It’s been a couple of weeks since WWDC wrapped up and there’s a couple of things that stuck out that I found interesting.
All the iPad Stuff
I’ve written a bunch about the iPad. I really love and get a ton of use out of my iPad, to the point that it’s my travel machine. The limitation has always been that you can’t get “real” work done without jumping through hoops. Real(er) multitasking, drag and drop, and the new iPad Pro are all steps towards the iPad’s ultimate destiny: a daily computer for the vast majority of people. I could probably do 90% of my work off of an iPad at this point, but it’s a bit painful. With iOS 11, it looks like it will be a lot more comfortable.
iOS 11 and High Sierra (and Siri)
Setting aside the dumb name of High Sierra, both new OSes seem like reasonable advances. There’s a few little things in each (new Control Center, APFS, all the machine learning libraries) are really nice evolutions from iOS 10.
The small improvements to Siri (although the Omnifocus integrations are going to be awesome) are worrying. I actually think Siri is decent (and has gotten considerably better in the past 18 months), but there’s still far too much that can’t be done with Siri. Apple needs to find a way to advance the ball faster.1
Once again, setting aside the dumb name2 I’m cautiously optimistic about the HomePod. We have a handful of Sonos speakers in our living room, and we love them. I use them all the time. However, the lack of voice control and native Airplay3means they take a bit more thinking to use. So, even though we have these big, powerful speakers sitting there, my wife uses her phone to listen to music.
It drives me batty.
So, a HomePod, with Airplay (well, Airplay 2), that my wife can tell to play whatever music she wants, plus HomeKit integration (we’ve got a bunch of HomeKit devices), and some Siri integration, works for us.
We have an Echo Dot, which is handy for things like checking the weather and random facts, but we don’t use it to do much more than that. The HomePod should easily be able to replace that, plus native integrations with calendars, reminders, etc., probably fit in our life better than the Alexa device does.
The downside: it’s expensive. Like more expensive than getting another Sonos speaker expensive. Won’t have more than one in the house expensive.
The price will probably come down over time, and it’s capabilities will get better (presumably), so I’m hopeful this is the smart speaker that will fit best into our home.