According to Steve Wozniak, apps are now the yardstick for how people live their lives, rather than systems or platforms – and it’s going to stay that way.
Wozniak, speaking in the run up to his keynote appearance at Developer World on October 23, enthused over the app landscape. “Apps are just changing our life so much and I think it’s going to stay that way,” he explains.
Yet the Apple co-founder adds a note of caution.
There are many apps out there which serve exactly the same purpose; a famous study from Adeven last year revealed there were over 1900 flashlight apps in the App Store alone.
With iOS 7 introducing a standard torch facility, pretty much all those apps have been made redundant in one fell swoop.
But the point still stands, and Wozniak explained to Apps World why apps with similar sounding names is, for now, a stumbling block in how he wants to operate.
“When I have a thought, my thought often starts with a noun, a thing, something in existence that I want, or an action I want to take, and I say ‘Okay, I want to speak to that thing’,” Wozniak notes.
“Well now we’re getting apps, and apps have names – and that’s kind of confusing because you have a lot of different names for the same sort of apps, for example weather.
“I want to be able to speak the name of an app, immediately followed by its commands in its language.
“I want things to be very robust, so that I could speak the name of an app first, and then speak in that app’s language,” he adds. “You might use the same wording for a different app, but it will have a different meaning to that app.”
Even if there is going to be negligible demand for flashlight apps in iOS from now on, there are still plenty of developers and entrepreneurs with great original ideas – and for Wozniak, Apps World will be all about meeting new faces.
“I’m looking forward more than anything to meeting the people that are attending,” he explains.
“[I’m] hoping to see some new technology ideas that I wasn’t aware of before, but usually I get turned on more by the people, what they’re talking about, what they’re interested in – and that gives me almost a better clue as to where the world’s going.”
So what ideas are going to turn Wozniak’s head? “It’s hard to say what you’re looking for,” he explains, “because the best things that capture your imagination are ones you hadn’t thought of before, and that aren’t talked about in the news all the time.”
Yet Wozniak gave Apps World enough of a hint: he’s looking out for how voice apps are being applied and, above all, technology that makes people’s lives easier.
“In the early days of the Macintosh...you had to memorise a lot of commands, to get around the system and move files and open things,” he explains.
“That’s thinking about things. If you feel your brain’s not working as hard, I’d consider those better technologies.”