WWDC was all about software, just like it was when Steve Jobs ran the show

Posted:
in General Discussion
Some were disappointed that Apple failed to introduce hardware at last week's WWDC, but keeping the focus on software was consistent with how the company has always done things, and also with Steve Jobs' vision.

the WWDC 2018 keynote


Apple's annual World Wide Developers Conference this year was highlighted by the introductions of new editions of iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, all of which included notable new features. But what it didn't include was the introduction of any new hardware.

We've already spoken at some length about this in response to wide complaints that the event didn't feature the unveiling of new Macs, iPads, or some other product category.

But, it bears repeating -- WWDC is a conference for developers. Software is what developers develop, and has always been the focus of the conference, even when Steve Jobs was in charge.

Furthermore while many longtime observers remember the unveilings of iPhone models at the WWDC in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and a wide variety of products including the HomePod, new MacBooks, and a new iPad Pro at the 2017 WWDC, those were aberrations. Apple made no hardware announcements at WWDC in 2014, 2015 or 2016.

"Apple views itself as a a software company"

The other implication, in some of the disappointment over the lack of WWDC hardware this year, is that we very specifically remember Steve Jobs introducing iPhones, Macs and other famous products the first week of June, so therefore something is somehow lacking when Tim Cook gets up and introduces only software updates. As with most "if only Steve Jobs were still alive" arguments, this one falls apart under scrutiny.

Jobs didn't have any special insistence on introducing hardware at WWDC. Most of Apple's big introductions over the years came at Macworld, or at individual dedicated events.

But beyond that, while his legacy is very much intertwined with the Apple II, the iMac, the iPod and iPhone, Jobs was extremely vocal, throughout his career, about the importance of software, to both the products themselves and Apple's success.

There was an interview Jobs gave at an All Things D conference in the late 2000s, around the time of the iPhone's arrival:





"If you look at the reason that the iPod exists, and that Apple's that marketplace, it's because these really great Japanese consumer electronics companies who kind of own the portable music market," said Jobs. "[They] kind of invented it, and own it -- couldn't do the appropriate software -- couldn't conceive of, or implement the appropriate software"

"Because an iPod is really just software. It's software on the iPod itself, it's software on the PC or Mac, it's software in the cloud for the Store," added Jobs. "It's in a beautiful box, but it's software. If you look at what a Mac is, it's OS X. It's in a beautiful box, but it's OS X. And if you look at what an iPhone will hopefully be, it's software. And so, the big secret about Apple, of course -- a not so big secret, maybe -- is that Apple views itself as a a software company."

Jobs had said similar things before. In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, during the NeXT era, Jobs discussed the importance software in the PC Wars of the time.

"The problem is, in hardware you can't build a computer that's twice as good as anyone else's anymore. Too many people know how to do it," said Jobs. "You're lucky if you can do one that's one and a third times better or one and a half times better. And then it's only six months before everybody else catches up. But you can do it in software. As a matter of fact, I think that the leap that we've made is at least five years ahead of anybody."

This might sound familiar, given that there is a minute gap between the last generation of Intel processors and the current.

Apple's timetable isn't yours

Tim Cook didn't trot out on stage, spew some numbers, and say "have a good WWDC." It's not that there weren't innovative, major software announcements made at WWDC. Apple introduced a well-received macOS update, unveiled time-management features in iOS, hinted at the end of the cable box monopoly with its latest tvOS, and added a bunch of features to watchOS -- and these are just what Apple wanted to feature.

Generally, WWDC is about hardware that the developers need to support going forward. The shift to Intel. The iPhone for the first few years. New TrackPads, and new OS features incorporating it. Take those away, and there's not much left in the way of hardware releases since the dawn of WWDC.

This is consistent with what Apple has always been about, from before Jobs was ousted for the first time, when he came back, and even years after Jobs' passing. If you're Mac person, it's probably because you prefer macOS, as opposed to your opinion of the hardware side of things. And, the same is true of iOS, as opposed to Android.

Yeah, it's been a long time since the Mac mini was updated. It's been just a year since the MacBook Pro was, and the iMac Pro is less than a year old.

But, don't conflate issues. It's not like this was in 1997 and hard to find Apple news or venues that cover it, at least in passing. Apple can throw an event whenever they please, at very short notice like the sixth generation iPad event this last spring, and get the same coverage that they get from a WWDC.

