Jun 10, 2008  •  In Geek

My Disappointment with WWDC 2008

New York is in the midst of a heat wave.

How did the temperature go from 60 to 90 overnight? Where was spring?

With record-breaking temperatures comes mass transportation delays, school closings, and the delightful eau-de-NYC-summer.

But my mind was on other things yesterday.

Actually, the minds of many geeks and Apple fanboys were all on one specific event from the hours of 10am-1pm PST: the WWDC keynote address.

The major announcements:

  • Mac OS X 10.6 is called “Snow Leopard” and will be more evolutionary than revolutionary, as predicted.
  • .Mac will switch over to .Me (again, as predicted) and will host mobileme, an “Exchange for the rest of us.”
  • The second generation of the iPhone will be released on July 11, with the iPhone 2.0 software available then as well. The new iPhone will be faster (3G) and much cheaper, at $199 for 8GB and $299 for 16GB (wonder how those who paid $600 for the thing are feeling now?)
  • More iPhone stuff.
  • Much more iPhone stuff.

To be completely honest, I was pretty disappointed. I had expected more, perhaps a “One more thing” item that makes so many of Steve Jobs’ keynotes so exhilarating.

I think my friend Brian put it best when he told me,

i remember apple used to be great because he would announce like a new ipod, a new laptop, a new desktop, a new piece of software, a new operating system, the cure for cancer

AND some new gadget we’d never heard of… all in one keynote

now it’s just like “oh hi here’s three hours of iphone”

The new features of the iPhone 2.0 aren’t even good enough for me to want to switch over. 3G? Go to Asia, where they’re already using 4G (and working on 5G). A bunch of new apps and games? Fun, but nothing special. GPS? Yeah, my current phone already has that…and it talks to me while giving directions.

Apple is also touting push email as a major new feature. However, it’s not purely push…it’s more like a workaround, with a server working as a middleman. What happens when that server goes down?

Then there’s the new design. I liked the boxy look of the original iPhone. I liked the aluminum back. Why did they decide to add those curves and change the back to plastic? (Supposedly the plastic back provides better call quality…eh.) The whole thing looks pretty girly and looks more like a toy than a high-tech gadget.

That being said…

You have to admit that Steve Jobs is a great speaker. That man always has his audience wrapped around his little finger. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch writes,

I’ve been to enough Steve Jobs keynotes now to know that the man is able to take a crowd and bend it to his will. Every time, I’ve been a willing subject – sometimes (but not every time) to find myself in a hangover-like state a day later when I try to remember exactly why I thought that whatever he was pitching would change my life forever.

You can watch yesterday’s keynote here. If you have time, you should search for past WWDC and Macworld keynotes as well – he truly is mesmerizing.

I may not love the iPhone, but I’m still a Machead (and a Steve Jobs fan).

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