Conferences: Year 2013

Apple WWDC opening keynote has just finished
Conferences: Year 2013
Apple's WWDC opening keynote has just finished and Adobe Max and Google IO took place few weeks ago in May. For many developers it is a big attention span as well as a good beacon of where technology is moving and what the trends for the next 12-18 months will be.

Big Guns

Both Google and Apple know: their conferences are sold out because of innovations in mobile but both giants are focusing on other areas as well. Google is betting on the web while Apple is showing off their advances in hardware manufacturing and making a big statement that Desktop still matters in the year of 2013. Despite the rivalry on the mobile front, both companies are trying hard to deliver big.
 
Operating systems are in focus this year. Google's (mostly) cloud based Chrome OS shows that you don't need much power or money to run operating systems and achieve great results. You can even edit videos now using applications from the Chrome Store by uploading your videos to Google Drive. Apple's preview of the new Mac OS X 'Mavericks' demonstrates proximilty to merging mobile and desktop operating systems while understanding that separation is still necessary, hence adding more applications from iOS to desktop operating systems but also displaying advances in battery life saving and speed that Mavericks will unleash in a few months.
 
Adobe is staying away from operating systems but brings a lot of tools for a wide range of professionals: photo, video, web, development, design and gaming. Adobe's latest acquisition is Behace: a cross breed between a social network, online resume & recruitment service and photo sharing site. The creative community keeps on sharing, rating and promoting each others work. Adobe made it very clear that they (and their partners) would use Behace as a reference if they needed extra design / photography resources. 
 
Web is becoming a reality for processor intensive applications and Chrome is right on top of the game separating web store browser add ons into applications and extensions. The only difference is that application includes Chrome runtime and feel more like a desktop application. Users don't need Chrome to be installed in order to download and run the application. Apple showed off editing iWork (Apple Office Alternative) documents using Safari & Chrome browsers, but also mentioned that IE support is available. Adobe's web contributions have been very significant in the last few years. Support for a lot of open source projects such as CreateJS, a wide range of tools for animation, and cross platform web testing applications are positioning the company as one of the key players in a mobile web.  

Mobile

Mobile is what sells and draws the majority of people to conferences like IO and WWDC. So what are the updates?
 
Google introduced a lot of new services and updates to Google Maps, Google Drive, Voice Search and Mobile App Analytics. Developers would be interested in translation services which will make your app available to multilingual communities within days using access to professional translators. The interesting part is that Google is a very significant player in the iOS space, releasing many of their apps on iOS including Drive, Chrome browser & Search. For developers, they are giving away libraries for Google Drive and Google Maps for leveraging the power of Google on iOS.
 
Apple previewed iOS7 with a large focus on a new look and user experience of the operating system but also bringing “the most requested feature”: multitasking for all applications. The rest of the updates mostly include updates to services like iCloud, iTunes and Maps.
 
The App Store brought the ability to change the ownership of the app whereas Google Play brought promotion suggestions for mobile applications. 
 
Adobe has no mobile operating system but managed to get deep into mobile gaming. At the moment, they have the flash platform (AIR) which can quickly publish applications to both Apple Store and Google Play and is very popular among game developers. HTML-wise, they have massive support for PhoneGap: a library that allows you to convert HTML code into native applications. PhoneGap has also built a service that compiles HTML applications for various mobile platforms in the cloud. Adobe also brought wide range of creative applications to mobile markets as well as a few tools for multi-device testing.

Cloud

All three companies have a huge interest in cloud services and how they can leverage them. 
 
While users are still pushing for the “I'll store it myself” model, Adobe moved another direction towards “No more selling software”. The main focus of Adobe's new (cloud only) Creative Suite is leasing. It has it's pros and cons but left a lot of people unsatisfied with questions like: “What if I need to open a CS6 file 5 years from now, but don't want to keep my subscription?” The biggest benefit from my point of view is the availability of both CS6 and CC (new version) applications in case you need an older version of Photoshop.
 
Most of Google's business is in the cloud so there were no surprises there. They are giving developers more access to leverage services like Google Drive, Search and Maps. Apple's iCloud updates weren't that impressive, however the company still showed their interest in keeping and improving the service despite a lot of scepticism and criticism from developers.

Hardware

Adobe entered the hardware market after years of research with Project Mighty and Project Napoleon: a digital pen and ruler. It goes in the vein of most of the company's software so the right people are already excited. Google is continuing to push towards a new line of Chrome Netbooks while Apple can't stop surprising with advances in battery life among laptops and recreating desktops.

Conclusion

We sure are at an interesting point in time where there is a place for desktops and netbooks, web and mobile applications. With all the innovations introduced this month it is hard to keep a track of it all, but if we keep focus while leveraging new technologies, great results are not too far away. In addition, most of the sessions from all 3 conferences and now availble online:

The Author

Vladimir Roudakov

Solution Architect / Social Engagement