Apple’s Keynote WWDC 2014 & Special Event 9914
I was going to write about Apple’s 2014 WWDC Keynote sooner. I’d planned to. I have a draft on the computer. As it turned out, I’d gotten a new Mac just days before the keynote and that has kept me busy adjusting to Mavericks, seeing what apps from the old computer would work on the new computer and which would not, getting new hard drives for archival files, and generally reorganizing digital life. I thought I would have written the article over the course of the last few weeks, but I got another new Mac during that time.
I wrote about some of what I thought were the highlights of WWDC 2013 last year. I called WWDC 2013 majestic. What could be better than that? A writer whose WWDC 2014 article I liked a lot, Brent Simmons, said that it was like Christmas for developers. I started calling it what the Harmonic Convergence was supposed to be, after being amazed at the sound that came out of the new MacBook Air.
Mavericks now seems somewhat like a teaser for Yosemite. It’s as if it set a new beziér curve as a motion path for Apple to orbit on for a while, a few years maybe. A bit rough at first, but the ends will meet, the loop infinite.
Some things I’d like to see addressed in in Yosemite.
- Safari in Mavericks can quit without warning when there are open tabs. Previously, when there were open tabs, Safari would ask if you were sure you wanted to quit. Since the Q and the W are close, since one might forget there were minimized open tabs, this was a handy warning. Why not bring this back?
- Contrast in System Preferences > Display is mislabeled. The adjustment is not contrast but brightness.
- Pinch and Zoom works sometimes and sometimes not. Worked in Mail.app, now it doesn’t.
- Notifications can only be looked at in Mavericks. They would be more useful were they flexible, such as either copy and pasteable or drag and dropable.
- Download completion indicator (using wifi, in my experience) are unreliable. Sometimes it says “Done” when the download is not done; sometimes is done, but still shows the “cloud” (and won’t play in the case of a podcast) when in fact the entire download can be found in finder.
- In the App Store, often the descriptions are hard to read. Low contrast, small text, not reflowable, not resizable contribute to this.
- Add some kind of wish list or bookmarking system to the App Store app. Sometimes I have looked at apps that I might want later, or want to research more and return to, or simply return to at another time, but there is no built in way to do this - and the text is not copy and pasteable or drag and dropable.
- What’s with Help files being available only when online? This is an extremely bad practice, imo. I understand things could change and be updated, and I’m not saying the entire documentation needs to be included, but all apps, especially Apple apps, should come with some essential information about the app. The benefits of doing this would far outweigh the cost. I could write a book length article on this topic.
- Assurance that I won’t have to re-approve or validate a non App Store app every time I use it.
The Mac and iOS devices will be closer, more inter-related with Yosemite. You will be able to make and take phone calls from the computer. Custom keyboards for iOS will be available. Yosemite will have a translucent white chrome - I’ve been calling it frosted glass - instead of gray which still looks like brushed aluminum to me in Mavericks.
Now 9914 is around the corner as I write this. I’ve heard some speculation about the date, nothing that makes any sense. These events are usually on a Tuesday, but it could have been any Tuesday. 9914 symbolically celebrates 15 years since Steve Jobs announced OS X. It wasn’t in September, but the year was 1999. I remember that day. I had a front-row seat to watch the keynote. I was on an Apple seminar mailing list. There was to be a satellite downlink of the keynote about an hour’s drive away. I planned to go. The morning was gray. There was a blizzard on the way. I know, it was May, but I was in the mile-high region of the US at the time. Snow plastered the windshield like giant pancakes. The windshield wiper on the driver’s side broke off. I kept driving, bending to see out of the passenger side of the window. Even though I’d left early, I arrived just in time. And because of that the only seat left was in the front row. It was the closest, physically, I’d ever be to Steve Jobs. He was, as I recall, as excited and happy to be there as he was when he announced the iPhone.
I remember that year. Earlier in the year I’d attended a traveling Apple event demonstrating Final Cut Pro. I was already a QuickTime freak, so Final Cut Pro was jaw-droppingly astounding. Later that year I got the Lombard computer - not the one Steve kept saying was “about twenty-five hundred dollars” but the model that was a thousand more for an extra Two gigabytes on the hard-drive and a slightly faster processor, and Final Cut Pro 1.0.
What about the event coming up? I have tried to avoid rumors, speculations, and wild guesses about Apple products in the past, but they are hard to escape these days. When I first heard about a bigger iPhone, I thought Apple could simply put the phone chip in an iPad Mini and call it a day. I said this to someone (a T-Mobile clerk) who replied that people would look funny holding it up to their ear. Where has he been, I thought. Who does that anymore? Incidentally, T-Mobile does not sell iPhones, they sell financing, they don’t care what phone you get, they misinform about the iPhone 5c (said it had an A5 processor), and the free streaming music only applies if you finance a phone with them.
I don’t care that much about a bigger iPhone. What I have wanted since the the iPhone was announced was an Apple Communication Device without the phone. iPod Touch was almost it, but it travels in a different direction now. The iPad is very cool, but it has different advantages and features. The iPhone 6 may be the answer I’ve been waiting for.
After I got an iPod, when I would see someone wearing a watch, I’d think to myself, “That’s someone who doesn’t have an iPod.” An iPod has a clock. Why would anyone wear a watch if they had an iPod? Times change. A watch can listen to your heart beat, maybe make Chinese diagnosis replacing acupuncturist.
What about all the sapphire Apple is making? For iWatches? Maybe. For iPhone screens? Maybe. No one has mentioned displays. I think a new display might be coming - with sapphire glass.