Search Digital Aneurysm

Monday, 7 June 2010

WWDC 2010: It's all about the gyroscope

Ok, so Steve Jobs just finished the WWDC 2010 keynote speech. Did it meet our expectations? Did it make our eyes bleed? Read on...

Firstly, lets just say start by saying there was no mention of the following products that I had hoped to see :

  • Safari 5
  • iPhone Nano/family
  • OSX 10.7
  • Apple TV
There was however the 'One more thing moment', more on that later.

So aside from some iPad wankery, we had a 2 hour presentation on the iPhone 4 (it's official name).
So what's new??


It turns out the Gizmodo handset was in fact the new iPhone so there really weren't many surprises here.
  • It uses the A4 chip found in the insanely fast iPad
  • Battery life is up to 40% better (talk time) thanks to the new A4 chip and a 16% larger battery. I've got to say, given the recent accuracy of Apples battery life estimates in the iPad and Macbooks, I have no reason not to believe them.

  • IPS 'Retina' Display, 960x640 with 800:1 contrast ratio, excellent viewing angle and 4x the pixel density of of the 3GS. There is no doubt the resolution was noticeably better, however the image didn't look as bright as the 3GS.
  • Gyroscope on board providing extra tracking of body movement, yanno so you can play Jenga.
  • 5MP Camera with larger image sensor. It was nice to see someone addressing the myth over Megapixels and instead focusing on a larger sensor and larger lens.
  • Front facing camera for Apples new videoconferencing software 'FaceTime'
So really, the only surprise from the Giz report was the addition of the Gyroscope. However, as Apple is so often the vicim of its own hype, its worth taking a step back and looking at exactly what we have. 
Apple has taken it's market leading phone, added the very fast A4 chip, increased the battery life, tweaked the good looks making it look more refined and yet maintaining the iphone style and improved the existing camera while adding a front facing one. 
This is the most significant hardware upgrade to the iPhone hardware yet and there is no doubt the iPhone 4 will be a hit and deservedly so. 

Software, Whats in a name?:

After the release of the iPhone OS running iPad and rumours of Apple TV also looking to run on the mobile platform, the name iPhone OS made less and less sense. So Apple have halted the madness and renamed the OS simply to iOS. We covered the main features of iPhone OS iOS4 before and while there are still parts of it that don't resonate personally with me, there is no denying it is slick and constantly improving. 
So what was new today?

  • iBooks, yeah it's iBooks from the iPad now on iPhone. I'm sure the improved pixel density will make reading easier, but it's hard to get excited about this.
  • iMovie, it's iMovie for iPhone! The demo looked very slick and with the integration with the cloud and HD video shooting it seemed like a genuinely useable piece of editing software on a mobile device, which in its self is astounding. I am more interested however if this will be released for iPad, sure it doesn't shoot video, but it would be all the more useable with the real estate of the iPads screen and with a little iPhone integration would be awesome. 

Steve's 'One more thing' today was Facetime video conferencing and is just like iChat for iPhone. It only works on WiFi from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4, which is a little disappointing as some iChat integration would be amazing. However as a friend reminded me "I sold that for 3 mobile 7 years ago" Yes the camera is better and the codecs have improved , but 7 years ago it was a novelty feature and I fear the same may be true of Facetime today. It also seems all the more criminal that the iPad doesn't have a front facing camera as I can see Facetime really working on that platform. 

And thats that, nice hardware improvements, decent software features and inevitable success. 

However for me there was no 'show' today, just a dragged out presentation on everything we already knew about the iPhone. Today demonstrated clearly that Apple is continuing to distance its self as a computer company and considers itself very much a mobile devices and media company. While mobile and digital convergence is definitely the future, it was still surprising that in a developers conference it the Mac was not even worthy of a footnote.


1 comment: