If you are an iOS developer - or even an Apple fan in general - today is your Christmas in June. Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) happens every year at this time, and is a roadmap for the updates and new features we’ll see on our Apple devices soon. It is also the annual gathering for developers and technology enablers so that we can better understand what is coming to the Apple universe and prepare to enable our customers to embrace these features.
This year, WWDC did shine a light on video - although maybe not as much as many were predicting. The one consistent video thread today was H.265, also known as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding). This improvement on how video is encoded, processed and delivered to devices represents roughly 40% better efficiency overall. At the WWDC keynote, various Apple executives mentioned HEVC when talking about iOS and macOS. The speakers were quick to mention the visual improvements that HEVC will bring to desktop, smartphone and tablet experiences. We’ve long been fans and proponents of HEVC, and have supported 10-bit 4K workflows in our Zencoder product for many months.
Also worth noting from the keynote was the growth of tvOS. Apple said that more than 50 partners are now part of that ecosystem, making their content available to viewers and subscribers. New to that group is Amazon, bringing their Prime Video library and 4K content to the platform later in 2017. One interesting announcement today too was a new feature in the macOS browser, Safari. With Apple’s new High Sierra macOS, which will ship later this year, they will enable users to prevent the autoplay feature in embedded video players on a webpage. This is an interesting development and I’ll be interested to see how publishers who leverage autoplay will react. This could have an interesting impact to those who rely on autoplay to ramp up their overall player starts as part of their strategy.
Last but not least, I was also interested in the augmented reality (AR) discussion and demos. I’m a big believer that creating experiences where nearly everyone can tap in by using the phone in their pocket and interacting with an on-screen experience (think Pokemon Go) seems to me to have more mass market appeal than one where you have to strap a set of goggles on. If history is a guide, Apple likes to tap into things that will have massive appeal with very large audiences. Only time will tell.
While WWDC is the bellwether event for Apple developers and fans, I am still expecting more video evolution in Apple’s products and software. That they really put HEVC front and center today is very interesting. For their users and our customers, it means that we’ll continue to see content that is visually compelling, consumes less space (on the device and in the storage and creation process) and is well in line with our manifesto for media organizations.
Read Our Media Manifesto