With much fanfare Apple’s developer conference started yesterday. These developer conferences, including Googles I/O a few weeks back, are eagerly awaited each year as they detail what is coming in both hardware and software in the coming months. They are so popular they sell out like music concerts. So popular that Apple’s sold out it’s 5000+ tickets in just 71 seconds at $1600 each. This years Keynote speech, which covers the head line changes, detailed new laptops, a high end workstation and of course iOS7 the new version of the operating system for their mobile devices. I am not going to go into detail about the presentation you can watch the Keynote in full here if you are interested. What I do want to talk about is what was missing, the Cloud, does this mean Apple has given up on business?
There is no denying the announcements about iOS7 last night will make the iPhone, iPad and iPod more desirable. Apple have gone back to their roots to make an OS of beauty, the the MackBook Airs and Mac Pros tick a lot of boxes but right in the middle of the presentation the talk turned to iWork. iWork is Apples Office suite that tries to compete with MS-Office. The new package they were launching was iWork in the browser (i.e the Cloud). Now don’t get me wrong in the demo it looked a well developed package, it allows you to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations right in the browser, with storage in iCloud, Apples own Cloud storage. This storage like other cloud offerings makes your files available across your all your Apple hardware and third party browsers. It goes even further to allow you to edit and store MS-Word documents as well. It looked like formatting etc in the conversion from Word all stayed in place which would be great. So is this a contender to MS Office & MS-Skydrive and Google Apps & Google Drive, the enterprise Office Suites systems from the main competitors? Well, not currently no, because thats where the demo stopped. What both MS and Google offer is the integration of their Office Suites into the business process. In these systems you can collaborate on and share documents with ease and all from a centrally administered system. Apple’s offering will require the user to take a file out of the centrally controlled system edit it in iWork in the browser and then put it back, not a process an IT Manager would want to see and clumsy for the user.
So why have Apple done this, do they not care about the business world and the cloud? There is no denying that Apple have been loosing the handset wars over the last few years, their OS and hardware has become stale whilst their competitors have stepped up, the latest HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 phones are designs worthy of Jony Ive (Apple’s Head Designer) and the latest version of Android has come a long way in the last few years. By concentrating on a revamp of the OS Apple are making their mobile product more desirable than the competition again, refreshing their ageing hardware with a new interface. They mentioned more than once that your old phone will become like new again! They are dividing to conquer, getting their hardware and OS in the hands of the users is the key here and for now Apple are very happy to make money with the commissions they take from Games, Books, Music and Movies. Whilst Apple iGadgets are being used in business on a daily basis, they have been suffering and this release will reinvigorate Apples position in the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement. Once there Apple is happy to let MS, Google or Internal systems take the pain of the business process for now. They are sitting in the wings building their following of devoted followers arming them with sexy and desirable weapons to bring the fight to MS and Google another day. This has been a good move for Apple, although the NASDAQ seemed not to agree, from here they can monitor the enterprise war and trust me if Google or MS place a foot wrong they are ready to pounce.