Five Things Apple Killed at WWDC 2011


False versions of Xcode may have gotten into your apps; here's how to fix the problem.
False versions of Xcode may have gotten into your apps; here's how to fix the problem.
Photo: Apple

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?

  • Chris Cooper

    I don’t see anything in iOS5 which will cause me to abandon any of the apps I use on a regular basis.
    It just makes the things I need to do quickly available even quicker. It’s no replacement for a full app.

  • Jose

    Bookmark & keychain sync is dead too apparently….

  • davidk

    This post would be a lot clearer if you broke the five things out into a numbered list.

  • tony taylor

    If your app works across the broad spectrum of os choices you will be ok, also if you can bring features to iOS devices that won’t be able to run iOS 5 there is money to be made after all there are millions of perfectly usable devices out there that are not getting iOS 5.

  • prof_peabody

    re: The (evil) Mac App store (forcing) developers to use it …

    Every developer I’ve heard of that moved to the Mac App store made a mint overnight, and increased their customer count tremendously while lowering the price on their product and selling far more volume.  

    How you can spin this as some kind of nasty effect or a totalitarian takeover is beyond me.  

  • knowimagination

    Seriously, I didn’t even read the whole thing

  • Lonnie Lazar

    C’mon big D – 5 isn’t too big a number to keep track of, is it?

  • Lonnie Lazar

    You said “nasty effect” and “totalitarian takeover” Prof., not me.

  • auramac

    I think there’ll always be a market for non-Apple apps- go ahead, refine, create something new, make some money, raise the bar even further. As if Microsoft and Google are in business to help others make money.

  • NeilN

    I doubt they killed Instapaper as Reading List seems to be Safari specific. Not many Windows users are going to give up Firefox/IE/Chrome.

  • Jose Rodriguez

    NO company goes into business to help others get money. The Profit incentive is always for the company. They wouldn’t be doing the things they are if it wasn’t making cash.

  • guest


  • Terry Lange

    With iCloud, doesn’t that give Dropbox and other similar services something to worry about.  You get 2.5 GB for free on Dropbox and then iCloud will charge you a yearly fee for larger storage capacity…

  • Nick Berger

    I’m not sure how anything introduced today will replace Dropbox or CrashPlan, at least within the next year or so. 

    1. How can I save a .psd to iCloud if Adobe does not take advantage of the APIs like I can to Dropbox?
    2. How do I back up my ENTIRE computer to iCloud like I can to CrashPlan?

    Did I miss something?

  • Bazz

    Evolution must kill past personae and integration of forgotten items are added that continue that progress. 

  • D nelson

    There are many apps now that duplicate what the Mac iOS does natively. There is the iBookstore app from Apple, yet many independent developers have apps that do the same thing. Many of these developers should have known that Apple was going to improve their apps that deal with photos (there was so much room for improvement), and expand the book and music stores into newspapers and magazines (everyone knew that was coming years ago). Developers will continue to make apps – they just need to be more forward thinking as well as talented programmers.

  • JDSX

    Apple announced their own flavor of instant messaging as if it’s some sort of revolution. It can’t even hold a candle to Trillian which runs on every major desktop/mobile OS, shows you who’s typing to you, and syncs messages across platforms.


    Unless, my devices run painfully slow, I think I will keep my Dropbox account as a backup to the icloud backup. I love Dropbox, i don’t know how I ever got along without it.

  • Guest

    Blood. In the streets. And yes, a list would have been nice—if that’s your header, that’s what you do. But you knew that. 

    And who cares, after all the crap Apple has taken, about a little blood.

  • theguycalledtom

    There is absolutely nothing stopping a consortium of third-party developers who feel left out of the Mac App store from building their own store, with their own DRM and payment system.  Just like Steam for Games and Cydia on jail-broken iPhones.

    People will still pay for apps like Read it Later, pro users will want features from reading lists that Apple will never provide.  Apple giving out iMovie for free didn’t kill Final Cut Pro. 

    Most of Apple’s products are iOS only.  All competitors have to do is build a cross-platform solution that works on Android and other OSs as well and BOOM, Apple’s closed solutions are history, just like FaceTime.