While many of us eagerly await the release of iOS 8 and OS X 10.10, what's typically more important than interface improvements, or organizational tools and other gizmos, are the killer apps that can be run atop of each OS.
Apple missed the boat in the late 80’s and early 90’s failing to court developers onto the Mac platform. In 2007 Apple almost made that same mistake until developers screamed loud enough that an SDK for iOS was developed — the rest is history.
While third party developer apps help a platform is it really the platform developer that drives it? For example, Windows 95 didn’t boom because of a Start menu and all the third party apps available, rather, it was Microsoft’s own apps (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook) leading the charge. When OS X made its debut, Apple didn’t just launch a naked OS, there was Safari and Mail, quickly followed up with the iLife suite. When iOS was born, Apple loaded the phone with 20 or so wonderful apps, making any iOS device work well right out of the box.
As we wait for the next versions of OS X and iOS, the real key to their continued success is the continued development of killer apps by Apple. Whether that is better iCloud integration between the two platforms, the highly rumored Healthbook, or a better iRadio app, it is Apple's own apps which make consumer’s lives easier, and make us all want the latest and greatest Apple device, because it can just do more – a lot better.
Samsung has taken a page out of this playbook with their recently released LeBron app, available only on the Samsung Galaxy S5. Samsung is heavily advertising the LeBron app during the NBA playoffs, and is making the claim that this one exclusive app is another big reason to buy a Galaxy instead of an iPhone.
It is this kind of thinking that matters to consumers. Thus, while many will be anticipating new hardware at WWDC14, we will be watching for the all-new and/or improved apps, especially those that make the Apple platforms killer.
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