What iOS 8 means for Apple

by / 7 Comments / 344 View / June 6, 2014

Whether you are a tech junkie or just a caveman, it’s no doubt that Apple has been experiencing a “lull” since the passing of the late Steve Jobs.  Innovation has decreased in output (and arguably quality), market power has declined (see Apple’s failed attempt in China), and the company has garnered increasing amounts of media scrutiny as it fails to carry the same luster it had roughly three years ago. However, Apple’s metaphorical “worm,” CEO Tim Cook, does not deserve blame, nor should he be expected to assume the footsteps of such a historic and iconic trailblazer.

But forget footsteps. With the most recent unveiling of iOS 8, the latest in Apple software engineering, Cook put on an entirely different shoe. Whether this shoe is a better fit, however, is an entirely different question.

Apple is marketing iOS 8 on its website and in its press releases as “Huge for developers. Massive for everyone else.” This slogan begs the question, “why put the spotlight on developers?” The app market has been steadily growing and is one of the few features Apple still leads in over Android and Windows, but why would they do anything to change (and potentially limit) a remaining advantage?  Thus, it would make sense to cover the software highlights of the Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).  A practical overview:

1. Photos: Basically it’s easier to connect your iCloud photo library with your phone and computer. Oh you can edit them too.

2. Messages: You can now send audio recordings, as well as simplified video messages in chats. Location services have been enhanced so you can share your location for a set amount of time. But most importantly, they added a do not disturb feature for group chats. Praise you, Tim Cook, no longer do I want to throw my phone against a wall when 10 people in a chat have a conversation without me. Oh, you can also delete people from group chats when you want to gossip about them.

3. Design: Interactive notifications (i.e. quick reply to messages and calendar invitations) reduce clutter. Additionally, multitasking has been broadened to include not only your recent applications, but also the disembodied faces of the people you last spoke to! With just a mistaken tap at the top of your phone, it became that much easier to butt dial your mom.

4. Smart Keyboards: Welcome to 2010, Apple! That’s right; iOS8 boasts a keyboard that suggests words to complete your sentences. Yes, this feature is a definite plus, but Android phones have showcased this feature for years.

5. Family Sharing: “Family sharing makes it easy for up to six people in your family to share each other’s iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases.” Okay, so this update can spell success and disaster. Obviously, people are going to use Apple products more frequently, because they can split costs with their friends. Yet the flaw arises when Apple’s purchases will be cut by a sixth. It’s a gamble and could potentially pay off (because it is a feature Android doesn’t sport), but nonetheless, it’s a gamble.

6. Health: Okay this is pretty innovative. Essentially, Apple has entered the medical world by introducing a new dashboard devoted entirely to answering the question, “How are you?” Not only can you count calories and monitor your sleep schedule, but you can instantly access Lab Results, manage your Medications, and contact your doctor at the tap of your finger. I’m no fitness star, but this seems like a star development in an abyss of lackluster innovations.

7. Connected Interface: The “tour de force” of iOS8. Now, your Mac, iPhone, and iPad are all interconnected. That is, you can transfer your work “seamlessly” between the devices. In theory, this concept sounds bold. In actuality, I’m willing to bet this is going to be a train wreck.  Just think – people will be able to access your texts, emails, and phone calls from devices not in your possession. Also, iPhones are proficient at dropping calls on their own, but now we get to increase that risk every time you transfer to another device. Say goodbye to your unsaved emails and word documents!

So, Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s development team definitely made an attempt to progress in, or at least catch up to, modern times. As a company, Apple seems to have realized where their products lack in respect to their competition, but in most cases, their attempts to compete seem weak and unoriginal. The largest problem, in my opinion, is that Cook is trying to deliver at standards that simply cannot exist for Apple anymore. This update seems heavily hinged on the increased activity of app developers, simply by granting them more iOS capabilities and a new programming language. Naturally the success of iOS8 is something only time can tell, but it seems as if too many risks were taken, without sufficient analysis.

