Biggest news of 2014

As corporate romances go, IBM and Apple’s must rank among the most unexpected. As I wrote on the date they changed their Facebook status, the two companies were antagonists for the better part of twenty years and their rapprochement was met with a shrug mostly because yet more decades passed since.

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 11.28.03 AM

Nostalgia aside, this new union is profoundly important. It indicates and evidences change on a vast scale. The companies’ antagonism was due to being once aimed at the same business: computing. Since the early 1980s, “computing” came to be modularized into hundreds, perhaps thousands of business models. It is no longer as simple as selling beige boxes. IBM was forced out of building computers and into services and consulting while Apple moved to make devices and the software and services which make its hardware valuable.

The convergence of interests which was consummated into a deal this year stems from the migration of computing around what has come to be called “mobile”. Apple intends to accelerate the adoption of its mobile platforms among the remaining non-adopters: enterprises–a group which, by now, qualifies as laggards.[1] Simultaneously IBM intends to connect data warehouses at those same enterprises to their employed users.

Both can achieve their goals better if they join forces: Apple offers assistance and expertise while obtaining access and lubrication for orifice entry. IBM offers modularized access to databases through its own APIs and obtains credible client experiences. The combination increases adoption of mobile (i.e. intuitive) solutions and an increase in productivity, benefiting the buyer.

The recent apps release showed just how transformative this relationship could be. We were witnesses to apps which appeared to be designed for users[!] They were not designed for committees that prepare checklists of requirements.

We must applaud IBM for having the courage to resist the featuritis which plagues enterprise software design. This resistance requires saying No to those who specify and are thus authorized to purchase software and hardware. IBM has had to essentially say no to those who buy and yes to those who are paid to use. The quality of the experience is evident at first sight. The number of user actions, the number of screens to wade through have been ruthlessly culled. These are concepts and ideas which now permeate app design best practices. Yet they are practices which still elude the spec-driven enterprise software wastelands.

Simultaneously we must applaud Apple for accepting that there are throngs of unwashed masses laboring in cubicles which deserve to be served. They may be employed by laggards but they are people too. Apple management has made clear that they are being more inclusive and open minded. Extending that open hand to the downtrodden salaried masses must surely bring a tear to one’s eye.

Being unexpected and yet explanatory of the state of technology today, the partnership between IBM and Apple is, in my opinion, the most significant technology news of 2014.

As a romance, it is at least as newsworthy as the divorce of Wintel was in 2012.

  1. There was a time–when Apple was young–when enterprises were the innovators, early adopters. That role ended approximately in the year 2000 []
  • mshipe

    . . . “while obtaining access and lubrication for orifice entry” should this be enterprise entry? And if not, this is the most salacious statement I have witnessed on asymco :).

    • Eric Gen

      It’s likely a multi-level play on words with the cover being:

      ‘Jobs looks at us and says ‘why would I do anything for that orifice called the CIO?’” said Gelsinger. “At Intel we’re aghast; two-thirds of our business is that orifice called the CIO.”’

      Which also emphasizes Horace’s point, Apple is changing, and this is quite significant.

      • art hackett

        Who cares about the cio orifice any more? This is probably happening in spite (or to) spite them. If they cared about total cost then they wouldn’t have been sucking on wintel teats.

      • Eric Gen

        Personally, I don’t care about the CIO, either. But, a lot of businesses do care, and that’s what this article is about. Apple just put on their IBM suit and corporate CIOs welcome and recognize the IBM suit.

    • Sacto_Joe

      More interesting is which orifice, and whose, is he referring to? Microsoft’s posterior, perhaps? They do say that turnabout’s fair play….

    • aardman

      My inner thirteen-year-old is tickled pink by Mr. Dediu’s channeling of Adam Sandler.

      • art hackett

        Eeewwww. Please never mention that name here again.

  • pk_de_cville

    Hi Horace,

    Who is ‘asymco-admin’? Definitely a change in writing esthetics. ; )

  • John R. Moran

    Most interesting to me is that Apple is making this momentous move to penetrate the enterprise at the same time as its all-in push into luxury fashion, with the same brand.

    Has any company succeeded in such polar-opposite markets before? Who has even tried?

    Perhaps, as Horace suggests, their secret is the fact that they are approaching the markets in the same way.

  • berult

    The orifice of the subconscious needs be thoroughly lubricated through a generous coating of double-entendre. It is meant to arouse, erect, and, nature having taken its to-and-fro coarsely course, disgorge seminal signifiers deep into the crevasses of the frontal cortex. And ancillary appendages, begotten or not by intangible incest, serving, arousal-gaugers stand up and be counted now, as a litmus test.

