A Few WWDC Takeaways That Didn't Fit Anywhere Else

There's a lot to unpack from Apple's WWDC keynote yesterday, and we've been doing plenty of that already. But instead of trying to force a few thousand more words on you about what it all means, it seems more humane to just talk out a few of the bits and pieces that have stuck with us so far.

So here, in no particular order, are a few thoughts on WWDC and what it all might add up to. Please do add your own in the discussion below! There's a lot to talk about.

TouchID's going to make a great wallet replacement someday. Not today, and not even any time particularly soon. But by opening up TouchID to developers, Apple took an important first step towards turning your iPhone into a wallet replacement.

The tech we need to pay with our phones exists today; the problem is that it's still way more annoying than just swiping a card. Being a thumb-press away from a Passbook-stored credit card would be more efficient (at least than all the steps we have to go through now) and more secure.

A Few WWDC Takeaways That Didn't Fit Anywhere Else

Splitscreen iPad multitasking are almost definitely coming, and are going to be great. This was Hot Rumor that got quashed but good by Brian X Chen at the NYT. But Apple's iOS Extensibility feature—which lets apps communicate with one another—did make an appearance yesterday. It's exciting for a lot of reasons, but also very specifically for this one.

Thanks to Extensibility, it's easy to imagine that when the iPad does embrace splitscreen multitasking, it'll do it in a way that lets your apps interact while both are open. See something you like in Safari, open up Pinterest in a split screen, drag and drop onto your board.

An iPhone will be a terrible smart home remote. There's a lot to be said about smart homes that probably shouldn't be said until it's clear that anyone actually wants one. But I can't help but be struck by how annoying it would be to have an iPhone—or any current smartphone—control your home.

Think of how frustrating it is when your TV remote dies. Now imagine if your TV remote ran out of juice every afternoon, and also controlled your garage door and alarm system, and HVAC unit. It's not the end of the world—homes have outlets, outlets have electricity, it's fine—but we have enough to worry about when our phones die already without wondering if we'll be able to open the garage door. [Clarification: Yes, of course there will be other ways to control these things. But if you come to rely on your iPhone and it suddenly doesn't work any more, that will be a little bit annoying, and little annoyances tend to add up. That is all.]

A Few WWDC Takeaways That Didn't Fit Anywhere Else

The more open Apple gets, the harder it'll be to leave. There's been a lot of focus on how Apple's opening up more, especially with HealthKit and HomeKit. And while that's mostly true, if you think it's hard to leave iOS now just think how hard it'll be when your refrigerator, security system, and, I don't know, respirator run on it. Apple's opening up to more hardware partners, but also making your exit strategy way, way more expensive.

Being able to use whatever keyboard you want is pretty great, though.

A Few WWDC Takeaways That Didn't Fit Anywhere Else

What's going on with Apple TV? I mean, right? If Apple doesn't want to open it up to developers, that's fine, but its main living room product—a space that it cares about very much!—is starting to feel pretty stale next to the competition. The hope, I guess, is that it's holding off until some kind of hardware refresh this fall to unlock Apple TV's full app, gaming, cable box (maybe?) potential. Then again, I could've said the exact same thing the last three WWDCs.

What a tough world to be a dev. Well, not most devs. Most devs are fine (I assume?). But Apple and Google haven't been shy the last few years about replicating the best apps for their platforms in-house, and squeezing out the people who dreamed them up.

And honestly, they should! It's just good business sense. But it's a wonder everyone doesn't just sell out before they get pushed out.

Anything else? This is just what's been bouncing around in my brain since yesterday afternoon; there's plenty more speculating and deducing to be done, especially since the payoff for most of what we saw yesterday won't actually exist until two or three (or more) years from now. Let's talk it out below.