I’ll admit, five years ago, I would have pledged much more faith in the potential of a development of this caliber. Simply put, Apple was a stronger company in the past and would have garnered the support and compliance that Apple is betting on today. Times have changed, and honestly, so should the corporate strategy.


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  • Achal Srinivasan

    Nice piece, though I think you’re missing the point of iOS8 and looking at the update from a relatively narrow-minded consumer standpoint. It takes a tad more research to understand why this update is really beneficial for iOS users. It adds substance to last year’s style. I really don’t understand why an update to an operating system has to display a company’s innovative brawn, rather than providing long-awaited, and polished features to consumers and developers.

    First, this update isn’t a representation of Apple’s ability to innovate. Apple announces refined products – while they may not be first with many of these features, they are the most well-thought out implementations of them. Android may have a lot of features and customizability, but it’s an incredibly fragmented and unstable OS (and I’m saying that after owning 26 of the best Android phones released over the last 2.5 years, currently having a Nexus 5 and a Nexus 7, and (at some point) every iPhone/iPad within that same time period).

    Moreover, this article plays down so much of what was announced at WWDC. As a precursor, it’s a developer’s conference (Worldwide *Developer’s* Conference), so the fact that Apple is trying to pitch to developers should be anticipated. The iPhone will always be a superior platform to Android due to the app ecosystem. Apps are what make a mobile platform really great – we use apps for various purposes for the majority of the time we’re on our smartphones, so it’d be ideal that those apps are the most practical/functional as they can be. The number of quality applications will always be greater on iOS, as for developers, it’s A. easier to develop for, due to there being a set number of screen sizes and CPU architectures, B. the environment is superior – Xcode is a joy to work with compared to Eclipse (for Android) in addition to the fact that Objective-C is , and C. far less prone to piracy – it’s incredibly disincentivizing for developers to spend time developing for a platform which allows you to download your application file from popular file sharing sites and install it immediately (See: Dead Trigger). Apps make the difference on a phone – it’s 90% of the reason that people don’t use Windows Phone & Blackberry anymore. The hundreds of features announced for developers are really, really groundbreaking.

    A. Swift – yeah, it’s a _new programming language_. It’s significantly more straightforward and fast to work with than Objective-C (which was already a more popular jumping off point than the amount of C and Java necessary for developing on Android), and thus A. easier to learn for new developers, which makes iOS all the more attractive to develop for, and B. developers can _do_ more with Swift than was possible previously, meaning better apps.

    B. Inter-app Communication – sure, this exists in Android, but it’s implementation is incredibly clunky. Users can not only share to other installed apps, but they can borrow useful actions and features from them, too. Android allows you to share a certain item to another app, but doesn’t allow the app to recognize what you’d like done with that item.

    C. Interactive Notifications – something that is on Android, but not fully developed. The ability to interact with notifications A. without having to pull down the notification bar, and B. with the ability to type right into a notification. Also, few of Android’s popular applications actually allow you to interact with notifications – they’re mostly Google’s apps (i.e. Gmail) and text-messaging apps.

    D. SPKs and APIs: 1. TestFlight – this will allow developers to open up their apps in beta directly to their users and receive feedback. It shows developers information about their app right within the service. This should mean more open access for beta and better stability upon release – something rare in Android apps (“This application has quit unexpectedly.” Sound familiar, Android users?) 2. Extensibility – Apple has added ~4,000 new developers APIs (application programming interfaces). Specifically, extensibility adds the ability for apps to offer services within other apps. 3. Widgets: Sure, Android has widgets. Except these are available throughout the interface, not just on the home screen.

    Just a few corrections/bones to pick:

    Re: 3. I’m fairly certain that your butt cannot activate a button on a capacitive touch screen unless it’s bare (what are you doing with your phone?) and really accurate (pointy butt?). 😉

    Re: 7. “Just think – people will be able to access your texts, emails, and phone calls from devices not in your possession.” No, the phone is connected via Bluetooth, which has a range of ~30 feet.

