On June 2nd, 2014, Apple held it annual and increasingly popular Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC, and streamed the proceedings live. There had been rumblings in past years, and this one as well, of a possible new product announcement. This didn’t happen. What was unveiled was likely far more important: Apple’s newest ‘killer apps’-must have applications which persuades customers to buy Apple products. The kick this time is that consumers need to have both an Apple computer, and an iPhone, to take advantage of the new offerings.
One ‘killer app’ is a new feature which will allow people to use their Apple computers, such as MacBooks, to receive and make phone calls and text messages. It would be hard to overestimate the utility of this new feature. Millions of teenagers, and adults, use their cell phones for text messaging, in addition to traditional phone calls, and being able to do this while seated in front of a computer (where folks spend a lot of time these days anyway) is more than a simple convenience, but will likely become a must-have feature for all cell phones users in the future. Imagine being able to simply click on a telephone number on a webpage in order to dial that number.
This means that other cell phone makers with have to scramble in an attempt to add a similar integrated system for their products as well. This is much more easily said that done given that Apple designs all of their products from the ground up, instead of simply licensing their operating system to others. As the interconnectivity between smart phones and computers becomes more important to the consumer, Apple’s development process has a inherent strategic advantage.
The other ‘killer app’, is the ability to easily work on a single document from different devices, such as a laptop, iPad, or iPhone. In simple terms, it means that you can work on your laptop at home, and then quickly shift that work to your iPad as you leave the house. If you also have an Apple desktop, or laptop, at work, then the work of transferring files and opening applications will be done for you, resulting in increased productivity.
While much ink has been spilt on the ‘internet of things’, it should be noted that Apple is now the first company to seamlessly link smartphones and laptops, and as usual, it is up to others to try to catch up.