The iCloud, iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion announcements at WWDC this week have got many people declaring this app or that service dead. Much of this is an overreaction. Here’s a look at a few claims, and why I think they’re premature.
Safe For Now
1. The mouse. It’s true, there isn’t a single mouse in the Mac OS X Lion demo video. The only input devices we see are a laptop trackpad and a Magic Trackpad. Also, most of the video focuses on Lion’s multi-touch features. But none of this means the computer mouse is doomed. Here’s why.
First of all, gamers want one. You can’t launch World of Warcraft macros with a trackpad. Also, there’s no click-and-lift with a trackpad. Occasionally I’ll be re-locating something only to reach the end of the screen or even my physical desk. That’s when I lift the mouse, while maintaing the press, to gain some more room.
Finally, Apple was clever enough to make a mouse that’s essentially a little multi-touch surface.
2. Dropbox, SugarSync, etc. iCloud is amazing and I’m certain that it will mature into a game-changer. For now, however, popular file sharing services are safe. The biggest reason is collaboration. While iCloud pushes your music, photos, documents and more to your devices, it doesn’t allow for multi-user collaboration. I use Dropbox for many things, but most often for sharing files with others I’m collaborating with. iCloud won’t let me do that.
Also, iCloud doesn’t allow online editing. That could change, of course, but for now you can’t edit online.
3. Simple to-do apps. Reminders looks fantastic and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The implementation of location-based reminders is brilliant. However, every person’s preferred method of managing and completing to-do items is as unique as his or her fingerprint. Some will love Reminders. Others won’t. Some will migrate from the likes of Remember the Milk and Due while others won’t. Apple’s solution looks fantastic, but it won’t kill every simple task manager in the store.
Now, that doesn’t mean everyone came out unscathed.
1. RIM. BBM is something BlackBerry users have rightly lauded over iPhone users. In fact, some would call it the most compelling reason to use a BlackBerry vs. an iPhone. That advantage will officially evaporate once iOS 5 ships, as its new notifications implementation is stellar. RIM, you’re on notice.
2. Simple photo editing apps. Biggies like my beloved Camera+ should be OK, but quick-and-dirty crop-and-zoom apps are in trouble. The sheer convenience of accessing the camera from the lock screen will prevent many casual photographers from launching a photography app.
3. SMS plans. The danger is not imminent, but iMessage lets users send unlimited text messages via Wi-Fi or 3G from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to anyone else with one of those devices. Now, most of the people I know don’t have an iOS device, but that’s not the case for everybody. In fact, Scott Forestall announced that Apple has sold over 200 million iOS devices. For now there’s now real threat but who knows how iMessage will mature.