    “Also, iPhones are proficient at dropping calls on their own,” iPhones aren’t the reason your calls are dropping unless your phone is faulty, in which case you can get it replaced immediately under AppleCare (unlike the competition) – it’s the network. Blame Verizon/AT&T, not Apple.

    “but now we get to increase that risk every time you transfer to another device. Say goodbye to your unsaved emails and word documents” – not sure what you mean – the file is still saved locally to your device even after it’s moved over.

    Re: Implementation: “see Apple’s failed attempt in China” – **far** from a financial failure… could you elaborate?

    Re: Conclusion: “Apple seems to have realized where their products lack in respect to their competition, but in most cases, their attempts to compete seem weak and unoriginal.” – I think they’ve caught up, and surpassed the implementation of features in other operating systems that they’ve drawn from. I don’t see how they’re disappointing shareholders/investors nor consumers with this update.

    “The largest problem, in my opinion, is that Cook is trying to deliver at standards that simply cannot exist for Apple anymore… it seems as if too many risks were taken, without sufficient analysis.” – This is a bit absurd. First off, Tim Cook is doing an excellent job delivering at Apple – catching up with and surpassing competition is what Apple does. It’s not stealing an idea if you make it better than the original implementation. It’s also utopian to think that Android has not ripped so many features from Apple (you should’ve seen Android before the iPhone was announced). Second, I don’t see any risk-taking here – the only “gamble” or risk you talk about is with Family Sharing, which I don’t see as done without sufficient analysis. It’s a feature that people have requested for a long time, and is super consumer-friendly/useful. Every feature that was released with iOS8 seems extremely well-thought out, especially as every feature is either new (such as Homekit, Healthkit, Family Sharing, etc.) or a straight up improved implementation of features from other platforms. Third, would you mind elaborating on what you mean by ‘trying to deliver at standards that simply cannot exist for Apple anymore’?

    I don’t attend Wharton (though I’d love to), so my opinions on fiscal/corporate matters are probably less qualified/accurate than yours, but it sure doesn’t seem like a corporate strategy needs to change. I’m not an Apple fanboy (I <3 Google), but I do think iOS 8 is a huge step in the right direction. I look forward to hearing your responses.

    • boooApple

      Apple can find Quantum Computing and they still will suck and Android wins cause Apple is a pompous dbag

    • LonelyDter

      Ram Prasad? Is that you?

    • Joseph Robillard

      Hi there, I’m glad you were so moved by my article that you took the immense amount of time needed to craft a comment that was longer than the content it’s referring to. I’m not trying to sound rude, but at points in your comment, such a negative and condescending tone is taken – not towards the content, but specifically towards my understanding of the subject, that I feel the need to be a bit more firm in my response. That is, for convincing purposes 🙂

      So, first, I’d like to commend you for realizing that I’m evaluating the update from a consumer standpoint. Why would I do that? Because the success of this update on the
      market is hinged on consumer perception, which I tend to focus on as a business
      major who will be concentrating in marketing. That said, I don’t feel that my
      opinions are “relatively narrow minded;” despite being a fairly direct insult
      at my intelligence, this statement is blatantly unqualified. On the same side of that coin, I could say your opinions are narrow-minded, because they specifically hone in on a niche
      aspect of the consumer market. Unfortunately, my opinions represent roughly 70-80% of the populous, while yours represent the narrow remaining amount.

      Your next point claims that the update isn’t a representation of Apple’s ability to innovate. Please see apple’s frontrunner for information, the homepage: “What makes iOS 8 the world’s most advanced mobile operating system? It’s the details. The innovations.
      The complete experience.” Now that that is out of the way, I’d like to counter your personal experience with Android OS with mine, where the HTC one M8 blew past my iPhone in terms of processing speed and power.

