Episode 25: A Deeper Look at Apple's Special Event 2019

Today on the Thoughtful Software Podcast, we’re discussing the latest Apple Announcement with one of our Senior Skiplist developers, Josh Smith. Josh is an industry veteran, accomplished speaker, and a published author. We are excited to have him on the show.

Hosts: Fahad Shoukat and Andrew Wolfe

Today's Guest: Joshua Smith, Sr Software Developer at Skiplist
Josh has been solving problems using computers for 25 years, mostly by creating software and doing software "urban" planning.  He lives, writes, works, and occasionally builds robots in Pittsburgh, PA.

Show Notes

Introduction – Josh Smith, Sr Developer at Skiplist

  • Background in iOS web game development, consulting, author, software developer 25+ years

Apple Keynote Thoughts

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max with 4 cameras, the engineering side of Apple is fantastic and amazing. There’s not another system, Flutter comes close, as integrated, complete, and well thought out as Apple’s developer ecosystem. As long as you stay inside Apple’s lines, it works so well.  
  • “We live in the garden of Steven and use the tools that Steven hath given.” We don’t want to get kicked out of the garden. It doesn’t seem like they’re going to push boundaries as Steve Jobs did.  
  • Is Apple getting worse, while Android is getting better? Tim Cook is well respected, but what would Apple look like with a more product minded person like Steve Ballmer rather than operation minded person?  
  • It’s amazing that in just a few of short years, Apple out-competes Snapdragon, Intel, and everyone else in the space. Supply chain matters and the people in that division are the best in the world.  
  • Apple can’t build tech by itself; it acquires it. Their internal silicon is the result of an acquisition, not a product. Because they can only acquire, that’s why Tim Cook is so important. They can only build via acquisition. Their chips are more amazing because they’re not selling them. The degree of integration of operating system, chips, and boards is key in the operation.  

Custom Chips: the trend of “owning it yourself”

  • We’d be shocked if Microsoft doesn’t shift to this especially with their X-box and Surface divisions. Apple is going to help contribute to this because of what they’ve shown they can do with their tight integration.  
  • We see this with Huawei. We think they will shift to this for nationalistic reasons. They are pushing to create their own mobile operating system.

A13 and User Experience

  • The newest chip, the biggest thing it does is let you shoot 4k video across a wide depth of field, edit in your phone and not kill your battery. The user will see better performance. iPhone pre-order starts at $699.00
  • Apple is wanting people to shift to a monthly subscription to the Apple ecosystem.  To be all in on Apple Services combined is about $100 a month (Apple TV, Apple Music, Apple News iPhone, all Apple products). That’s not absurd when it comes to pricing.  

Multiple Operating Systems

  • Multiple OSs is great for developers. You can access specific functional tools within the APIs. TvOS Apps can be simple or extremely hard. Watch OS is a constrained environment. iPad OS will be great because they’ll be no limitations getting in the way now.  

IPads vs Chromebooks

  • Is Apple going after the Chromebook market? iPad are feeling the heat from Chromebooks.  People who want the full OS experience aren’t looking to Chromebook. Microsoft Surface doesn’t compete.  
  • The single app at a time is a problem for business applications. You need a more robust multi-application story for business apps. Application to Application interplay is a big deal for people. Now you’ll be able to have seamless application use in the iPad and that’s a big deal for the average person working in an office.  
  • Security is generally good in the applications for key storage.

Upcoming Changes for Developers

  • Swift UI and a data called Combine looks like it's going to change the way Application developers do their work. ABI stability in the new swift is what people were waiting for.  
  • Metal API looks like it’s going to give better speedups in MacBook Pro. It looks like TensorFlow will get metal support.  
  • New Mac Pros have PCI based FPGA. CUDA, the programming interface to NVidia GPUs, allows you to write code that executes against the GPU. For gaming, Radeon does better to help game performance. From a professional standpoint, NVidia is better. CUDA has been easier to use.  
  • Apple has stringent requirements. It seems like NVidia didn’t want to play ball, but AMD did.
  • It’ll be interesting to see how 5G comes to iPhone

Gaming and Apple Arcade

  • For $5 a month you can play hundreds of games.
  • It’s a subscription solution to a problem that Apple created with in-app purchases. Does it save the user money? Not really.
  • How profitable is this new model for Indie Developers? Not much. No small shop is going to benefit from Apple Arcade. You want the small studios to win because they tend to produce the best games.  
  • Apple Arcade is now after a different market; parents. Not hardcore gamers, but the average user. It’s not going to replace hard core gaming.  
  • Arcade vs Stadia – Stadia is streaming the game to you and is not for casual mobile games. Arcade is cloud-based.    

Using Augmented Reality

  • How do we use that daily? Not sure yet. It’s a solution in search of a problem.  

Apple and Innovation

  • Apple is just making their base more dedicated to what they’re doing in the Apple ecosystem. They have such a large user-base that they don’t have to keep making new things every year, just keep making improvements.  
  • Just because Apple hasn’t lost a customer, it doesn’t mean that Google isn’t trying to steal them. They must innovate; you can't rest on your laurels especially in technology. It’s easier than ever to disrupt a company like Apple.  
  • For the most part, Apple is doing great in their app  ecosystem with the tools that the average person needs. As people are more intertwined in the Apple universe, it’s difficult to leave.  
  • It’s not that Apple is going to do something to get you to switch, it’s that competitors will do things to integrate, true game changing features. Cameras aren’t enough to get people to switch. Eventually, someone is going to come out with something that people can’t live without, then Apple will lose market share.  

What’s on the Developers Radar?

  • The shift of ML and AI applications pushing out to the edges. The distributed intelligence potential is a very interesting world.  
  • Siri Shortcuts will be fascinating. IT could be so much more. Voice interfaces could be the next world.  
  • Watches / Sensors in general. The advancements in the Apple Watch are incredible. It’s crazy to see how far it’s come in such a short period of time. Voice is still interactive, but what if we lived in a world where the computer knew more about me, that it told me things instead of the other way around? Apple is in first place to get this right.  


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Fahad Shoukat
Written by

Fahad Shoukat

Fahad has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA. He brings over 15+ years in Business Development, Strategy, Sales, Product, and Marketing in various industries such as software development and Internet of Things (IoT). His experiences have led him on an unwavering pursuit to meet thoughtful people and build thoughtful software.