Walt Mossberg: What’s Apple really up to?

“Today, at its annual developers conference, WWDC 2014, Apple laid out the first step in its latest plans — new versions of its mobile and Mac operating systems, iOS and OS X, respectively,” Walt Mossberg writes for Re/code. “The second step will come in the fall, when the company unveils new hardware designed to make the most of these new systems, including new and larger iPhones.”

“To my mind, the overwhelming theme at WWDC was that your digital life can be better if your phone, tablet and laptop all have the familiar Apple logo. Unlike in the past, it wasn’t just about a better laptop operating system, or a better phone-and-tablet platform. It was all about the advantages you get if you use Apple hardware, software and services for everything,” Mossberg writes. “The biggest new features were about making iPhones, iPads and Macs work seamlessly together, so that people on Planet Apple have no reason to leave, and those toting other brands might be tempted to fully join the Apple tribe.”

Mossberg writes, “The overwhelming purpose of Apple’s latest software is to make it irresistibly attractive to use all of its devices and services as a unified digital ecosystem, not to mix and match.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Crazy Uncle Walt throws in an unsubstantiated poppycock-laden warning that “consumers may drift away from Planet Apple” if the company fails to “wow the world with new hardware” or some such malarkey despite the fact that all major surveys and data that we’ve seen (and we assume Walt has also seen) shows pent-up demand for new iPhones, users planning buying iPad for their next or first tablet, and users upgrading from Android to iPhone at a far greater rate than those poor confused souls who screw themselves by downgrading to inferior wares.

In other words, Apple could release iterative iPhones (which they aren’t going to do anyway) and Apple users aren’t going anywhere. Nobody in their right mind, Walt, moves into the slums just because their realtor is offering a mansion with pool that’s “only” 5 feet wider vs. 10 feet wider with a slide.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple just delivered a knockout blow to Android with iOS 8 – June 2, 2014
Xcode 6 features resizable device simulators, paving way for iPhones with new screen sizes – June 2, 2014
WWDC 2014: Apple sets the scene for its next decade – June 2, 2014
Apple unveils new versions of OS X and iOS, major iCloud update with iCloud Drive – June 2, 2014
Apple’S WWDC news bores investors, not developers – June 2, 2014
Apple’s HealthKit aims to unite wearables and fitness apps – June 2, 2014
Apple releases iOS 8 SDK with over 4,000 new APIs – June 2, 2014
Apple unveils iOS 8, the biggest release since the launch of the App Store – June 2, 2014
Apple announces OS X Yosemite for Macintosh – June 2, 2014


  1. Pretty sure Walt strongly suspects that Apple will release amazing hardware. He just said that to keep from appearing a fan. (God forbid someone become an Apple fan, right?) Anyway, this is Apple’s Reggie Jackson year. This was Grand Slam #1.

  2. Of course Apple rewards users that have multiple Apple devices and that’s a primary benefit of their ecosystem. Integration is one of their primary contributions, even with other user systems that they don’t build. Integration is what distinguishes Apple as much as anything else.

  3. “The overwhelming purpose of Apple’s latest software is to make it irresistibly attractive to use all of its devices and services as a unified digital ecosystem, not to mix and match.”

    As if this hasn’t been so for at least a decade already.

    1. I was thinking the same thing and it’s almost as though Walt is expressing that Apple in some way is doing something greedy by making you want to own all their products.

      I look at it more like this…
      If you own an Apple product… owning another simply adds more value to your existing product.

    1. Yeh, he leaves the D out of WWDC. Uncle Walt would do well to hire a Developer to re/code his website so it runs on the original iPad. Any developer over 13 would know not to group low-level vector images on a device that uses pinch & zoom. His website undermines any credibility Walt had at his former digs.

  4. A lot of great stuff came out of WWDC today. A lot of under-the-hood improvements for iOS.

    The one thing that really saddened me though…

    No Apple TV SDK.

    I just don’t understand after having an Amazon Fire TV and seeing how well it works with apps on an inferior OS and inferior hardware and an inferior developer community.

    1. Apple may release that in the fall when they bring out an update to Apple tv.

      What amazes me is that no one is talking about ‘metal’.

      Do you all realise that with iOS 8 all iOS devices will have better graphics than a dedicated games console!

      Download a game on your iOS device stream/play it on your tv with the device becoming the wifi controller.

      Apple killed the games console market yesterday and no one even noticed!