    Would you presently be, by any miracle…a tiny stretch of the imagination I must say…having an erection?

    If yes, epic news, for, a new idea, a new concept, a new errand has been rendered possible…purely out of the author’s blue. Who would’ve thunk?!

    À Bon Double-Entendre, Salut!

    • lighteredknot

      Why, oh why, would you throw up this entomological thicket of euphemistical rhetoric and attempt to derail a reasonable presented article? For me it adds nothing to subjects. For you to be successful just go long on apple and leave the other to those more mature.

      • Eric Gen

        Obviously, you have not followed Berult’s comments over the years, and on various sites. They are often quite illuminating and informative!

      • pe8er8

        Because when you read “Apple offers assistance and expertise while obtaining access and lubrication for orifice entry.” you have to laugh or you’re probably a bit of a dick. Just saying.

    • airmanchairman

      Yay, it’s Berult! Bon(er) Noël, et bon An(n)us Novi Mirabilis!

    • Sacto_Joe

      Ah, that Apple seed: It maketh the whole world pregnant with possibilities!

  • r.d

    Steve Jobs was an alumni of HP.
    Tim Cook is an alumni of IBM.

    I for one cannot tell usability just by looking at screen shot of these apps.
    Nor can you get success or failure just because there is initial urge of managers to try these apps.
    A lot of these kinds of apps were developed, customized throughout 90s.
    There was initial euphoria and let down with every software project.
    It is not the app stupid. It is the culture and management.
    All the productivity gains were illusionary otherwise there would be no need to look from pie in the sky answer every few years.

    • JohnDoey

      Tim Cook is an alumni of Compaq.

      • Eric Gen

        When hired at Apple. He was an alumni of IBM before that.

      • GuruFlower

        I think you mean Cook is an alumnus of IBM.

      • Eric Gen

        Yep! You’re correct! I incorrectly used the plural instead of the singular form.

      • airmanchairman

        Tim’s the late, late fulfilment of the late SJ’s wish to hire Don Estridge of IBM at the very beginning of Apple: a manager with engineering and logistical savvy rolled in one. Don was the genius behind the all-conquering IBM PC; Steve Jobs had to settle for Pepsi executive Jon Sculley… the rest is history.

      • Guest

        Didn’t Steve work at mostly Atari and Woz at HP? I knew Tim wasn’t iBM, thanks.

  • claimchowder

    Quite possibly IBM is one of the first to understand that with nearly unlimited money supply, smart people are today’s scarce resource that must be fought for.
    Smart people are attracted by smart solutions, and more seriously, are appalled by poor ones, so IBM tries to build smart ones.

  • Gents – I beg to differ – and I cannot refute the Rear vision stats – but for 30 years I have been an Apple evangelist – a digital pioneer and a challenger to the 90% dominance of MSFT – agree Apple still make great hardware but they have no enterprise software services and worse – have completely stuffed the Cloud! Google have now taken the baton from Apple both in the innovation stakes are are a clear leader in unified Cloud services. The rise of the Chromebook represents a huge category shift (which isn’t even being reported) – there is almost nothing to download – no support – no backups no IT services necessary – it changes the Enterprise IT model totally – refer : PWC, Woolworths, Citibank – and now Education industry. Think – Yosemite software update – a 5 Gig download took most users a 1/2 day of stuffing around and lost productivity – Chromebook update is instant – nothing to install no lost productivity no downtime – maybe I am naive but – the future of the enterprise will have a lot more to do with – ‘Browser’ productivity, agnostic hardware (user choice) and a lot less to do with IBM professional services.

    • JohnDoey

      ChromeBook right now does 1% of what an iPad can do, tops.

      Your enthusiasm for Google’s products won’t get any work done.

      • art hackett

        Funny how apple evangelists in comments always preach doom, even though they love the fruit and have picked all of them.

    • Eric Gen

      I don’t remember the titles or links to some of the Asymco Apple Cloud stories, but they have previously pointed out that while Apple’s cloud services don’t appear to many people like what their view of cloud services ought to be, they are among the most significant cloud services from a financial standpoint, and also from a stickiness standpoint.

      • airmanchairman

        Yes, the new Cloud is not just in “The Cloud” but also in proximity to other devices, and/or retail areas and systems – iCloud Sync, Handoff, Continuity, Phone and SMS Relay, AirDrop, AirPrint, AirPlay, iBeacons, Apple Pay… and whatever next to come.

