What's Key in Apple's WWDC News

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There were several interesting takeaways from the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday for Apple (AAPL) investors. Here are a few:


The opening gags from Siri were hilarious but -- more significantly -- pointed to where Siri is going.

What got people doubled over laughing with the Siri jokes was her personality. The more we start to see that come out in her, the more attached we will get to her.

Up until now, there has been a lot of grousing about Siri and that she doesn't always work. Or people don't like the TV ads. However, these ads are driving usage and building up massive data, which is key to the artificial intelligence going to the next level.

It's this massive leap in AI which will make Siri many people's "best friend" -- even if that sounds sad or creepy. It will be a huge moat for others to get over in order to catch up to her. We should start to see improvements in Siri in iOS 6 and then as iPhone 5 and Apple TV ship later in the year. Siri's getting sports, and more restaurant data from Yelp ( YELP) and OpenTable ( OPEN) in iOS 6.

Apps and Money to Developers

Over $5 billion has now been paid out to iOS developers since inception by Apple. The message is simple: if you're a developer, you can make good coin writing apps for iOS.

But developers will only write where there are users. Research In Motion ( RIMM) could pay money hand over fist to developers and few would sign up. They are going where the users are showing the interest and Apple is paying them fairly and well to do so.

New Macs

The new MacBook Pros that were characterized as "next-generation" in terms of their thinness, weight and retina display were the star of the show. Apple is proud of their new line of Macs. They are clearly the cream of the crop compared to what's out there from other PC manufacturers.

People in the audience loved them and there's still a lot of money to be made from Macs for Apple. However, computers are becoming less and less important to Apple the company, as more revenue comes from its phones, tablets and TVs.

Better iOS

This was Scott Forstall's time to shine during the keynote. There are now 365 million iOS devices out there in the wild and 80% of them are on iOS 5. Only 7% of Android users are using the latest version of Android.

There are over 200 new feature updates for iOS 6, including a big improvement for Siri and Siri integration into iPads and cars down the road. I love the "do not disturb" function to turn off all notifications from people I don't want to be bothered by.

FaceTime will also work better on cell networks. Bad news for Skype. PassBook -- consolidated boarding passes, movie tickets, etc. in one place -- is very cool (and takes Apple ever closer to the digital wallet). The new Apple maps is a shot across the bow for Google ( GOOG). How many years will it take for Apple to boot out Google search?


We didn't get a new TV outright, but we did get AirPlay. This is in the new OSX allowing AirPlay mirroring onto any Apple TV from another Mac or Apple device.

AirPlay, in my view, is the most disruptive aspect of Apple TV. You'll be able to show your entire laptop display on your TV if you want, and not just some movie, photo, or video from your laptop. Where AirPlay really starts to get disruptive though is when you start to allow two-way AirPlay between your device in your lap and the TV you're watching. That's really when you see a blending of Internet and TV.


Apple now has 125 registered users on iCloud in a couple of quarters since launch. That's pretty amazing. What's more interesting is that close to 70% of mobile device browsing is on iOS. Android accounts for only about 20%.

As Apple is intent on owning "four screens" in your home -- TV, phone, tablet and computer -- the fact that so many users are already knitting their experience across these devices is a huge leg up on the competition. It also ensures a high adoption rate whenever Apple comes out with a new Mac, phone, tablet or TV.

Not Much Facebook Love

For that first 90 minutes of the keynote, there was nary a mention of Facebook ( FB). Instead, there were lots of mentions of Twitter. Later on, we found out that Facebook would be integrated into iOS 6 so that you can more easily share links in a similar fashion to what you are able to do with Twitter in iOS 5.

So, Tim Cook did follow through on his prediction from two weeks ago that he'd announce something with Facebook. However, it suggests that this is a minimal partnership between the two that is being done more to please iOS users than to help out Facebook.

The Importance of China

Apple took time to show off the China-specific features of Mountain Lion for China. This included Baidu ( BIDU) as the default search engine, and integration with Sina ( SINA) Weibo. This specific allocation of time to China shows how important it is to Apple's future.

There was a lot to digest in the keynote -- and lots to get excited about for Apple investors, developers, and users.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

At the time of publication, Eric Jackson was long AAPL and YELP.

Eric Jackson is founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital and the general partner and investment manager of Ironfire Capital US Fund LP and Ironfire Capital International Fund, Ltd. In January 2007, Jackson started the world's first Internet-based campaign to increase shareholder value at Yahoo!, leading to a change in CEOs in 2007. He also spoke out in favor of Yahoo!'s accepting Microsoft's buyout offer in 2008. Global Proxy Watch named Jackson as one of its 10 "Stars" who positively influenced international corporate governance and shareowner value in 2007.

Prior to founding Ironfire Capital, Jackson was President and CEO of Jackson Leadership Systems, Inc., a leadership, strategy, and governance consulting firm. He completed his Ph.D. in the Management Department at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, with a specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance, and holds a B.A. from McGill University.

He was previously Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at VoiceGenie Technologies, a software firm now owned by Alcatel-Lucent. In 2004, Jackson founded the Young Patrons' Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which is now the second-largest social and philanthropic group of its kind in North America, raising $500,000 annually for the museum. You can follow Jackson on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ericjackson or @ericjackson.

You can contact Eric by emailing him at eric.jackson@thestreet.com.

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