Doubling Down on Secrecy: The Post
I wrote some of this post months ago, but I never posted it. Then, yesterday, I shared a post by James Gill on why Apple would make a watch, which lit a fire under my butt to get it published, but I wanted to leave what was there originally and add to it after today’s announcements. Enjoy!
Written July 22, 2014:
I have not written in some time. Not only have I been knee-deep in starting a new job but, with a child and a summer of family gatherings and vacations, I simply haven't had enough time to think let alone put thoughts down on paper. Thankfully, I have been able to keep up with recent technology news and, I have had thoughts on what the announcements at WWDC, Google's I/O Conference, etc. After slowly processing said information, I keep coming back to the idea of "Doubling Down on Secrecy", a quote that Tim Cook made mention of almost a year ago and one that people have laughed at on occasion due to product information still leaking out of Apple's manufacturing partners. Though those leaks are not by design, I have recently been thinking that they are of little consequence in comparison to some of the more strategically important items that could leak but haven't.
WWDC and Swift
I think one of the biggest announcements at WWDC from a developer's standpoint was Swift. Swift, for those who don't know, is Apple's new programming language that builds on the strengths of Objective C and will make the barrier to entry in the future much lower for those just starting out on iOS. What made Swift an even bigger deal was the fact that no one knew about it before the public announcement. As I followed the live blogs, watched the video, and conversed on Twitter throughout the keynote, the number of audible oohs and aahs was beyond that of years past. And if you read any developer follow-ups (most are now at least a month old), you will notice a consistent message of excitement.
I remember reading the live blogs and watching the video (admittedly after the fact) of the original iPhone launch and feeling such excitement. Again, the fact that we knew nothing about the iPhone before its unveiling is still seen as one of the best kept secrets of all time. I am beginning to feel the same way about Apple's future products, as the rumor community gets bits and pieces but nothing concrete, nothing to suggest that we in any shape or form understand what is to come.
The Possibilities of the Future
Which brings me to my big point; I wanted to write something for the first time in awhile due to the secrecy surrounding the iWatch and, honestly, anything else that will come out of Apple this fall, in what may be a strong pipeline. Dan Fromer wrote about wearables from an interesting perspective, that of Steve Jobs Apple and the iPod. I had thought of some of these as wearables, but not to the extent of the article. For instance, I have owned every iPod Shuffle. The first generation came with a necklace (for all intents and purposes), which I never used, so I never thought of it as a wearable until Apple built the clip into the chassis. Nevertheless, the iPod was the first wearable in the same way that the iPhone is a wearable, given the right apparatus.
The iPod Nano has always been the design playground of the iPod family, often taking completely different tacks from generation to generation. One generation could take video, the next was similar to a shuffle with a touchscreen, the next (and current) generation looked like a combination of the original Nano and an iPhone. Apple has played enough that what the fabled iWatch will look like might be a combination of the things Apple has learned over the years with the iPod and if it is, I think we are in for a surprise (in the strictest sense of the word) and a real treat.
Written September 9, 2014:
With today’s announcements comes a feeling of vindication for my initial premise of this piece: Apple just blew the minds of the world yet again.1 Though not everyone may see it that way initially, the joke about every Apple leap forward has always been one of initial disappointment and then extreme enthusiasm once the true nature of the device is realized. iPhone? Scoff! iPad? Just a big iPod Touch! Apple Watch? Apple Pay? No matter what others think, I will withhold any judgement as best I can until I actually hold the just-announced products in my hand. At that time, I will plan to write something about it.
Getting back to the thesis of this piece, though, I am astounded by what was announced today more so because of how little was known going into the event and because of, yet again, the sheer amount of announcements that Apple has made. It will take a long time for the public to work through each of the items coming out of Cupertino; color me intrigued.
- The problems with the live video stream not withstanding, the fact that the iPhone was announced within the first twenty minutes of the presentation came as a shock to anyone who knows about the way Apple structures these types of presentations. ↩