Tomorrow Apple opens up WWDC 2012. As usual, CEO Tim Cook will deliver the keynote, which is usually laden with cool new announcements. Will it be a new iPhone? An Apple HDTV? In any case, there will be an introduction of iOS 6 for sure, judging from the banners in the Moscone Convention Center.
I don’t care so much to see the iPhone 5 tomorrow, as I’m sure there will be one this year. Interesting rumours and “leaked parts” are flying around on the internet. Lots of cool stuff and no doubt it will be the coolest device on the market for yet another year. In any case, I will buy it as a replacement for my trusty iPhone 4.
For now, I’m mostly interested in iOS 6 and the new stuff it will bring. With iOS 5 I had hoped for a refresh, or even an overhaul, of the home screen. Slick and fluid as it is, iOS is starting to look aged compared to Windows Phone Mango and even Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Not that I want to have widgets all over the place, but the liveliness of Windows Phone (with its Live Tiles) is lacking in iOS. Live Tiles and Background Agents are the two things I have “feature envy” over. Metro, not so much. It looks nice and fresh at first sight, but after a couple of minutes of using a some of the apps it becomes obvious how difficult it is to apply the concept. Most Metro apps look bland, bare bone and not so fresh as the WP7 home screen promises. So it’s iPhone for me all the way, unsurprisingly… iOS is still the most complete, stable and mature smart phone OS on the market in my opinion. It’s not a coincidence that all of the cool apps appear on iOS first, and usually look the coolest on iOS as well.
While iOS 5 did bring a bunch of improvements in usability and some nice new features, the static home screen remained, so I was a bit disappointed. I´m hoping for more in iOS 6. When I first saw the announcement for WWDC 2012, I immediately thought the logo looked fresh and playful.
Will this translate to the overall appearance of iOS 6? I hope so. Rumours are that there will be a completely new Maps application with 3D and all. Cool, but not crucial for me. Now is the time for Apple to put more innovation into the overall experience. Other rumours are that most of the application chrome in default apps will be silver instead of the grayish blue, much like the iPad. Also nice, but not shocking. Funny enough the iOS 6 logo (as seen above) is that same grayish blue color as the old chrome. On the other hand, the “6” has a gray/silver color. We’ll see…
What I’d love to see is an overhaul of the home screen UI, more and tighter integration possibilities between apps, and more informative home screen. I use my iPhone both for work and privately, so I’d love to see my upcoming appointments for the day in some way, missed phone calls, maybe some Twitter related info, and a bit less clunky than how notifications are done in iOS 5 (which already was a big improvement over iOS 4)! This video, made by an iOS fan, shows some nice ideas for iOS 6. I hope some of them will be announced tomorrow:
Apple has been known to put clues here and there into their invitations and stuff. Look closely at the iOS 6 logo… See the ripples? Does this hint at tactile feedback? Or is it just the new default wallpaper like on the new iPad? Sometimes speculating on non-information is fun 😉
Another cool rumour is the one around NFC integration. Apple was recently awarded a patent that hints towards usage of NFC for mobile payment type scenario’s. Very nice, and NFC opens some nice possibilities for apps.
The last thing I’d like Apple to do is create a better experience on the iPad for pens. I know Steve Jobs hated styluses, but there are a lot of very cool creativity apps for the iPad. FiftyThree’s Paper app is currently the coolest on the market. I like using the iPad for drawing, sketching and notetaking, and my Bamboo Stylus for iPad is a great tool, but the experience is still clunky. iPad / iOS has no palm negation technique so drawing on the iPad isn’t as natural as on a piece of paper. Microsoft is way more ahead of Apple in this area, with its years old Ink technology. The //BUILD developer preview tablet with Windows 8 comes with a nice pen and drawing and writing on it feels very natural. The more the iPad is becoming a device for creation, not just consuming, the more I think it needs this type of support. Of course iOS needs to be prepared for this as well. Luckily there have been rumours about this…
I’ll be watching the keynote live blogs very closely tomorrow! Time for Apple to 0wn back the competition.