To trot out the old, tired question: what would Steve Jobs do? We're not 100 percent positive, but given what he did in the past, he probably wouldn't release a pile of hardware at WWDC.
watto_cobra
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    lawjollalawjolla Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    I agree with the article.

    But teeing off of "What Would Steve Jobs Do/Not Do", Steve Jobs would not let these Apple events devolve into a litany of completely uninspired and unprepared speakers.  Apple events are nearly unwatchable.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 2 of 52
    lawjolla said:
    I agree with the article.

    But teeing off of "What Would Steve Jobs Do/Not Do", Steve Jobs would not let these Apple events devolve into a litany of completely uninspired and unprepared speakers.  Apple events are nearly unwatchable.
    I don't know, on one hand you're right, but on the other Apple is making a conscious effort to have more diversity on stage and therefore some not as prepared speakers are on stage. I personally kind of prefer it the way it is now.
  • Reply 3 of 52
    I'm glad (and so is my wallet) they didn't introduce new hardware. September will be here before we know it...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 52
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 339member
    The operative statement here is that Apple’s timetable isn’t yours, full stop.
    GeorgeBMacStrangeDaysjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 52
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 339member
    lawjolla said:
    I agree with the article.

    But teeing off of "What Would Steve Jobs Do/Not Do", Steve Jobs would not let these Apple events devolve into a litany of completely uninspired and unprepared speakers.  Apple events are nearly unwatchable.
    Ah, yes, a rapid circle back to making statements about what a dead person would or would not do if he wasn’t currently dead. The thing is, Steve Jobs is still dead.

    There are very few people in the tech world who have the kind of dog-and-pony-showmanship talent that the still-dead Mr. Jobs had. Zuckerberg doesn’t have it. Bill Gates never had it. Elizabeth Holmes apparently has the showmanship, but without there actually being a dog or pony to show. 

    If Tim Cook did the Apple events solo, people would just yell all that much louder about how he’s not Steve Jobs, who is still dead. So Tim starts it off and then hands over the spotlight to various project leaders and partner company CEOs to tell their part of the story. Unsurprisingly, they are all tech people without reality-distorting showmanship skills. None of them is Steve Jobs, either, who is still dead. 

    Maybe next time, they’ll work with ARKit and Pixar, and invite everyone to point their iPhones and iPads at the stage to watch an animated Steve Jobs do the presentation, even though in non-augmented reality he is still dead.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 52
    Unsurprisingly, they are all tech people without reality-distorting showmanship skills.
    Not sure it was really showmanship skills with Steve Jobs. It was more that he could take a canned speech and deliver it to a large audience as if he was having a natural, one-on-one conversation.
    [Deleted User]GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 52
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,787member
    lawjolla said:
    I agree with the article.

    But teeing off of "What Would Steve Jobs Do/Not Do", Steve Jobs would not let these Apple events devolve into a litany of completely uninspired and unprepared speakers.  Apple events are nearly unwatchable.
    I completely disagree. If anything, many of the speakers were a little too polished marketing folks rather than the engineers and technical gurus who most closely relate to the WWDC’s primarily audience of developers. Developers aren’t swayed by slick presentations from presenters who are coached to emit buzzwords and jargon that ends up as headlines on technical news sites. They can see through the BS no matter how well coached the presenters might be. 

    Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both knew how to talk to technical folks. There are only a few gifted technical gurus who know how to both wow an audience on presentation and pass through the BS filter that developers have in place. One of my personal favorites was Don Box with Herb Sutter not far behind. 

    Presentation is all about knowing your audience. If you’re going to nitpick the WWDC keynote speakers you could possibly claim that some of the presentations were too broadly targeted, perhaps because Apple has allowed past WWDC keynotes to turn into marketing events. 

    The one big exception of course is Tim Cook. Tim Cook is the cultural compass and standard bearer for Apple and it is important that he articulates the things that matter to the company’s future while he is at the helm. It is also important that Tim Cook publicly recognizes the hard work that his teams of developers are doing, most of which is hidden from the rest of the world and would otherwise go unnoticed. 
    stompyGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 52
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,199member
    lawjolla said:
    I agree with the article.

    But teeing off of "What Would Steve Jobs Do/Not Do", Steve Jobs would not let these Apple events devolve into a litany of completely uninspired and unprepared speakers.  Apple events are nearly unwatchable.
    It varies widely by event. WWDC is clearly a pitch by Apple to their suppliers, and it is only tangentially a consumer event. I'm not a supplier, so I found it way too long, and mildly boring. YMMV.