      1. Nope, the next stop is WWDC 2015 for an Apple TV SDK. The whole point is to provide information to developers.

        While Metal seems pretty damn awesome, it’s not exactly going to put the A7 (or A8 for that matter) in the same league as the PS4 or XB1.

        As far as AirPlay gaming… the iPhone and iPad don’t make great controllers, and worse, there’s issues with lag for high frame rate games.

        Still, the Fire TV has pretty much proven that compelling games can be developed for a box with much lower specs than what an upgraded Apple TV could have. However a whole year is a long time to wait given the state of the market today.

    2. I’m not sure an Apple TV SDK as such is required, seeing as the OS on Apple TV is specifically iOS. However, Apple TV does have functions that other iOS devices do not.

      In any case, I too find it utterly bizarre that Apple has not at this point turned Apple TV into a fully functional iOS devices equivalent to an iPod Touch. Goodness knows, eventually it could be a fully functional iPhone (apart from the mobility aspects). WHAT is holding up this obvious transformation?

      I suspect the variable hardware and resolutions of televisions is part of the situation. Note how the Mac Pro still only supports 4K on two specific Sharp TV models and nothing else.

      BUT I also suspect the media oligarchy has a hand in this, preventing some aspects of Apple TV functionality for fear of media piracy, hacking of DRM and other such stuff.

      The only other major hurdles I see are:
      1) The need for a touch iOS device as the Apple TV controller.
      2) Room noise cancelation for effective use of voice control and Siri. I can verify that, despite some rubbish I’ve read from others, room noise is a gigantic PITA unless the microphone system is directly in front of the person speaking. IOW: The mic system would have to be part of the touch controller. Or so I surmise.

      *tapping fingers waiting*

      1. From what I’ve seen via jailbreak, the Apple TV is different enough to need a developer introduction at the very least, and that’s not counting what would need to be introduced in regards to the controller. Definitely it would be a WWDC introduction.

        “I suspect the variable hardware and resolutions of televisions is part of the situation.”

        I doubt it. Any modern TV on the market or in people’s homes today is going to support 720p at the very least, and 1080p indirectly (either down sample internally or via the Apple TV). Waiting for 4K really doesn’t make sense when they could start now with 720p/1080p and then upgrade years later when there actually is a 4K market.

        The need for a touch iOS device as the Apple TV controller.

        That can be done today. What’s needed is a game controller (see Amazon Fire TV).

        Room noise cancelation for effective use of voice control and Siri.

        Again see Amazon Fire TV, it works flawlessly. You push the microphone button; it mutes the audio. I got one on launch day and to date, it’s never gotten a command wrong.

        The Amazon Fire TV is really a good (not great) device. They essentially took what Apple did with the Apple TV, added a game controller and opened it up to developers. It lacks the UI and ecosystem of Apple, so it’s just sad seeing Apple deciding not to compete here.

        1. ““I suspect the variable hardware and resolutions of televisions is part of the situation.”

          I doubt it.”

          What I was thinking was how iOS game developers, certainly at the moment, program for two specific resolutions. There is no resolution independence, yet. Therefore…

          1. Right, and this is part of why I’d think Apple would need to introduce it at WWDC, a new resolution would be introduced, 1080p. But of course it’s more than just that as we’re not talking about anyone having a touchscreen TV, so the whole input paradigm changes. When you think about everything that needs to be done, it’s quite a bit of work, so I can kind of understand them taking a while to develop this, but it’s been more than a while now.

        2. “Again see Amazon Fire TV, it works flawlessly. You push the microphone button; it mutes the audio. I got one on launch day and to date, it’s never gotten a command wrong.”

          Where is the microphone? Across the room? If so, I cannot see it working in a truly noisy room of kids and an air conditioner. Ideal circumstances are nice. Microsoft pulled that trickery with their first voice command software for cars. Then start the car and it doesn’t actually work. Etc.

          1. It’s in the remote itself. We have a sound proofed home theater, but I’ve still used it while my wife was yacking away next to me.

            Also the Comcast X1 app works really well on the iPhone. Same thing, using the iPhone’s microphone.

  5. We’ve all had many, many reasons to stay in the ‘fold’ – but these new releases and even tighter integration look extremely well thought out and revolutionary. Almost Apple-like.

