Sunday, June 4, 2017

Will Apple announce new hardware at WWDC 17 ? Surprise :-)

What new hardware ?

Rumors abound of new Apple hardware announcements tomorrow at WWDC 17 - here's Friday's MacRumors article.  For some reason, this year the rumors seem especially out there.  But they just do not align with Apple's strategy to date.

Now when I say nope to new hardware at WWDC, I mean new products or new major models of existing products.  Not hardware refreshes like bumped up Mac specs, enhanced Macs, or additional sizes of MacBooks.

Here is what I mean by new hardware:
It does seem pretty likely that they will be refreshing Macs, and maybe adding some new models in there too.  I think Apple is going to start accelerating it's Mac refresh cycles, because of all the bad press about out of date Macs, especially the very stall Mac Pro.  And the more open Apple we've been seeing.

WWDC is a good place to announce updated Mac hardware, and that does fit the pattern of Apple's business strategy.  And of course, lots of cool new OS stuff.  😃

Because it's not Apple's strategy:

Doing major hardware announcements at WWDC does not fit with Apple's business strategy to date.

Apple has the most successful business strategy of any company in the known universe, in the history of.... well, forever.  So they don't mess around much with what works great.  WWDC has almost always been about software, not hardware.  Specifically new OS versions of iOS, macOS, tvOS & watchOS.  It is simply not a hardware event.

Check this out.  Here's Apple news from the months of WWDC in the last several years, and the few times that hardware has made an appearance:
  • 2016 June - event keynote on June 13
  • 2015 June - event keynote on June 8
  • 2014 June - event keynote on June 2
  • 2013 June - event keynote on June 10
    • Refreshed MacBook Air & sneak peek of new MacPro
  • 2012 June - event keynote on June 11
    • Refreshed MacBook Air and Pro, and New MacBook Pro with Retina
  • 2011 June - event keynote on June 6
  • 2010 June - event keynote on June 7
    • New Mac mini
  • Also see MacRumors WWDC Roundup page, the Past WWDCs section at the bottom also lists past WWDC announcements.
The most Apple has ever done with hardware in all those years, is refresh and enhance Mac hardware.

There's More:

On June 1 Apple announced via a press release that the Swift Playgrounds 1.5 update, with some pretty cool stuff in it, will be available on Monday, June 5.  Same day as the start of WWDC.  That would have made for some wicked cool demos.  But it looks like they cut it, and did a press release instead.  Which indicates, as John Gruber of Daring Fireball also pointed out, that Apple's WWDC agenda tomorrow must be over loaded with stuff, and they didn't have room to cover Swift Playgrounds.  Remember, Apple announced Swift Playgrounds at WWDC 14, so it's a WWDC thang.  Yet it might have been cut anyway.

Now one might argue that Apple might cut it because they needed more time to talk about hardware.  I don't think so, because they always have so so much new stuff in OSes, that they can't cover all of it.

And there's more...

They would blow a gigantic marketing opportunity:

Apple always holds the big hardware announcements as separate events.  Cause it generates insanely huge amounts of press.  And Apple is well known for their marketing genius.  Separate hardware events even gets them in to the mainstream press, like in to nightly network news programs, cable news, print/online news, etc.

Some examples of hardware events:
  • iPhone events & releases every fall since 2011 - June/July 2007 - 2010
  • iPad events almost every year since 2010
  • Apple Watch events:

Surprises can happen:

Apple might have a surprise for us.  They could always make a major shift this WWDC.  It just doesn't seem likely.