WWDC 2012: iOS 6, iPhone 5 and Mountain Lion
By Jim Lundy
Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC 2012) is nearly here. There are many people that make a business of following Apple and with their resurgence there is daily speculation about new products, particularly around the iPhone. We analyzed Apple earlier this year in our Special Report on Apple in the Enterprise. With June 11th coming fast, there is the expected drum roll of possible announcements. This blog digs into the business impact of the expected announcements.
WWDC 2012 and iOS 6
iOS is the multi-device Operating System that powers the iPhone and the iPad. Expect to hear a lot about it at WWDC 2012. It often gets minimized in press coverage, but it, combined with the Apple software ecosystem, is the force behind the success of both devices. What Apple has done with iOS is prove to enterprises that it can deliver a predictable annual update to the OS that includes a fair amount of innovation (OS and third party apps) in a reliable and fairly secure way.
– Enhancements to Siri – Digital Assistant on the rise
Siri has been advertised quite a bit and we expect to see improved performance and a larger command set, particularly around Voice based Search. The big play for app developers is whether Apple will open up its APIs to allow more users to interface with Apps via voice. We think this will open up a new wave of innovation for mobile devices. The business impact of Siri is simple – it can make a user who is comfortable with it far more productive.
– Enhanced 3D Mapping
Directions, particularly while traveling is an essential mobile device application. There are many leaked images of the new Apple Maps 3D application and it looks nice. We expect to hear more about Siri and the new Map application. The business impact of the maps is also simple: finding your destination faster, particularly the exact building you are looking for.
– Better Facetime
We also expect improvements to FaceTime, Apple’s Video Calling capability that has been limited to Wifi connections. FaceTime is true HD Video and if it is unleashed onto 4G networks, carriers will be happy. Expect limited usage in the enterprise unless group calling is enabled.
WWDC 2012 – Mac OSX – Mountain Lion
Apple has been previewing its new OSX release for Mac’s – dubbed Mountain Lion for months. This also is something that enterprises are getting used to. As Macs grow in businesses, so does the need to verify that new OS releases work well with existing applications, such as Microsoft Office 2011. This year, expect more intersections and similarities between iOS and Mountain Lion.
Apple has gradually also been making more of Mac OSX run native 64 bit applications and this has long term performance implications. Expect more this year as well. We also expect Apple to continue to push the envelope on resolution support, with Retina display support for the expected new MacBooks and iMacs. Better resolution means less demand for the printed image, something we have chronicled in the Research Note titled “The Changing Role of the Document: the Paper Era is coming to an end.”
The upgrade process should continue to be over the air – as it was with Lion. Users have gotten used to this and while there have been hiccups in the past, users rarely lose data or have to reformat a drive to do an OS upgrade (Microsoft should be taking notes here). Apple has had Mountain Lion in preview mode for months, so we are expecting the upgrade process to be smoother than with Lion, which introduced the $29.00 over the wire upgrade.
Apple’s entry into the Consumer Television business is a foregone conclusion. Expect better navigation and a more seamless blending of live TV and internet TV, along with a Siri Digital Assistant as a remote control. Enterprises that do rich media advertising will want to watch this development carefully.
Additionally, expect news on lots of new hardware. New MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models will be announced during the summer, as well as iMacs. Many Mac users have machines that are 3-4 years old, so there is now an install base eager to move to speedier machines with solid state hard drives (SSDs). There is also the freshman college student buying season. At many US Universities, Macs are now the dominant laptop footprint. Expect new machines shipping in volume in July to take advantage of this.
Enterprises also have lots of Macs showing up eager to help users do their work, particularly in Silicon Valley. Adobe, Box, Cisco, Google, IBM, Yammer and many others have very large populations of Macbook Pros on their respective campuses.
The iPhone 5 is also on target for a fall release, along with more iPads. The question is, will Apple surprise people with a mid-year introduction of an iPhone? Given the size of Apple’s supply chain, it is hard to keep things a secret anymore. That said, Apple has pre-announced devices before and shipped them a month later. That is a possible scenario here.
For enterprises and the BYOD professionals, Apple can’t be counted out anymore. We’ll be covering more of Apple’s rollouts in upcoming First Cuts. The big story for enterprises is that with Apple and software, the trains run on time. There is probably more innovation that Apple will disclosed at WWDC 2012 than what is known in the press.
Editors Note: Our Strategic Report on Tablets and Mobile Ecosystems is going to be available for sale on AragonResearch.com soon. It covers all the mobile ecosystems players (Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM, Amazon and others). Contact Sales@aragonresearch.com for a preview.