Every year before the WWDC, some of the top tech media outlets do a little snooping around the Moscone Center to get a glimpse at what Apple is doing with their banner ads ahead of the conference’s official launch. The appearance of iOS banners is never big news in and of itself — a new iOS is always expected at the WWDC. But the design of the banner, logo, and tagline — always imbued by Apple’s marketing and PR department with clues to the up-coming release — are always the focus of fun analysis and banter on the part of Apple enthusiasts.
This year, the iOS 6 banner features a different icon for the number, and as I suggested over on the iOS 6 News Blog, I think it looks conspicuously “Facebook blue,” which could foreshadow the deep Facebook integration with iOS 6 that many believe to be coming.
There’s not much else to parse, except for the tagline: “The world’s most advanced operating system.” That’s a bold, easy statement to make — and also the kind of statement that you’d better be able to back up. In my recent iOS 6 blog article, I imagined the debut of a radically smarter Siri — for all we know, it’ll be giving Tim Cook marital advice up on stage. We’ve seen in recent star-studded Siri ads a depiction of a wittier, more intuitive Siri. Perhaps this is what Apple will use to substantiate such claims.
But the reason I wanted to post something here on the iPhone 5 News Blog about this banner for iOS 6 is because it is remarkably less cryptic than last year’s iOS 5 banner. Take a look:
This was the banner ad from last year’s WWDC — and the glimpse that we got on it on June 6th, 2011.
As you can see from this banner, Apple was planning on making iS 5 the centerpiece of its WWDC: it contained within it the arrival of last year’s OS X, plus the big launch of iCloud. The new iCloud icon was making a monumental splash at this point last year. Also, around the same time, 9to5Mac posted this photo of a shrouded banner, that many believed was going to be a “One More Thing” banner:
So, when you compare the iOS 6 banner from the 2012 WWDC, how does it compare? Basically, the new banner isn’t holding much back — and it isn’t ratcheting up much excitement. Whereas the iCloud icon had a buzz attached to it, Apple has decided to go with a very prosaic banner for iOS 6, and let it be displayed prominently.
What I wonder is this: is this it? As the old song goes, is that all there is? That iOS 6 banner, from a design perspective, is just about as boring as they come; bloggers have come up with better in months past. Did Apple’s sense of style and intrigue pass away along with with Mr. Jobs? I doubt it. I’m excited by this banner, because I think it is less like a teaser and more like a curtain. It is so conspicuously dull and lifeless that it tells me that there will be much more to the WWDC than just iOS 6 beta — more than even the ivy bridge Macbooks. To me, this banner is “Apple doubling down on security.” It’s the quiet calm before the storm. Please Apple — don’t let this be all that there is to WWDC 2012.
By Michael Nace