The pilgrims gathered in San Francisco to bear witness to the message coming down from the clouds. Or for those who don’t belong to the Church of Apple Steve Jobs’ keynote address to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco announced that Apple’s iCloud would “demote the PC to just be a device. We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud.” It will end according to Jobs, the PC-centric era of technology.
While some were initially disappointed by no announcement of a cool new gadget like a new iPhone,it became clear that Apple’s iCloud package would shake things up. And according to tech-watchers, would kill, slice and dice, and eat its own partners. Imagine a keynote address directed by Roger Corman.
Here are five key takeouts.
1. Cloudy, But Compared To Google Not That Cloudy.
In an otherwise glowing account (the glow your photos get from a backlit LED) Steven Levy in Wired had some pause for thought. Google’s Cloud still seems more ambitions. “As of now, Apple regards the cloud as a hub; Google’s Chrome OS treats the cloud as the computer itself. The Chromebooks coming out later this year basically run a superfast browser, with the assumption that web-based apps and services will provide all you need. (As I noted in my test of the Chrome OS, Google is designing a platform for a high-speed connected infrastructure that’s not here yet.) By comparison, Apple’s cloud is timid: It’s about storage and synching as opposed to a streaming, real-time, extension to your actual machine. At Apple, the action is not on the web, but in the apps.
2. Sliced And Diced
The Guardian wondered where the iPhone 5 was? Not at the WWDC, bits of it in China ready for rolling it in September, and it won’t necessarily be iPhone 5, they speculate but iPhone 4GS/4S as Apple may look to segment the market not with mini versions of the iPhone, but simply through 6 month iterations, each previous version having a cheaper price and tariff, like consumer currently buying the iPhone 3. “Apple is getting ready to unveil a completely different way of slicing and dicing the phone market.”
3. Apple The Cannibal
Whether fruits can be cannibals is questionable, but in a thorough analysis Mark Sigel of the O’Reilly Radar concluded with some tweets that appeared at the end of the keynote address. One from the New York Times’ John Markoff who wrote “Steve’s great strength? He kills things … Floppy , hard disk, etc. Next up? The file system.” But more chilling wrote Sigel, “is Apple’s ready willingness to cannibalize its partners. While inherent in any platform play is the risk that the platform provider will see your sandbox as strategic and co-opt it for themselves, the news wires were legion with stories about the “body count” from Apple’s announcements.
Apple cannibilizing its partners? Nitasha Tiku of New York Observer’s Beta Beat provided ‘subtitles’ for tweets written by Instapaper founder Marco Arment who had an Isaac Newton moment of recognition as a giant-sized apple landed on his head:
“At first, Marco, thinking he’s just live-tweeting the WWDC keynote like every other Apple acolyte, comments on Jobs’ appearance:
‘Sad – Jobs looked and sounded awful. This might be his last keynote.’
But, perhaps out of guilt for acknowledging the master’s weakness, he makes sure we know he believes the hype:
‘Lion-optimized apps with resume, autosave, etc. are going to be awesome.’
Minutes later, things take a rapid turn for the worst when Arment, along with the rest of the world, hears Apple announce “Reading List,” an easy way to save stories to read later on that syncs across iOS devices. So easy, in fact, that Twitter starts wondering if Apple just killed Instapaper. Marco is rendered speechless. Well, almost:
5. “Die Blackberry!”
Not only was Apple killing competitor apps, in an orgy of killing, the website Cult of Mac believed that Jobs’ address spelled the beginning of the end for Blackberry too. Citing movements on Wall Street, “Yesterday, shares of the Canadian-based handset maker fell 3 percent, dropping below $37 for the first time since 2007 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Wall Street’s similar lack of confidence followed Apple’s Monday announcement of iMessage, a service included in the tech giant’s upcoming iOS update that does for iPhones, iPads and iPods what had been the sole preserve for BlackBerry Messenger.”