AS THIS ESTEEMED WEBSITE rolls towards its 20th birthday in a couple of years (we know, we can't quite believe it either), certain traditions are still upheld. Sarcasm. Treating Microsoft with suspicion. Overuse of the words 'borked' and 'dinkle'. And the annual post-WWDC retort from an Android user, usually me.
When I first started, there was more than a little cynicism in these columns, but more recently as the rest of the market continues to be about who can announce (not launch) a product the fastest, Apple has become a good barometer for what is actually going to happen imminently, not just when the kinks are ironed out.
And so with it's with an uncharacteristically ungrumpy heart, I set about picking apart the biggest night in the Apple year, as an outsider.
Let's start with that big ol' washing machine drum of a Mac Pro, shall we? Even the most diehard Applehead is unlikely to splash out on one - they're not for everyday use. It's been a while since we saw a Mac Pro, as even Apple recognised that simply churning out its own take on a workstation wasn't the answer.
The result, a machine that can boast up to 1.5TB of RAM, multiple Intel Xeon processors and looks stunning. It'd be easier to scoff and say "LOL - it's a grand just for a stand to put it on" and yes, it's a pretty spectacular ask, but given what this machine is capable of, and its estimate £30,000 top-whack price, it's pretty much in perspective. The fact that this one is actually upgradeable is a big whoop too.
More to the point, if I were a graphic designer or an animator, I'm not sure I'd even look at a Windows machine. And that means Apple has got it right. It will also save time on lunch, as you can grate cheese on the side, and boil macaroni on the heatsink.
The hype over the delisting of iTunes feels a bit overblown. After all, it hasn't been a part of iOS for some time, and it's pretty much recognised that it had become a bloated white elephant that did far more than it was designed for and accordingly wasn't doing it as well as it could.
But let's be clear - iTunes changed everything. Apple will like it that I said that. Now, by putting it out to seed, it's changing everything again. It's an acknowledgement that streaming has won and the age of ripping CDs is over. In fact, we've not been able to confirm whether the new Apple Music app will even support ripping - though Apple has confirmed that nobody will lose their existing purchases and the iTunes Store will remain for those who prefer a download.
I've never been keen with the way that Google insists on having more apps than necessary, and I'm much the same with Apple. I'd much rather there was one app replacing iTunes. But there's no question that it had long since served its purpose and it was time for a change.
iOS 13 does its usual trick of taking all the best bits from elsewhere (dark mode, anyone), ensuring it sets the agenda to what will become mainstream. That's fine, we can live with that, and at least we know that users will be able to get them sooner rather than later.
But perhaps the most interesting announcement of the day was iPadOS. It's a recognition of the changing times that more people want to use their tablet as their main device, and enhancing the operating system to reflect that is a big challenge to rivals.
Thing is, Android has already tried a separate operating system for tablets - it was called Android Honeycomb and it was not particularly well received, or adopted. The fact that Apple will now effectively have three semi-compatible operating systems isn't filling me with confidence that this won't all turn into a fragmented mess.
I'd like to have seen Apple commit to some sort of combined operating system - that's what will make it a clear and present danger to Windows OEMs. But it's easier said than done, and right now, the promise of iPadOS will keep me going.
Finally, a note on the 'Sign in with Apple' feature. There's no doubt that Apple is ahead of the curve on this one. The idea of generating an email alias so the website/app can't possibly have access to your data is inspired. There's just one thing. You're being asked to trust Apple. If you're okay with this, mazeltov, but really we ought to be stepping away from these single-sign-ins from big tech companies - there's too much at stake. So on that, it's a case of 'nice try, Apple', but no cigar. It's a solution. Not the solution.
This has been one of the biggest shake-ups to Apple's offering in some years. To say that I, a born Apple cynic, is not just unable to really pick apart the range, but am actually somewhat impressed is a place I never thought I'd be, and whilst I won't be rushing out to buy an iPhone, I'm quietly reassured that Apple's future is looking good. Everyone needs a yin to their yang. μ
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