      Yes, I realize this was pitched at the WWDC (and yes, I can read *developer’s*), but the list I drafted were the highlights, as I explicitly stated, that Apple featured on it’s main
      site. Additionally, while this may be a developer’s conference, it has routinely been the release site for new Apple products, many not geared to developer’s at all. Also, I think you failed to acknowledge the concession I made in the article, admitting that the iOS App market is still beating out Android, but unfortunately, almost all of the features of this
      update have nothing to do with developer-based applications.

      Now, for Swift. I know you are a programmer, so kudos for blipping through the bullet point comparison of Swift with other languages. However, from a corporate side, Swift was a must, not a plus. With an upscale in design, programmers would have naturally shifted away from producing iOS applciations if they weren’t granted access to the most BASIC
      features (i.e a new keyboard, full screen, or higher graphic resolution). Yet, my quibble was that Apple boasted this as a ground-breaking innovation that will revolutionize app coding, when, even by your standards, it hardly fits that title.

      Okay now to your
      -Butt dialing is a
      problem: http://www.cnet.com/how-to/stop-pocket-dialing-on-your-iphone/
      -30 foot range
      is fairly large, someone could be in an adjacent room.
      – Okay, I
      realize iPhones themselves do not drop the calls, however the network they have
      agreed to contract with does cause this to happen. That same network is supposed to ensure your
      tablet, computer, and phone can handle a call (assuming the Bluetooth signal is
      interrupted), so my argument still holds water.

      For the failed
      China attempt, only someone who would take time to check the elusive reference
      material would have seen this article: http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/06/iphone-apple-china-leadership-managing-failure.html

      So you’re biggest argument in the conclusion is that Apple is known for “catching up with and surpassing competition.” That was NEVER the corporate strategy of Apple, and to be perfectly honest, catching up and trying to surpass is a weak excuse for a business plan. Tim Cook is doing an excellent job, as he has had to take the reigns, but what I clearly said (in the beginning of the article and at the end) is that his problem is he is still trying to deliver a “Steve Jobs” quality product, which is the standard that literally cannot exist
      for Apple anymore (if you need an explanation – Steve Jobs passed away in 2011). For comparison, look at what you said originally: iOS8 is the functionality to iOS7. Does that sound effective in the least? Apple isn’t explicitly generating profit on the new OS downloads, and the way they do profit off an update is selling phones with the new software, which is generated by consumer appeal and preference. If this was condensed, and released as one update (less some of the time-dependent updates), the complete package would have had an exponential affect on purchases: preference increases, demand follows, multiplier etc…

      Additionally, it’s hard not to see how disappointing Apple has become for shareholders. This is one article of many circulating the web: http://www.macleans.ca/society/technology/apple-disappoints-shareholdersand-consumers/

      You obviously must be passionate about this subject, and a debater, for you crafted this like an LD case (without the Korsgaard). So I hope I was able to resolve the issues you pointed out.

      • Achal Srinivasan


        I think a majority of what I tried to get across went over your head in your relatively defensive post.

        Yes, you’re looking at it from a consumer standpoint. No, you’re not understanding what any of the announcement means for consumers. I think you’re missing the fundamental point of these updates – developers create for consumers. If something is beneficial for developers, it is transitively beneficial for consumers.

        Let’s address consumer perception. Your evaluation of the features of iOS seem to be from a very technical background, which I’m sure 96% of the ‘consumer’ population that we are referring to do not have. There are new flashy features that were not in iOS7.-, the overall experience is one that is still more powerful, more stable, and well rounded than the competitors, and Apple’s done a damn good job of showing how smaller features that are developer-oriented benefit the consumers – a stroll through their iOS8 page will show you that.

        If you go back and read your summary of iOS in the original article from the standpoint of a regular individual who uses their iPhone for the great ecosystem, harmony between software and hardware, and the applications, there is absolutely nothing disappointing about this update. I’m sure that the ‘consumers’ that we’re addressing wouldn’t think twice about the upgrade knowing that it benefits them.

