Last week also saw the last of the major tech company annual conferences for a while with Apple holding their WWDC event. Lots and lots of announcements and much more on show this year than recent years. You can read the full list here
but the highlights were:
Siri - once the early front runner in virtual assistants, but now lagging behind significantly
is being overhauled. It is still way behind, mostly due to the lack of extensive partnerships formed by its competitors but it has a more natural sounding voice (both male and female) and can now learn your interests. Clearly they have not forgotten about it but felt like mostly veneer right now. The focus on learning about an individual of course meant that there wasn’t much focus on data privacy this time around ;)
Apple also announced a HomePod, which is similar in form to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The focus though is as a speaker with an assistant rather than vice versa. The biggest use case is definitely music but I suspect if Apple was leading in this space we would see a different approach. At 3x the price of the competition, one for the Apple fan boy/girl.
Over the next few years, there is going to be increasing support for communicating with companies via instant messaging. WhatsApp, Facebook and LinkedIn are all rumoured to be enabling businesses to communicate with customers this way. Not to be left out, Apple announced Business chat for its iMessage platform
. Just a development kit right now but they’ve set their stall out. Obviously useful if people use it (I suspect they will) but can businesses really adopt so many platforms. There is going to be a need for a customer service platform that integrates across all these platforms.
The big announcement of the event was augmented reality (AR) support for the iPhone. But if you were expecting something big that you could actually use in the new iPhone as a user, you’ll be disappointed - so far. There is no new AR experience, just support for an AR development kit - which is big news for developers and will in the future bring amazing experiences (if you believe in AR anyhow). But what they are and whether they will increase adoption is yet to be seen. See more here
Overall, real ambition was finally on view at WWDC this year for the first time in a while. Delivery on said ambition still to arrive. Maybe next year.