Some Thoughts on iOS8

I’ve taken most of this week to digest all that Apple said and showed off at WWDC. Of everything I read and watched and listened to, my favorite was this A16Z podcast about WWDC.

Here’s my take:

1) Apple is making some great moves toward opening up iOS8. Allowing our portfolio DuckDuckGo’s search engine on Safari is one example. Allowing widgets and third party keyboards is another. My favorite is app to app sharing is now open to all apps, not just Facebook and Twitter. iOS8 is moving toward Android in some fundamental and important ways and I am super happy to see that.

2) Apple made some comments about allowing Bitcoin wallets on iOS. That’s really important because right now, you can’t have a bitcoin wallet on an iPhone. I don’t know exactly how that will play out but, like Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s founder and CEO, I am excited about it.

3) Apple is bringing the cloud more front and center in iOS8. Photos are now synced to the cloud. Data is now synced to the cloud. But they still use on device data to power things like word prediction on the keyboard. Contrast that with Google who uses the cloud to power word prediction and voice recognition. I think Apple needs to embrace the cloud for more than storage. Benedict Evans makes that point at the end of the A16Z podcast:

For Google, devices are dumb glass and the intelligence is in the cloud, but for Apple the cloud is just dumb storage and the device is the place for intelligence.

4) Healthkit and Homekit are very interesting. I don’t totally understand yet how open these “internet of things” services are to third parties. Can any device send data into Healthkit and Homekit? Can any app get data out of Healtkit and Homekit? Will Apple be building more of these kinds of services (Carkit)? Benedict Evans calls this the “personal cloud” in his post on WWDC. He describes it as the “Bluetooth LE/wifi mesh around you”. I really like that way of thinking about the “internet of things” and I like that Apple is pushing in this direction more agressively than Android, at least until we hear what Google has coming at IO.

I am not sure that anything that was announced at WWDC is a game changer for iOS8 vs Android and I think the current dynamic that is in the market remains in play. Apple is reacting to a strong competitor in Android by making their operating system better and more open. Competition is a good thing for the consumer and the market.