The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and the Google Input/output (I/O) Conference are key events in each company’s calendar, both aiming to showcase the latest in their respective tech areas. 2012 was no exception: Apple’s event over the June 11-15 dazzled with the stunning retina display Mac Book Pro and Google’s, two weeks later, pitched the cheap-as-chips Google Nexus 7. While WWDC’s 5,000 tickets sold out in 2 hours, the 5,500 on sale for the I/O Conference were gone in 20 minutes, according to Google. Is the faster sale of I/O seats indicative of greater expectation or just a negligible fact?
Apple and an Air of LuxuryFor the devoted iOS and Mac developer, WWDC is a must-see. Despite the costly ticket price of $1,599, the promise of over 100 sessions led by Apple engineers, hands-on labs and networking with other developers proves too much to resist. Apple likes to claim–in a rather infantile manner–that the conference is also about “having a fun time together”. Yet I see it as a luxury event, with attendees paying for the privilege to experience–or gawp at–Apple’s latest equipment before anyone else. Take a look at the way in which the new Mac Book is presented, for example: the $2199 device is enclosed in a glass cylinder surrounded by mesmerized press photographers. WWDC serves as a hype-generator, creating an air of exclusivity around the Apple brand every year. The presentations are sharp and the products even sharper. Even CEO Tim Cook’s body language instills confidence in the consumer.
Google and Plentiful Tangible ProductsThe opening keynote of I/O 2012 alone took some by surprise with the sheer number of announcements. Android 4.1, Google Now, the Nexus 7, Nexus Q, updated Google Play, Project Glass, a new Events app and improvements to Google Maps were all, incredibly, packed into the intro of the event. The announcements of Apple Maps and retina displays at WWDC seemed passé by comparison. So could it be said that Google’s event is more concerned with real technological advancement? Well, probably. While, like Apple, Google dealt with updates and improvements, they also introduced a serious rival to the Amazon Kindle Fire, fought off any Siri concerns and looked into the future with Google Glasses. In addition to some killer gadgetry, Google managed to hit the audience with some rather impressive stats. Take, for example, the fact that Google+ has over 150 million active monthly users and a total of 250 million accounts. Add to it confirmation that Chrome is the most popular browser and I/O couldn’t emerge as anything but a success.
Which is better?
Perhaps Google was aiming for a symbolic triumph over Apple when it demonstrated Google Glasses with a skydiver landing on the Moscone West conference center, the same venue at which the Apple WWDC took place. Crucially, for the many people who miss out on (or simply can’t afford) these gatherings, Google streams its keynote live, whereas Apple only offers video downloads, often after weeks rather than hours. What’s more, extended viewing parties saw live streaming of I/O 2012 away from the main event. As a result, it seems as though Google’s offering is more accessible as well as more exhilarating than its Apple counterpart, albeit without the same finesse. What do you think; did either event trump the other?
Author: Alyse is a marketing, photography, and tech addict who spends her time investigating the next generation of technology. When she is not brushing up on her art of the scientific know how in the world, you can find her contributing to ATTSavings or on Twitter @Alyse_1.
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