        Also, P.S. there was almost nothing that stood out to consumers with Android 4.4 Kitkat… I don’t think it’s fair to talk about disappointment without acknowledging that Google I/O does almost nothing for consumers in relation to WWDC.

        Moreover, I’m unsure why you believe that upgrades all must be revolutionary, innovative, and novel. Apple is doing iOS right – they’re fixing what was wrong with iOS7, and working to catch up and surpass the competition, a point you never addressed.

        So let’s talk about your response specifically:

        WWDC 2008: no hardware.
        WWDC 2009: no hardware.
        WWDC 2010: no hardware.
        WWDC 2011: no hardware.
        WWDC 2012: Retina Macbook Pro, update MBA.
        WWDC 2013: Mac Pro (after 6 years), update MBA.
        WWDC 2014: no hardware.

        So no, it isnt’t a site for ‘routine’ hardware updates.

        Next, “almost all of the features of this update have nothing to do with developer-based applications.”

        *What?* Developers create apps. iOS8 and the announcements benefit developers, who create apps. Apps improve, the ecosystem improves.

        “[Talking about Swift]… With an upscale in design, programmers would have naturally shifted away from producing iOS applciations if they weren’t granted access to the most BASIC features (i.e a new keyboard, full screen, or higher graphic resolution).”

        1. These are all hardware features, not software features, other than the keyboard. The hardware itself is what determines the screen size, resolution, etc. This has absolutely nothing to do with Swift.

        2. I hope you understand that it was very much possible for developers to create keyboards for the OS (see: Fleksy, Touchpal) but they could not be the _default_ keyboard.

        Butt dialing: you linked an article that refers to problems with Android phones butt dialing, and providing solutions for iOS users while never acknowledging that the problem exists in the first place.

        Bluetooth: If you have your computer unlocked, it’s 30 feet away, and around people you don’t trust, you probably deserve to have your stuff meddled with. That’s just a bit irresponsible.

        Network Connection: Your cup is pretty empty – if your network is an issue, that has nothing to do with Apple providing a feature for conveniency – you have the ability to tether from your smartphone (a feature that has been around for a long time) without taking it out of your pocket, with the additional features of answering/rejecting phone calls and responding to SMS messages, neither of which affect bandwidth/internet connection.

        China: Date-check – your article is from 2009, here’s something from your esteemed university 🙂 http://global.wharton.upenn.edu/post/apples-foray-into-china-and-the-mind-of-the-new-chinese-consumer/

        Disappointment for Shareholders: something from the US, a reputable bias-free source, and from the last year would shut me up. This article contains more baseless claims and less warrants than my debate cases (that’s extreme).

        Tim Cook: Apple is not ‘known’ for this. They do it often and it’s very successful. Their corporate strategy seems to be to be the best in the market – seems like it’s working fine. Until there is innovation that is nearly as groundbreaking as what Steve Jobs introduced (please be aware that although he is credited with a lot of innovations, they were not entirely his brainchildren…), I don’t think we should be looking down at Tim Cook for trying to fill up a saturated glass. I think it’s also really soon to talk – Apple has a lot in store for later this year according to the WWDC presentation (if you watched).

        Consumer Preference: Apple generates profit off new purchases AND upgrades – people who buy into the ecosystem want to stay, and they will with updates like this. Apple has closed the gap between their own platform and the competition, and still have so much more to offer. I think you should shift off of satisfaction as well, since Apple has by far the most satisfied customers. Not sure of one iPhone user who complains of apps not available on their platform or Force Closes or the need to install custom ROMS to achieve certain features.

        Also, *effect, not ‘affect’. (sorry) (not really 😉 )

        Your move.

      • 24601

        The article you reference in regards to the Apple shareholders is from January 2013. Since then the price is almost back up to the all-time high, see https://www.google.com/finance?cid=22144.