Laptops

WWDC 2012 announcements disappoint business users

Erik Eckel notes how this week's WWDC came up short for business users.

Is Apple slipping? The first summer Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) scheduled since co-founder Steve Jobs' passing didn't live up to shareholders' expectations, with Apple stock sinking following the much-anticipated keynote address.

Innovation continues

Certainly, Apple made important new product announcements. The company released an attractive, thinner MacBook Pro chassis, and the popular laptop models are faster, boast more RAM, and feature USB 3.0 connectivity, among other improvements. 15" models now even feature incredibly vibrant and razor-sharp Retina displays.

MacBook Air improvements were announced. And, the company touted its upcoming Mountain Lion and iOS 6 releases. Those products hold much promise.

But if you felt something was missing, you're not alone.

Businesses were hoping for more

Maybe Steve Jobs set the innovation bar too high, but Apple users have become accustomed to stunning new product announcements and introductions. That didn't happen at WWDC12. Instead, business users were treated to a nicely redesigned MacBook Pro and promises of great new products (Mountain Lion and iOS 6) to come.

I found the MacBook Pro announcement suspicious, though. While a gorgeous, blazing fast platform, the Retina display is available only on 15" models. One must wonder whether the 13" models wouldn't have boasted Retina displays, too, were Jobs still at the helm.

More worrisome was the fact Apple didn't have much to say about the Mac Pro desktop line, a product long overdue for updating. In fact, Forbes notes the company didn't even mention the Mac Pro on the WWDC stage. Nor was the iMac a center of attention.

Reading between the lines, it's easy to see Apple's emphasizing its laptop lineup at the expense of the desktop. Many businesses, though, rely upon desktops as critical workhorses to power daily operations.

Mountain Lion and iOS 6 are important releases. It's understandable Apple invested time, especially at its developer conference, highlighting those products.

Businesses, however, trade on tangible facts. Things you can use now.

Where was the hoped for iPhone 5? What about the much-anticipated mastery of the television?

A new iPhone, especially a unit with a slightly larger screen, would prove helpful to business users. Mobile staff are increasingly dependent upon Smartphones to compose and receive email, update calendars, perform field tasks, and more. An improved handset will prove popular.

Then there's the TV integration so many believe Apple is working to perfect. While a seemingly innocuous product for businesses, organizations are increasingly turning to large displays in presentations, meeting rooms, conference centers and other locations. The ability to quickly and easily stream presentations, documents, screenshots, and other display information from an iPad, desktop, laptop or even smartphone will continue growing in importance.

If Apple can crack the television-computer display integration nut, as many were hoping they had, businesses would have gained another opportunity to simplify technology integration within their offices while also potentially reducing dependencies on other content providers (as there's talk Apple might assume a greater role, too, in content delivery). In the process, organizations would have found yet another product that might drive adoption of other Apple technologies as the iPod so famously did.

For now business users must settle for a beautiful new laptop, some faster computers scattered across the product lineup, and the hope of some compelling new releases later this summer.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

8 comments
sbarman
sbarman

What a bogus article. As someone in business, I and my colleagues did not see this as a disappointment. We saw the announcements for what they were: the next step in the evolution of products and something for the developers, not something for business. First and foremost, businesses are not on the cutting edge. "Businesses, however, trade on tangible facts. Things you can use now." This is why businesses are not trading on Windows 8. In fact many of them are not even trading on Windows 7 with the "tangible facts." The whole statement reads as if you want Tim Cook and his leadership to fail. You canard, "were Jobs still at the helm" is just as inane. Go back and look at the previous announcements under Jobs? When the Air was introduced, the MacBook did not get an upgrade. That was done quietly later. When the MacBook Pro was introduced, the 15-inch was introduced first and the 17-inch came later. You are just trying to create a controversy where none exists--link baiting to get readers! "Where was the hoped for iPhone 5?" Is a moronic question in the hype cycle from someone who should have access to the news history of Apple. If Apple is on a once per year cycle, then the announcement, if there is on, will be in the Fall. Of course you have to feed into the hype to have people think you know and understand what the Apple market consists of. "What about the much-anticipated mastery of the television?" Stop reading Gene Munster's garbage and the two sentences in Walter Isaacson's book. Even under Steve Jobs' leadership, Apple never released anything before it was ready (ok... I guess MobileMe was an exception). Besides, your article was about business users, what does television have to do with business users? I guess we have to forward this to the guys at Angry Mac Bastards and let them finish wailing on you sheer and utter brainless and ignorant drivel!