    Hair Force One is always a highlight. Craig is a good speaker, and his demos always show the new stuff in action. Phil Schiller is always good too, but I don't recall him presenting at WWDC. 

    I wish I could like Angela and Kevin better. Just a style thing for me I guess. Even Eddie Cue is entertaining in his own way, even if Apple Music isn't for me.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 52
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,199member
    dewme said:
    The one big exception of course is Tim Cook. Tim Cook is the cultural compass and standard bearer for Apple and it is important that he articulates the things that matter to the company’s future while he is at the helm. It is also important that Tim Cook publicly recognizes the hard work that his teams of developers are doing, most of which is hidden from the rest of the world and would otherwise go unnoticed. 
    Well said. Concur.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 52
    claire1claire1 Posts: 483unconfirmed, member
    Steve wouldn't!!!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 52
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Apple does NOT "view itself as a software company". Apple is, and views itself as a portable device company. That is how Apple changed into a world class corporate powerhouse.
    cropr
  • Reply 12 of 52
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,370member
    If you build a Steve Jobs Theatre specifically designed for releasing and showcasing new hardware, you will release new hardaware at an event at Steve Jobs Theatre.
    WWDC was elsewhere was it not?

    that said, mere updates to existing Mac hardware is well past due, let alone new generation products. You would have to be an absolute idiot to buy just about any Mac model now, unless you were desperate. 
  • Reply 13 of 52
    nunzy said:
    Apple does NOT "view itself as a software company". Apple is, and views itself as a portable device company. That is how Apple changed into a world class corporate powerhouse.
    “And so, the big secret about Apple, of course -- a not so big secret, maybe -- is that Apple views itself as a a software company." ~ Steve Jobs.

    Remarkable, isn’t it?
    nunzyGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 52
    mavemufcmavemufc Posts: 326member
    It should be about software, leave the hardware announcements for the other events.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 52
    nunzy said:
    Apple does NOT "view itself as a software company". Apple is, and views itself as a portable device company. That is how Apple changed into a world class corporate powerhouse.
    “And so, the big secret about Apple, of course -- a not so big secret, maybe -- is that Apple views itself as a a software company." ~ Steve Jobs.

    Remarkable, isn’t it?
    Not remarkable *if* the quote came from the time when Apple Computer Co...was that(since there is no link, we cannot even know if this is an accurate quote, someone else could have misquoted), Jobs was around long after Apple changed it's name to reflect changes in the company... Apple Inc. < for a reason. Damn, this Quiller Media, Inc software doesn't even allow editing, at all, after you hit the post comment button...that really blows. Gotta spend some more of my valuable time, running every post through txt editor, but even that doesn't catch certain types of posting formatting/errors, that cannot be fixed  post submitting :-(
    nunzy
  • Reply 16 of 52
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,689administrator
    nunzy said:
    Apple does NOT "view itself as a software company". Apple is, and views itself as a portable device company. That is how Apple changed into a world class corporate powerhouse.
    “And so, the big secret about Apple, of course -- a not so big secret, maybe -- is that Apple views itself as a a software company." ~ Steve Jobs.

    Remarkable, isn’t it?
    Not remarkable *if* the quote came from the time when Apple Computer Co...was that(since there is no link, we cannot even know if this is an accurate quote, someone else could have misquoted), Jobs was around long after Apple changed it's name to reflect changes in the company... Apple Inc. < for a reason. Damn, this Quiller Media, Inc software doesn't even allow editing, at all, after you hit the post comment button...that really blows. Gotta spend some more of my valuable time, running every post through txt editor, but even that doesn't catch certain types of posting formatting/errors, that cannot be fixed  post submitting :-(
    The quote is in the video that's embedded in the story. Hear it straight from the man's lips.

    The shift to Apple, Inc was 2007. Jobs is talking about the iPhone in the video. So, the two are contemperaneous.
    edited June 12 tmayGeorgeBMackiltedgreenStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 52
    @Stepheour n Silver, many, many issues I see with the trajecytory TeamAI is currently on...though I believe your boss is in  denial of that, cannot see the forest from the tree. Not sure where to post, since TeamAI is all over the place dropping these posts in various threads. This thread itself seems to contradict what Mr Whet wrote in another post. From that post I read by the Admn, any other member who started such a thread would have it 'disappear' from public view, only TeamAI mod's/Admn's would be able to see it then. Seems to me, the team here, is not altogether in unison, this makes Mr Silver, seem like the analogy of doing a 'Sarah Sanders' iykwim.

