WWDC 2012 Preview: What if Apple Blew Our Minds for a Change?
In less than two hours, the Mac maker will give its annual keynote speech to remind the development community why it is the most imitated tech manufacturer in the world.
The highlight of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) presentation may very well be iOS 6, the much-hyped (and now confirmed) sequel to the company's current mobile operating system. Apple isn't expected to say a word about the next iPhone, but in demonstrating the potential of iOS 6, iDevice enthusiasts should have a good idea of what to expect from the company's next smartphone.
Very little has been said about Siri, the voice-recognition software that could have embarrassed Steve Jobs and has been banned companywide at IBM (NYSE: IBM). But with hints from Tim Cook that more developments are on the way, and with consumers angry over Siri's current state, one has to imagine that Apple will use the conference to rebuild (or at the very least refurbish) Siri's image.
As of this writing, Apple's online store -- located at store.apple.com -- is officially down. The company has put up its "we'll be back" banner, sparking hope that the company will go above and beyond our wildest expectations and introduce a groundbreaking product at a time when rumors claim one is coming. But Apple has never been one to release -- or even announce -- a big item at the most obvious moment. Most Apple enthusiasts know this. But they still expect bigger and better things, and then complain when they don't come.
It was easy to express disappointment with the third-generation iPad, which lived up to the rumors but not the hype. Consumers got what they expected (4G LTE and a Retina Display) but not what they wanted, which was a magical, innovative feature that not even the most diehard Apple fan could describe. Really, consumers didn't know what they wanted other than the desire to be blown away. And the third-generation iPad did not blow anyone away. Thus, there were plenty of iPads available when the upgraded tablet was released three months ago -- not just because Apple had improved its manufacturing processes, but because demand was lower than expected.
Don't tell that to Apple loyalists -- they insist the iPad is innovative just because it has a gorgeous screen and fast Internet. But in all truthfulness, that's not innovation. It was innovation when the iPhone was unveiled. With that one brilliant device, Apple changed the world of mobile computing. The iPad is merely an expansion on that.
This morning, many people expect Apple to unveil an entire fleet of new Macs -- MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, and even a powerful desktop in the form of a Mac Pro revival. Enthusiasts also expect those MacBooks to come with Retina Displays. Some think that we will finally get a hybrid laptop that combines the power of a MacBook Pro with the thin and lightweight design of a MacBook Air (and feature a solid state drive, of course).
Let's suppose all of those things come true: would you or anyone you know be blown away? You might be impressed. You might be compelled to make a purchase. But it is unlikely that you will run into the street and chant, "Apple, Apple!"
The media, however, wants you to believe that you will. In an effort to get clicks, tweets, and other forms of attention, Apple blogs spend weeks/months hyping each Apple event with the most absurd batch of rumors they can find, all in the name of increasing their pageviews. This has led to a culture that expects Apple to deliver more than the average dose of tech company hyperbole.
It would be really nice if Apple was prepared to do more than that. But over the past two years, Apple has hosted many events. Most of them have been aimed at building consumer hype. None of them have featured mind-blowing product innovations.
Why should we expect today to be any different?
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