The WWDC 2012 keynote was a massacre

Another WWDC keynote in the bag. And what a behemoth of a keynote it has been. Not having had time to follow live blogs, I caught up on the announcements through the Apple’s video of the event and by reading up on the details on and other good sites.
I know I’m late to the game with my keynote recap, but there were many interesting software announcements too good not to be discussed.

My overall impression of the event and the announcements was that Apple is flexing its muscles. One major new hardware release, many minor revisions and upgrades and two OS updates at once. This should give the competition a glimpse at what Apple is capable of today, most even likely not even beginning to stretch their resources.

Here’s the rundown of the features I’m most excited about:

iOS 6

  • Siri only available on the 3rd gen. iPad — This is kind of a bummer, but it’s in line with Apple’s product strategy, meaning it was to be expected and is probably hardware-related, at least to some degree.
  • Facebook integration: DUH!
  • Maps look simply beautiful, but having to compete against Google Maps and Google Earth is not going to be easy; Apple has their work cut out for them. The application will put pressure on developers of Turn-by-Turn Navigation apps, because just like on Android, the solution integrated into the OS might be sufficient for many people.
  • Shared Photo Streams is a neat way to privately share photos without having to upload them to a social network. From the looks of it, the minimal design puts the content first and further sharing options second.
  • Passbook is our answer to how Apple thinks mobile payments should look like. I don’t see NFC appearing in Apple’s devices anytime soon.
  • The new features in the phone application UI were long overdue. Android has had them for years and they’ve even existed in not so smart phones — those with memories that go back further than four years might remember.
  • I like the better handling of Messages across devices. When someone sends an iMessage to my phone number, I’m now going to receive it on my iPad and Mac, too. Great!
  • This one I’m extremely excited about, the Do Not Disturb feature. Seriously, what took them so long? Finally (yes, I said it) I won’t have to put my phone into Airplane Mode at night to have peace and quiet. Extra props for the fine tuned options.
  • I didn’t see Google show up in the search fields of iOS devices, only a generic ‘Search’ term. Might there be a chance for additional search engines besides Google, Bing and Yahoo? I’m talking about DuckDuckGo of course. I’m trying hard not to get my hopes up.
  • The new store designs and China-centric features are appreciated.

OS X Mountain Lion

  • 10.8’s pricing and upgrade conditions are a thing of beauty. Microsoft should slowly start to get the drift.
  • Tighter iCloud integration should’ve been there in Lion, but maybe I’m the only one who thinks that way. Easier machine setup is a good thing, though.
  • At this point, the built-in Reminders app in iOS has replaced Things (by Cultured Code) for me. The implementation on the Mac (inside of iCal) has been far from good, but a native OS X Reminders app is going to make this complaint a thing of the past.
  • Notification Center is a very welcome addition, but I’m interested to see what kind of apps will be able to take advantage of its APIs; only Mac App Store apps, or any kind of app?
  • Power Nap is a very interesting and potentially useful feature. From what Apple states as the system requirement for it, though, you’ll need a Mac with flash storage. I wonder if it’ll work with Macs that’ve been retrofitted with SSDs?
  • The Dictation feature will be an absolute productivity boon — especially with my Master’s Thesis looming on the horizon! I hope they’ve integrated some kind of fast language switching for this OS feature, because I’m definitely going to hop between English and German a lot.
  • Sharing looks nice and I’m hoping for a public API so other services can make use of this — I just want to get rid of all those bookmarklets in my browser’s bookmark bar.
  • Safari has received some good upgrades: Apple finally (yes, I said it again) got rid of the separate search box. Now, how about letting me set DuckDuckGo as my default search engine? The tab view is interesting, too, and iCloud tabs will surely come in handy. Apple’s attempting to improve password handling in OS X, let’s see how it compares to the likes of 1Password for regular users. The „Do Not Track“ feature and the ability to rename bookmarks in the bookmarks bar are welcome additions as well.
  • Auto Save has been taught two nice new tricks, too: It automatically moves untitled documents to iCloud and APPLE BROUGHT BACK „SAVE AS“! YAY! No seriously, I still need this feature rather often.
  • The oh-so benevolent Apple has decided that a permanently displayed Calendar sidebar is a good thing after all, same as a groups column in the Contacts app and they improved the date picker. Regarding the first two: Why the hell did they remove it in the first place?
  • Dashboard: It just won’t die. Persistent little fella. Personally, I like Dashboard and would be sad to see it go.
  • The OS X Software Update feature and the Mac App Store are rolled into one app. I consider this to be a good thing. Equally good is the automatic download of and notification about software updates both for the OS and Mac App Store applications.
  • Mail, Mail, Mail, oh Mail. Tighter iCloud integration FTW I say, because the app (here we go for a thrid time) finally pushes recent senders, favorites, signatures, flag names, smart mailboxes, mail rules, and account information to all devices.
  • Quicktime X now uses hardware video encoding for H.264 content on newer Macs. I wonder if this’ll be somehow usable by other applications? But it neat in any case.

Alex Hoffmann @mangochutney