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Jobs Gives Developers Short Shrift at WWDC

By Katherine Noyes MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jun 12, 2007 2:22 PM PT

It wasn't too surprising that CEO Steve Jobs reasserted Apple's commitment to computer products in his keynote speech Monday at the World Wide Developers Conference -- it is, after all, a conference focused primarily on developers of computer software and products.

Jobs Gives Developers Short Shrift at WWDC

Even so, for all its success with the iPod and all the excitement surrounding the forthcoming iPhone, it would be a mistake to doubt that Apple is still, first and foremost, a computer company, Bryan Chaffin, an editor with the Mac Observer, told MacNewsWorld.

"The majority of Apple's profits and gross revenue comes from computers," Chaffin said. "The iPod is icing on the cake, but computers are definitely the company's bread and butter."

Consumer Focus

What may have been surprising, however, was the relative lack of focus on developer-specific Apple technologies. Rather, with all the details and demonstrations about the forthcoming Leopard operating system, the presentation was much more consumer-oriented than usual, Chaffin commented.

"I think Apple is really wanting to get the message out on Leopard, so Jobs took advantage of having all these eyeballs focused on the presentation," he noted. "Apple wanted to get the word out to the audience beyond the developers, and the delivery was tooled more toward consumers."

Yet while much of Jobs' speech was focused on Leopard, a few of his other announcements could be particularly important in the future, Chaffin added.

Increasing Mac Share

In the short term, the most important thing to come out of Jobs' speech is almost certainly the opening up of the iPhone for developers, Chaffin said. With all the hype and built-up excitement, that news will only increase the splash the product makes when it is finally released at the end of this month.

Looking at the longer term, the release of Safari for Windows may be bigger news, Chaffin said. Yet while Jobs described the move as being part of an effort to grow Safari's market share -- something Chaffin called "completely ridiculous" -- it may actually have to do more with growing mindshare for the company as a whole, he said.

Specifically, the move will help put developer attention on the Mac in the creation of a variety of Web 2.0 products as well as make it easier for Windows developers to develop apps for the iPhone, Chaffin noted.

Health of the Platform

"This will bring more developers to the Mac platform," he explained. "Even if they're not creating Mac-specific products, they can still pay attention to the Mac when developing."

Finally, the third key point to come out of Jobs' speech is the news that Electronic Arts (EA) is coming back to the Macintosh, Chaffin said.

"While it may not affect a lot of developers, the notion that the Mac is perhaps becoming a serious player in the games market -- or returning to that position -- certainly affects the health the platform as a whole," Chaffin concluded. "It's an absolutely fantastic sign."

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