astroturf777
astroturf777

i understand where you are coming from, but the wwdc is about showcasing new software. it has always been primarily focussed on this. the new macbook pro retina is important because it has a huge impact on software developers. high res webpages and apps will start hitting the web. bandwidth limitations will need to be addressed, people's expectations will shift. this is actually a huge thing and about the biggest shift since the app store concept was first introduced. remember that apple's success is hinged on the ability to provide a platform to market and sell, at 30% commission, the apps which give the products their depth of usability. wwdc is about showcasing osx, iOS and any hardware shifts which affect this. there will be new iMacs, probably by august, there will be a new phone - when ios6 is ready to ship. who wants their phone to be out of date in 8 months? an annual tweak is good as it keeps them relevant, but there is no need to update products any more frequently. the wwdc is not a big show of new products, it is a show of potential shifts relating to the developers who keep apple great. i would suggest that the share drop was actually to do with no mention of an apple tv app store. apple revenue will be huge the day there is an app store for your tv, the reaction to an expected announcement in this regards is far more likely to shift the value of shares than anything else.

deltadan
deltadan

These days, being banished to Kentucky is no-longer an excuse for being so uninformed on computer technology as this blogger, Erik the (professed) Geek... Were you composing this article during one of Louisville's violent thunderstorms & afraid to use your 'pooter? Just 5 minutes of web research would have provided sufficient reality checks on state-of-the-art battery technology and retina displays to have saved you the embarrassment of naively speculating on why Apple didn't release a 13" MacBook Pro with retina display. Even with the footprint afforded by a 15" display & eliminating non-essential hardware, there's barely a thimble-full of unoccupied space in that 15" push-the-envelope design; shoe-horning a fast retina display into a 13" form factor would have yielded a similarly sleek design with a battery life measured in minutes, or an all-day workhorse as thick as a hoagie. Since you appear to be new to the Apple mistique, you are perhaps unaware that Apple doesn't "do" dull, dumb or ugly; fortunately, we can expect that etihic to prevail even during Steve's (temporary) absence... (Remember where you heard it 1st...)

TNT
TNT

I agree, this event was a yawn-fest. With the exception of the MacBook Pro upgrade there was very little of substance. iOS6? It finally gains features Android has had for a year or more. The next release of OS X? Very modest updates mostly focused on iOS integration. New mapping system for iOS devices? While nice it lacks features of the product it replaces. No new desktops, no new iPhone, no AppleTV, no ground-breaking achievements... It was more of a "State of the Union" speech than a conference.

Komplex
Komplex

While I'm impressed that you started writing immediately after your recovery, you might have missed the fact that Apple hasn't given a d@mn about the enterprise for the last 20 years. And unless the dynamics change, it's not about to start anytime soon.

Don1958
Don1958

I use a Macbook Air, connected to a 27" Thunderbolt display when I am not traveling, as my primary work computer and I, for one, was not in the least disappointed in the announcements in the WWDC 2012 Keynote. Maybe it's because I don't have the same expectations? I was actually excited by the announcement of a 15" Macbook Pro with a lighter, more portable form factor - Retina Display and all the performance upgrades were icing on the cake. When it's time to replace my Air, I'll be looking hard at the new 15" MB Pro w/ RD. Disappointed? Really? I don't think so. I found this article to be a refreshing and more realistic analysis. http://www.macworld.com/article/1167228/separating_apple_rumor_from_reality.html

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

How many Apple Shares did you buy? Apparently not anywhere near enough where bought by people like you because their Share Price took a Dive. Col

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