Some Initial Thoughts on the 2020 WWDC Keynote

It’s Keynote day, and Apple had more announcements than I expected during a global pandemic. So here are a few thoughts following the 2020 WWDC Keynote:

  • It was dense. There was a lot of information pushed out in those two hours. There were no fluffy demos (and no AR demos). Lots of signal. Little noise.

  • I was surprised at the format. I didn’t expect it to start with Tim in an empty theater, but as the presentation moved along, I liked it.

  • Lots of new faces among the presenters as Craig Federighi served as the second-tier master of ceremonies. I didn’t realize that I stress for those people on stage. I know how nerve-wracking that can be. Having everything canned made it easier for them … and me.

  • The big type on screen slide is a new look for an Apple Keynote.

  • The video zooms in between segments started cheesy, but then grew on me. It also makes me want to visit the new campus someday.

  • Still iOS, not iPhoneOS.

  • App Library makes a ton of sense, but this is one where the devil is in the details. Apple has told us before it will let the device sort things for us with mixed results.

  • I can’t wait to get my hands on the new iOS / iPadOS widgets. But am I the only one who looks at them thinks about the classic Mac widgets?

  • I can’t make up my mind about the Siri announcements. My problem with Siri isn’t that it can’t answer obscure questions. My problem is that it often doesn’t recognize when I dictate my wife’s name. I’ll need to see the beta.

  • Nice improvements to Messages, but I think there is room for more here. Also, it wasn’t clear later if the Mac version finally has feature parity with iOS and iPadOS yet. It’s closer.

  • So, does the “iPhone as key” feature now mean a BMW 5 Series is an iPhone accessory?

  • Maybe the new Keynote drinking game word should be “privacy”.

  • App Clip is a big help to developers. You can get their apps and spend money without installing their apps.

  • It looks like iPad widgets, though more customizable, are still relegated to the left side of the screen.

  • The new Apple Pencil features look killer. I’ve wanted to use the Pencil in this fashion since before there was an Apple Pencil. I can’t wait to try this feature. The test will be if I can sit in a comfy chair with an iPad, Apple Pencil, and Siri dictation and be productive.

  • The AirPods team continues to crush it.

  • I did not see the Mac UI redesign coming at all. My initial reaction is positive, but I’ll need to use it. It is interesting how Apple hardware and software continue to march toward a standard look. Hopefully, they can do that while still leaving the Mac to be a Mac.

  • The Apple silicon transition was masterfully handled. They got us excited about the potential of these new chips while also allaying our fears. Also, did you notice they never said the word “ARM”?

There is still a lot more to unpack in the days to come. Overall, I saw a lot more from Apple today than I expected. As I push the “publish” button on this, I’m about to watch the State of the Union presentation and press the “install beta” button on my iPad.