Apple today at their World Wide Developer Conference unveiled their latest mobile operating system iOS 6 for iPhone and iPad.
The theme of the software announcements at this year’s WWDC were focused on increased functionality for all of Apple's hardware.
This is an important perspective because it demonstrates Apple's commitment to their customers to bring them new software on an annual basis that makes the hardware they invested in more useful and more functional.
It doesn't matter whether you are business customer, IT Manager or consumer, the knowledge that every year the hardware you have invested in – and perhaps built your business around – is going to get better, is a pretty powerful value proposition.
And it is only a promise that Apple can deliver.
Perhaps one of the biggest pieces of news from WWDC was that Apple was making Siri even smarter and even more helpful. And by announcing that Siri is coming to the iPad, they have brought needed key functionality to their tablet.
Siri is clearly becoming a valid interface for not just search but voice search with iOS 6: things like being able to launch apps directly from Siri or getting more detailed local search about events and restaurants.
Siri is even integrated into the iOS new Maps application where allows the user to search for a location directly through Siri and have the service begin turn-by-turn navigation.
Another exciting development is the advance of fine-tuning custom apps. Although this was positioned initially for the special needs market, this feature has implications for business, schools, retail, etc.
This new feature in iOS 6 will let developers make and deploy custom applications and turn off other buttons or features on the device. For example classrooms who administer iPads with tests pre-loaded will now be able to turn off buttons and other features so kids can not exit the app to go to the Internet and find the answers.
Similarly, companies who are deploying the iPad in training rooms can make sure that employees can only access the application and not get distracted going to browse the web or playing games.
In point of sale retail this feature is key as well as since it will keep customers in the walls of the display application they are running and not using the iPad for other things. This feature makes it much easier for the enterprise and students alike to deploy custom applications and restrict the iPads usage from anything but that application.
Given that this Opinion piece is about the iPad specifically, you may find it odd that I am bringing up Apple's latest hardware innovation the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. But their advancement with this hardware does have implications for the iPad that are noteworthy.
Up to this point the iPad was the only larger screen computing platform with an incredibly high display resolution. Therefore, software developers looking to push the envelope with new software designed to take advantage of high resolution display were developing only for iPad. Now. software developers can start writing next generation applications for Mac OSX that will take advantage of the new Retina Display on the MacBook Pro.
This will result in more software for both platforms but most importantly it will contribute to new software experiences to be made, specifically in the professional and creative work spaces.
I would expect many of the Mac OSX developers who will create new software for the Retina Display on the new MacBook Pro will also extend that software or similar software features to the new iPad as well. In effect, the launch of the MacBook Air with Retina Display will spur new development that will lead to new applications for iPad as well.
Even though today’s announcement was about new hardware, I want to reinforce the point that it is the software innovations developed because of them those who invest in the iPad can look forward to.
As many enterprises and professional look to solve new problems in mobility and computing, Apple is showing that they also are interested in solving those problems as well by bringing new features and new functionality to their hardware every year.