NEWS ANALYSIS: Normally WWDC is a software-only event. but Apple has been playing around with the calendar lately, so expect some hardware
But the delay in introducing new and more competitive tablets was all it took for Microsoft’s Surface tablets to gain a foothold in the corporate markets. Then with the dearth of new Apple tablets, Microsoft took the lead among content creators with a series of new devices designed specifically to meet their needs.
Now Microsoft, in an effort to move even farther beyond Apple than it has in the device market, has released the Windows Creator’s Update to appeal to graphic artists and designers who have long favored Apple computers. Despite the fact that there’s little in the Creators Update that necessarily encourages creativity, it’s still helping Microsoft build mindshare at Apple’s expense.
In fact some of this year’s WWDC announcements make it look as if Apple is playing catch up to its competitors. The Siri Speaker is an excellent example. Apple really created the market for intelligent digital assistants when it created Siri.
But since then Amazon and Google took the initiative to build their digital assistants into other devices into other devices besides smartphones. Both companies already have standalone speakers on the market that are control with intelligent assistants.
What’s worse, those intelligent digital assistants outstrip Siri in many ways, although all have their limits. Siri, for example, still completes search requests with, “Here’s what I found on the web,” which sometimes is much less than useful. Perhaps with a new Siri speaker in the lineup, developers will have the incentive to make Siri more effective.
On the other hand, it looks as if Apple is going to announce a new version of the iPad Pro, as we’ve been predicting for a while. This will be a 10.5-inch tablet with thin bezels that will probably replace the 9.7-inch Pro in the lineup. Again, this new form factor will directly involve Apple developers, so announcing it at WWDC makes sense.
While you’ll see new versions of the existing operating systems, including MacOS, iOS, WatchOS and Apple TV platforms, if there was something really different coming, you’d see support for it. Right now it seems that such support isn’t there. This means that you’re also not likely to see a new laptop or an Apple Car or even an Apple Drone, despite speculation to the contrary—at least not in the near future.
Of course you will see some new and useful features in Apple’s software, and the new iPad looks like really nice idea. But by not announcing new versions of major systems such as the MacBook, Apple stands at risk of losing the initiative to some aggressive competitors from Lenovo, Dell and HP. Those vendors aren’t going to give Apple a break and it will look as if Apple is falling even farther behind than it already is.
Originally published on eWeek