So there are two events coming up – Apple even which will be 12 September (13 September NZDT) which will have the iPhone refresh as per usual, the announcement on when iOS and macOS will be released and maybe a few extra things such as an iPad fresh along with some accessories. Google on the other hand as an event on 9 October (10 October NZDT) where the rumour is that there will be a Pixel 3 launched and probably a refresh of the Pixelbook along with the rumoured launch of a Android TV device in the same form factor of Chromecast (there was a leaked developer module that was talked about around 6-12 months ago but there hasn’t any talk as to whether it is going to become a product to whether it’ll remain simply a developer tool). What I would love to see in the area of Android TV is an official build of Android TV for Raspberry Pi which would be a huge leap forward especially in developing markets where access to the Raspberry Pi coupled with a free download would open up more opportunities for developers to target their applications for devices running Android TV.
What will be interesting at the up coming event, with the release of iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS and speakerOS (or what ever they call what runs on the Home Speaker) is whether there will be an update to iCloud or at least announcement of work being started on an iCloud refresh given that the launch of macOS there will be a refreshed Mac App Store. Although the primary way of accessing iCloud services is through the various applications, on Windows however there are no way to access them other than through the web browser and thus unless Apple is going to offer native applications themselves or native application integration (provide a plugin for Microsoft Photos to connect to iCloud) then for many the primary means will be via the browser. Why should it matter if customers aren’t interested in iCloud? Because iCloud operates as a gateway into the various other services so it isn’t just a matter of brand re-enforcement but also opens up the ability for Apple to offer more paid storage, movies, television shows, podcast access not to mention Apple Music – all of which is possible because of the iCloud service. I think in the long term I don’t see them starting to create original content ala Netflix but I could imagine Apple setting themselves up, via their content delivery network (CDN) to team up with traditional cable companies to eventually phase out set top boxes in favour of replacing those boxes with Apple TV with television delivered via Apple’s own IP TV network courtesy of that CDN.
Getting back to the issue of Google – it’ll be interesting to see how things improve in the area of Android TV because so far the only way to get Android TV is either on expensive Sony televisions or buying old/out of date Android TV devices such as nVidia Shield or in the case of Xiaomi Mi Box having to go through remailers and questionable overseas retailers just to get it to New Zealand. Although Google also gets a lot of things right, their podcast system is horrible – they really need to bring it up to where Apple has it – even if it is just an aggregator but even still, why not launch a YouTube Podcast in much the same way that they how have YouTube Music? They have podcasts as part of the Play Store but it is only available in the United States – why? What is the logic behind that? That doesn’t touch on the bigger issue of Chrome and its heaviness in terms of efficiency which result in worst battery life when running on the Mac and Windows platform.