    Apple is evolving products and services in a way that less and less people will have a reason to stick with the insecure mess that is Android. A few hard core ‘i want to do it MY way’ ppl will always be willing to sacrifice it all to have it their own way…but this years WWDC features are yet again – Game Changing!

  6. “Nobody in their right mind, Walt, moves into the slums”

    android is the slums where:

    you can get mugged: viruses and malware

    ripped off by conmen : no OS updates, no support (“it’s a OEM problem, no it’s a Google OS problem… “)

    your low rent building is made of cardboard: cheap phone components, ‘fake accelerometers, non working compasses etc’,

    where quality is degraded: apps which are a pale comparison to their iOS siblings.

    and the streets clogged with trash and potholes: 32 bit low powered chips, phones which are ALREADY 2-4 times slower than iPhone 5S and will soon be completely trashed with Metal graphics acceleration.

    1. Nag: “Malware” as a word already encompasses ‘viruses’. Saying both is redundant. Malware also includes Trojan horses, worms, botware, scamware, spyware, adware, etc. It is the grand encompassing term.

  7. OMG! You’re old faithful Uncle Walt isn’t drinking the koolaid any longer! MDN is having a coniption fit! These announcements are not ground breaking folks! Now who’s copying who?!
    As for Yosemite? I just installed the Appleseed preview and it’s actually very disappointing as far as visual esthetics goes! This flat look has gone way too far IMO! Why does everything have to go to this ridiculous new fad?! I’m liking the new Windows OS 8.1 on the WP and it’s desktop better than what Apple has been busy working on! What a disappointment. When is Apple going to realize that touchscreen is what people want and make it universal on OSX too? I hate to admit it, but Microsoft has a much better multi platform OS vision going on here… And now that you can (or soon will be able to) by even nicer hardware than the MBP Retina as we saw announced at Comdex today by ASUS with their NX500 and GX500. I think the magic did really leave with Steve’s passing. We’re going to see it even more in the coming years as Apple continues to lose ground and marketshare. Sad. Just Sad.

    1. lol, msft just fired their CEO one of their founders…
      so much for Win 8 success..

      that smacks your trolling to shit.

      as for the wonderful success of Asus …
      Asustek last quarter made chickenfeed 144 million
      vs Apple’s 10,200 million (10.2 billion).

      that really makes your comment:
      “We’re going to see it even more in the coming years as Apple continues to lose ground.. ” LAUGHABLE.


    2. What’s sad is that deluded souls actually think that a desktop touchscreen is in any way usable. It’s hopelessly unergonomic, and why have it when you have a Magic Trackpad.
      You don’t have one of those on your whizzy Dell or Asus?
      Oh dear…

    3. MS has a better multiple device OS? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

      You’ve got to be f#^cking kidding me. Win8 and Surface acceptance is among the worst ever for them because the buying world knows it’s a sad compromise, and the wrong direction. SamScum copies Apple. MS wasn’t even smart enough to do that.

  8. The way I see it all this new technology announced yesterday works on older and less powerful iOS devices, so in theory Apple doesn’t need to release new hardware at all.

    They will though!

  9. Walt really tried to waltz on a thin ice today seemingly with an android in his hand. But, he ain’t no dancer today.
    Or is he just plainly clueless when asking “What’s Apple really up to?” He really doesn’t seem to grasp it anymore.

    I enjoyed a lot (many laughs also) reading his article but stumbled upon some mismatches in his reasoning, or simply put stupid wording of things. Here are the best ones:

    Walt on seamlessly working together (IOS & OSX): On Apple planet (mostly Apple). But when some get tempted then they join the Apple tribe! (tribe? …some minority group on the planet?). – Walt, wrong (stupid) reasoning or is Walt trying to downplay Apple 😉

    On Apple’s Continuity: “A Mac owner with an Android phone — or an iPhone owner with a Windows PC — won’t be able to do that.”
    Hehe, Walt, what did you expect? Why don’t you cry over not being able to use Apps from Apple on your Android? Oh, you are. That’s the most stu…. uttered nonsense in a long time!.

    On the “Big motivator”: “Google’s Android platform, market share dominator in the modern smartphone market Apple created in 2007 with the first iPhone. Despite its smaller share, Apple continues to sell a lot of profitable phones and tablets…..” – (hmm, just over 800 millions of them!). Walt doesn’t mention a word about the Big motivator in profit share in the modern smartphone market, no, not a word.

    Oh, Walt, sharpen up will you, this article of yours was not worth reading, except for the laughs.

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