As promised, Steve Jobs and Apple made sweeping software-related announcements at the WWDC keynote in San Francisco Monday.
While much of the functionality previewed by the Cupertino, CA technology behemoth will not be available to users until sometime this fall, several companies and technology purveyors have got to be quaking in their boots as a result of seeing Apple’s roadmap to the future.
First and perhaps most significantly, Apple took giant strides toward putting a final stake in the heart of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry line of mobile phones.
The one-time mobile kingpin and de-facto standard for enterprise mobility was always most famous for the ease with which its users could send messages to one another. With Apple’s announcement of iMessage Monday, RIM’s advantage in that area is now history.
Beginning with the release of iOS 5 in the fall, every Apple mobile device — iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches — will gain the ability to send and receive instant messages, via text and SMS, including videos, contacts, and group messages. In addition, participants will be able to see if someone in the conversation is typing. Over 3G or WiFi. Advantage Apple.
As a fairly recent iPad user, I have enjoyed using Apple’s tablet for reading stuff — books, magazines, webblogs — just about as much as anything else. Two new iOS integrations announced on Monday are bound to make that experience even more pleasurable — Newsstand and Reading List — and at the same time obviate the necessity of pretty excellent 3rd-party applications such as Zinio and Instapaper.
Fully integrated with the iOS App Store, Newsstand will allow users to manage all their magazine and newspaper app subscriptions directly from within Apple’s walled garden, driving subscription revenue share to Cupertino and perhaps finally saving the digital publishing industry in the bargain.
The next iteration of Mobile Safari will allow users to cut-out much of the whiz-bang flotsom and jetsam (read: extraneous graphics and advertising) from webpages, serving up text in easy-to-read format and distilling multi-page articles and posts into single page affairs. It will also let users save web pages in such format to a Reading List to access later. Sayonara Instapaper?
NY Times technology columnist David Pogue was moved to tweet early on in Monday’s keynote his condolences for “all those app developers who have had their ideas pilfered by Apple today,” and certainly, as a group photo app developers took a pretty good punch to the gut.
With iOS 5 Apple is building some basic editing features such as crop, rotate, red-eye reduction, and iPhoto’s one-click enhance right into the Camera app. This won’t kill popular favorites such as Instagram or Hipstamatic, but dozens of more pedestrian photo editing apps are sure to disappear soon from the App Store.
Independent app distribution is going to wither as well in the coming onslaught of Apple software improvements.
For mobile devices, the App Store already gives Apple a chokehold on anything not meant for jailbroken devices. But the rise of the Mac App Store is coming and soon, any developer seeking to gain wide distribution of his or her work is going to simply sign on the dotted line and allow Apple its take.
Not without tears and gnashing of teeth, to be sure, but mark these words: two years from now Independent Mac software distribution will account for perhaps a tenth of all Mac software sales.
The topics addressed herein are already being tossed thither and yon on Twitter and Facebook and in emails all over the web. Many contacts we’re in touch with say there’s no way iOS’s Twitter integration is going to cause them to stop using Twitterific or Hoot Suite; Instapaper loyalists are making their voices heard; CrashPlan and Dropbox have also got their defenders.
What do readers here think? Has Apple left blood in the streets with its Lion and iOS software announcements — or will the 3rd party application ecosphere remain as robust as its been the past three years since the iPhone started this whole thing?