HarveyNick.com Musings of a professional nerd

WWDC Predications Score Card

Having made a point of making some WWDC predictions in my last post, it seems only right that I should look back at them after the fact and see how I did. I’d also like to talk about a couple of the other interesting things from the Keynote.

My Predications

Firstly: how did I do with my predictions?

A More Impressive Follow Up to the Integration Between Swift Playgrounds and Robotic Toys

Nope. The keynote was just so jam packed that there was no time for this. Seriously, it was like some of the execs (I’m looking at you Kevin Lynch) were on fast forward, or massively over caffeinated. Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi confirmed that this was the reason for the early announcement on the The Talk Show Live.

Score: 0.0

Again: nope. Not a lot of time for Swift in the Keynote at all. It did get quite a bit more play in the Platforms State of the Union, and while there were mentions of the some of the big partners using Swift on the server (IBM) there was no trumpeting of numbers.

Score: 0.0

Swift in the Browser (Huge Maybe)

Huge nope.

Score: 0.0

Fully Sanctioned XCode Plugins With an Optional App Store

The new Xcode source editor does seem to provide some new extension points, but there was no talk of fully sanctioned extensions, and definitely no App Store.

Score: 0.0

Well… it did get a few new features, but they’re all education related. Nothing which takes it closer to a fully fledged Xcode.

However, Apple did do the almost exact opposite of what I predicated here. Xcode 9 has a totally rewritten source editor, based on the editor from Swift Playgrounds. This brings a whole bunch of new UI and features with it, and I’m really looking forward to using it. But it also represents a big step towards Xcode for iPad.

There’s also the new ability to install in development apps for WiFi, no longer requiring a cable. That removes another barrier to iPad based development.

So, a few steps taken in the right direction, but no actual product. This being the case I’m going to give myself one quater marks, but partly out of charity.

Score: 0.25

Affinity Photo for iPad Demo on Stage

Yep. 100% score for this one. It’s seriously impressive. That said, it does look like it has some workflow issues if you want to go iPad only and use it to develop the RAW files from a high end camera. As of iOS 10, it looks like you still might need a Mac in the loop.

Score: 1.0

Better iPad Multi-Tasking App Switcher, Plus Drag and Drop Between Apps

Yep. MacStories totally called it. A lot of what Apple shipped actually looks better though. The new multitasking system for iPad looks great, as does drag and drop.

Score: 1.0

The Siri Speaker, and Siri 2 to Make It Actually Worthwhile

Big yes on the Siri Speaker… I mean “HomePod”. They made it the “One last thing”1 for the Keynote. It’s way more of a Sonos competitor than an Echo competitor at this point, which I find pretty disappointing. On the other hand it’s pretty obvious in hindsight. Apple still cares way more about sound and music than it does about almost anything else, so that was always going to be the first priority. There’s no way they would ship a puck with a crappy speaker.

As for Siri 2… I don’t know… maybe? I suspect that Apple might never actually ship an explicit “Siri 2”, because that would mean admitting that that what came before it wasn’t up to scratch. I’m only giving myself half marks on this aspect. They talked about improvements to Siri, but made no mention of any sort of “next generation” version.

Score: 0.75

Machine Learning at Apple; Machine Learning and Privacy; Machine Learning APIs in iOS 11

There was no specific talk of the first two items, but they were woven through the whole keynote, so I’m going to call that a hit. We also definitely got Machine Learning APIs in iOS 11 (as well as macOS High Sierra). They only allow the running of models, not the training of them, but look pretty solid from what I can tell.

Score: 1.0

Multi-Device Apps

Another no on this one. Not even a suggestion or implication.

Score: 0.0

Total score

Er… not great. Can we just leave it at that?

No? Fine.

Score: 4.0 / 9.0

Things I Didn’t Think (or Predict) About

There were also a couple of other interesting things which cropped up in the keynote which I either purposefully didn’t make any predictions about, or just plain didn’t think of at all.

Siri Watch Face

When Kevin Lynch said “watch faces” I was expecting a third party watch face API, but no, we just got a few new first party options instead.

One of them was the “Siri Face” which attempts to use Siri’s proactive mode to show you what you need to know right now. Or maybe some pictures of kittens, if that what it thinks you need to see. It’s pretty similar to the “Google Now” feature which you can get on Android devices and in the Google app on iOS.

I think a watch is a really good place to put this. I suspect it’s not actually going to be smart enough to be really useful yet, but hopefully it’ll be a solid v1.0.

New iPads Pro

The 10.5” iPad Pro did arrive, along with an updated version of its big brother. I have to admit that I suspected that if the 10.5” did come, it would be the one true iPad pro going forward. Kinda glad I didn’t add that to my predictions.

It looks great, though. I’m strongly considering using one as a replacement for my first generation MacBook Adorable.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

A pretty big push here, which I definitely did not see coming. There’s no doubt that the on stage AR demo was really impressive… but it feels like a toy I might play with for a while and then get bored of. I’d love to see this working in the real world and on a much larger scale.

Using a Mac for VR development is probably not something I’m going to be doing any time soon. But if you can develop for VR on the machine, that suggests that you can run VR from the machine, and that is something I could be interested in.

  1. Which I guess is Tim Cook’s version of “One more thing”.