    But where to post and address all these conflicting issues that are spread across the forums?

    1st off, not exactly the most important...but:

    Is there any way to post up the author/creator of these editorial/articles when shown in the forums/comments part? I see the author only before hitting the comments link, once going into the forums for comments, the author is not displayed anywhere...So some may not no which TeamAI member they are responding to...I've seen that confusion(though don't have time to search/provide a link...don't have it readily available, and since I cannot edit my post, not going to make another post, simply to insert a link, where it should be able to be place right here). More over, when more than one TeamAI member has contributed to, or is involved with these...I'd like to see their names provided at the bottom of each of these.
     

    example below(u can see this at many 'news' sites) author is posted right at the top. Unlike here, when you click on her name, you get her full bio/credentials kind of a modified curriculum vitae(sp?)...would like to see that here if you consider yourselves 'journalists' not bloggers. You know, for transparency <<< don't you love the current buzzword/fan fav's of current discourse.

    Oh, yeah, you can quote both Steve and me, bc we both said these things: SteveJobs started off defensively as a joke: "you can't please everyone, all of the time" Me: "and this to, shall pass" in reference to 'fake news'<<< OMG, whatevah, fer sure fer sure, like...totally, awesome.

    At the the end of this article we see "Fox News' Pamela K. Browne and Cyd Upson contributed to this report. "

    One wonders if TeamAI members, or any other source for content here, considers themselves to be 'journalists'. In a blogger social media era, where so many old school forums are now peppered with post that are simply inane 'tweets'...you know what they say @TeamAI, it is the reality perhaps none of us wants to be, 'once you take the genie out of the bottle, you can't put it back in' F-bombs prevail, civility is gone...for the most part...so, is a blogger ever considered a journalist, and when does a journalists' content qualify as 'blogging'? Are there equal standards being applied to fact checking(so we can avoid the 'fake news' scenarios???)?


    So far, everyone, including the author's of this thread, seemed to have very short memories, in that there does not even need to be any 'event', Apple has, and will likely in the future(almost 100% certainly, imho) introduce/announce hardware updates on any give date or time of the year...sometimes with no fan fare at all. I suspect, we may even have that happening right now. With modest, not likely massively promoted, updates; using currently available hardware that Apple has not utilized to many complaints. Then come 2019, the bigger hardware announcments using 1st off the assembly line hardware that Intel gives to their priority customers. Then perhaps later, WWDC 2019 or 2020  Apple's Axx Arm starting 1st in the MBA/MB 12", following yrs as Arm platform gets even more potent that it surpases Intel/AMD.

    We can look to prior WWDC's for ^ indications of all that. I can provide a link to what Steve did say, which is so on point now, it's not even funny, RIP Steve Jobs, there will *never* be anyone remotely like him...at least in my short life time...if I could take the time, or if I could edit later. Funny, back in the mid '80s, I worked at a company that M$ absorbed/bought out(I was let go b4 that happened)? that provided a powerful solution to a way to port across multiple platforms


    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 18 of 52
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,770member
    Hardware's not always another tangent. I'm pretty sure Apple developers need an updated MacBook Pro with a working keyboard.  ;)
  • Reply 19 of 52
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 923member

    So far, everyone, including the author's of this thread, seemed to have very short memories, in that there does not even need to be any 'event', Apple has, and will likely in the future(almost 100% certainly, imho) introduce/announce hardware updates on any give date or time of the year...sometimes with no fan fare at all.

    Best guess would still be a Tuesday, unless there is an invitation to an event involved.
  • Reply 20 of 52
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,637member
    frank777 said:
    Hardware's not always another tangent. I'm pretty sure Apple developers need an updated MacBook Pro with a working keyboard.  ;)
    Or a Mac Mini, or even a IMac if the developer swings that way.    Hell the Mac Pro could be reconfigured into an ideal developers machine if they took the time to reconfigure it.   That is use the Mac Pro chassis to build a desktop PC selling in a reasonable price range.

    In any event the number one issue here is that serious customers need better Mac hardware from Apple and there is no justification on Apples part for ignoring its customer base.   Frankly Apple hardware is quickly becoming a joke in the market place as you are paying bleeding edge prices for significantly outdated hardware.
    cgWerks
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