The fact is that iOS 7 is looks great - it feels far more unified and smart than an Apple product has looked or felt in ages. Some examples:
- Exactly right auto-organization of photos
- Reader auto paging between reading list - I will DEFINITELY be using this (to the detriment of MANY publishers)
- Single page of common tools available from every page
- Lots more little things - I don't even need to detail it here.
There are a few giant problems that I see:
- Still a bias to form over function. I believe useful can be beautiful, but there is a line, and Apple seems to cross over a lot more than they should. The demo with the Weather is a perfect example - they LOVED having those clouds moving behind the text ("Awesome, it's a cloudy day!"), but now you have words that are half unreadable. Translucency is not done well either - Just look at this, almost entirely unreadable.
- A complete lock down - still. I love the fact that maps on the computer is tied to maps on the phone, that's a great and integrated feature. But I don't use maps on my phone, I use Waze. And because there are no hooks to allow me to tie in other apps, I'm stuck. Same deal with dialing (Google Voice) or email or messaging, etc. I understand that Apple's not going to make THEIR services available on other devices, but let us use other services on YOUR devices, Apple.
- The innovation gap - Apple did not innovate on a single software tool, as near as I could see. The auto-organization of photos I compliment above has been in every photo gallery since 2009. Swiping tabs is available in Chrome. Editing full office documents is available in Skydrive (and is useful beyond a Mac). I saw lots of very nice copying and decent integration across platforms, but are we done innovating in software? Hardly.
- iTunes Radio - are you kidding? Why'd they put even a single engineer on this? There are tons of other platforms out there and now, having to split their focus between downloaded music and streamed, I will be quite surprised if anything comes of this (Note: The previous sentence is available for clam chowder).
Phil Shiller said that nice quote on stage "Can't innovate any more, my ass!", and the funny part is, he's right. IN HARDWARE. That's ultimately why I think these WWDCs have gotten less and less interesting over the years; by and large they are software conferences and that is just not what Apple does that well.
Wake me when they have a new piece of hardware to roll out.