphasis on audio fidelity isn’t surprising here, and when you think about it, neither is the timing. Siri needed to improve considerably, plus it takes time to create a good sounding speaker.

A8 chip on this speaker is exciting. leaves lots of room for onboard processing w/ Siri.

not seeing much room in the design for a screen of any kind. perhaps in embedded in the glossy top area? not the most user friendly spot though. would love to see how this product range expands. (Update: There is a display on top of the device; not entirely clear how much this will be utilized outside of Echo-like Siri animations.)

audio processing on HomePod could give Sonos a run for their money in terms of tuning sound for environment. there’s a reason why Sonos has so quickly become a leader in home audio

when “Hey Siri” was initially introduced, i figured this was where it would really shine: ambient computing.

wouldn’t it be great if apple brought back Time Capsule, but integrated with HomePod hardware? imagine invoking finder or photos by voice and pulling up a family photo on iMac. HomePod hears you, iMac/MacBook shows you.

a lot of people are going to complain about pricing ($349 USD), but it fits within apple’s pricing strategy. i don’t think they’ll introduce a cheaper version until maybe next generation, but i can envision a more expensive model that integrates time capsule functionality. if apple really wants to take over your home (and eventually your life), this is probably the smartest way.