Let’s get the complaints out of the way:
- The Mac Pro was given a pathetic update, with hardware that is effectively two years old.
- Absolutely no peep about the Apple TV, which will surely upset analysts, but there was one interesting tidbit via display mirroring.
Now: let me tell you why this is the most disruptive keynote since the original iPhone announcement:
- Facebook: iOS 5 and 10.8 will have full Facebook integration. But even more awesome is how deep this goes: Apple will use App likes and other Facebook friend metrics to make discovery even better. Following the money, this is big news for the social network that just went IPO.
- China: Apple has expanded Siri’s capabilities to include Chinese support across all there major languages: Mandarin, Taiwanese and Cantonese. Tim Cook’s visits to the country weren’t for nothing: the biggest untapped market for Apple is in the Far East.
- Siri: Speaking of Siri: woah. The company has really “doubled-down” on the technology, deeply integrating features across the entire Mac lineup from dictation to restaurant reviews connected with Yelp (other companies got some great connectivity love. See this post on Forbes).
- Maps: I saw on my Twitter feed several people calling the Maps app improvements the best thing they’ve seen in years. And how. Apple has redesigned the app, throwing away Google maps and building on top of several acquisitions it has made in the past two years. 3D flyovers look impressive and turn-by-turn directions seem very responsive.
- Passbook: Apple has built an iOS app specifically for companies that have loyalty cards, movie tickets, flights, or any company that provides a physical piece of collateral with a barcode on it. This has obvious implications for a larger vision of a wallet that manages all of your loyalty cards, credit information, and more on one device. Apple already has the ability to handle purchases from the phone right in their own stores, and you can consider this to be a first step into a larger world.
- Retina: Of course, how can we understate the latest product offering from the firm: a 15” Macbook Pro with a Retina Display. The machine sports a 2880 x 1800 resolution (220 ppi). To give you some perspective, a retina display of this size can allow a video editor to preview a movie in 1080p and have room for tools and panels to make edits. Apple has perfected their supply chain over the years — no other company has produced a display to this standard on any mobile device, let alone a laptop. It will likely be at least five years before any company can meet the same mark.
Apple, under Tim Cook, has taken a razor sharp focus to its product offerings, defining their strengths and eliminating any weaknesses. Clearly, their disruptive ability is by evolving an already great product line and being able to provide them at unbelievable price points (Microsoft wouldn’t dare release one version of an OS and offer it at $20).