I watched all of it. I stuck through it. I did skip some bits where I just couldn’t handle the stupid whooping.
Here, then, is my perspective on the 5 things that really annoyed me during Apple’s WWDC keynote:
1. The whooping guy
After almost every second sentence, whilst Tim or any of the other Apple spokespeople were taking a breath and perhaps hoping for some applause, one guy obliged. Continually. One guy felt the need to loudly “WHOOOOOOOOOP” like a train going through a tunnel.
Occasionally when the rest of the audience actually cared about something that was said, we’d get a proper round of cheers. But most of the time the polite applause was joined by this singular whooper.
I found it quite difficult to concentrate watching the majority of the keynote because of this. It was almost like a flipping annoying laughter track. Not good at all.
2. Can’t innovate, my ass.
Who was it? Phil? I can’t remember the guy’s name — but it was during the sneak peak of the newly designed Mac Pro. In reaction to the reveal of the cylindrical plastic machine, he felt the need to quip, “Can’t innovate, my ass!” This drew lots of applause. All the while everyone was wondering just how innovate it was to make a smaller version of a huge tower. I’m sure they’ve done a lot of jiggerypokery to make it super-thermodynamic or whatnot, but the new Mac Pro is an also-ran. A lovely piece of also-ran design, sure. Innovative? I don’t think so. The iPhone was innovative. The App Store was innovative. I think the Mac Pro is just nicely designed.
The fundamental issue here is clear: Apple has been exceptionally irritated by media coverage claiming it can’t innovate. And I don’t think the Mac Pro sneak peak will have helped quiet that. Apple is supposed to be above all this. Not any more, clearly. Game on. That comment was a lovely signal to the likes of Samsung (and more) who’ve been poking fun at Apple — keep it up. It’s working. They’re getting annoyed.
3. iOS 7
It was painful watching the iOS 7 demonstration. You needed a triple-dose of Apple koolaid to avoid thinking, “Er, this is exactly what we’ve had with Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone… for ages.”
There was nothing ground breaking. If anything, it was catch-up. This is precisely what we’ve all been expecting. Obviously they needed to do something about the poxy notification features. Obviously they needed to spruce up the UI a bit. But goodness me, how many times do you need to show us the gorgeous weather app functionality? Like we haven’t seen moving cloud animation or thunderstorm animations. Utter balls. The good news is that iOS 7 has more or less got Apple caught up. So hopefully they might even be in a position to shock and delight us at some point. Don’t hold your breath.
4. The German Apple Store
I felt like I was having an out-of-brain experience sitting watching the keynote last night when all of a sudden Tim Cook started talking about architecture. By all means give us a little reminder of the number of stores (what was it, 400?) and the number of people attending each store per day in total (1 million). But don’t waste our collective time showing us a video of the detail of the German store’s architectural features.
5. The Defensive Presentation
I suppose we’re all so accustomed to Apple on the relaxed offensive. Or Apple basically not bothering about the competition. In yesterday’s keynote I was struck by the continual mentions of Android. If 93% of all iOS devices are on the latest operating system version, cool. That’s nice. I don’t think you necessarily help your cause by highlighting Android in so much detail. From a mobile industry standpoint it is exciting to see this sort of defensive positioning — it gets a lot more difficult for the rest of the market when they can’t figure out a) what annoys Apple and b) what they’re feeling sensitive about. Remember a few years back to the good old Jobs presentations? One comment could change the course of the marketplace in minutes. Dealing with a much more pedestrian Apple should be a lot simpler for many of its competitors, especially given the primary thing the management can think to do with all their astonishing profits is to… er… give it back to their shareholders.
If you haven’t managed to catch the keynote yet, check it out here: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/june-2013/