    • Davel

      If I were an enterprise buyer, how would I feel about Google’s business model of monetizing my information?

      We already know what the consumer viewpoint is.

    • drx1

      From what you said, Chrome books offer much promise. In reality, such, “books”, running mostly (only?) a browsers OS/app, is a horrendous idea.

      Maybe if people only need FB?

    • drx1

      Also, the “cloud” has been around for ages.

    • neutrino23

      There is a contradiction in your argument. Updating OS X requires an Internet connection but so do Chrome books. When the Internet is slow or costly or nonexistent then the Chrome book becomes a Chrome brick.

      I’m hopeful that the Apple and IBM alliance will work out. It seems like a nice division of labor.

      I don’t see that Apple has to sacrifice anything in the ipad design to support IBM. It is the essence of the iPad that software is everything. The machine disappears in the display. The most important things for IBM should be what most of us want: speed, reliability, few bugs, light weight, long battery life.

  • Jeff G

    Coming soon… iBM

  • JohnDoey

    It’s great that Apple has made their operating system look and feel like a spreadsheet for enterprise users, but who is going to make computers for “the rest of us” now? All of the Apple software updates since iOS 7 was introduced have made my work harder and slower, and the plague of Windows-like bugs has been unbelievable. My father-in-law got a new iPad 2 yesterday and just in his first 5 minutes he ran into 3 or 5 amazing bugs (e.g. volume slider in Control Center goes missing) that he couldn’t overcome without my help, even though he has been using an iPhone with iOS 5–6 for about 3 years.

    So the Apple/IBM partnership has upside, but I feel it also has a giant downside that is already evident in the Microsoft-like super-low software quality of the last couple of years of Apple.

    • OkThen

      Seems like a lack of focus from a company that attributes all of their success to focus.

    • drx1

      I’m on iOS 7 and OS 10.9.5, so it’s still good here. I do have an old iPad 3. It is slow for many thing, yet still OK. Apple should do better about performance on older hardware… They do support their products, when compared to most ‘droid “solutions”.

      I say they should upgrade the Woz’s position, if he’s up for it. He was always more practical.

    • art hackett

      Never mind the geniuses “solution” of wipe the sucker and reinstall. Makes a mockery of the cloud (or whatever) backups or migration assistant. Wtf? Windows anyone?
      Gets a bit tedious. Badly behaving nix machines usually have a hardware fault if a bad app can’t be identified, but it keeps the customers busy for ages.

    • Walt French

      @JohnDoey wrote, “So the Apple/IBM partnership has upside, but I feel it also has a giant downside that is already evident in the Microsoft-like super-low software quality of the last couple of years of Apple.”

      Pretty sure the partnership took less than a couple of years to be consummated so ordinary Granger Causality means you’re obviously talking about some missing factor that drove both the s/w quality concerns and the partnership.

      I’d put the cause under the general heading of “Growing Pains.” Apple is now building gear for half of the US smartphone customer base, not 5% of the <50% of the US population who were PC users when Jobs returned to Apple and started rebuilding it for Apple's next stage of life. Apple designs, builds and sells about as many devices today than *all* manufacturers combined did in 1997.

      Then, hobbyists/enthusiasts, scientists, graphics arts and publishing avant garde types. Today, Everybody.

      To deal with this huge transformation, what did Apple do? Double down on control. Rather than invite hacks for multi-tasking or UI innovations, as they did before iPhones, they made more and more rules about what apps can do, happily give up flexibility for security and stability.

      Internally, Cook seems to have steadfastly kept to the unitary model, a precise opposite to the silos at Microsoft that allowed individual products to work well at the expense of flexibility of the overall platform. (Excel may have had its quirks historically, e.g., several truly awful RANDOM() functions, but the greater shortcoming was its bloat, bloat that made it impossible to imagine a lightweight Windows.)

      The Mac OS of a decade ago was immature, to put it kindly; that of two decades ago was an embarrassment. Apple now fields two much more complex platforms. Yet to my eyes, when OS X hangs it’s likely because Apple took a chance for performance, knowing it’d be less reliable. (Example: the twitter map @Asymco retweeted a day or two ago, ran fine in the iOS browser embedded in twitter, but crashed in Mobile Safari. Probably a bug in the page—they’re quite common!—but looks like an Apple bug.)

      To fend off competition, Apple can ill afford to let another platform gain a capability advantage that is useful to lots of people; Both iOS7 and iOS8 introduced major capability enhancements that many app developers are still trying to understand how best to use; the Swift language is another huge leap, aimed at making it easier for developers to do great apps.

      There is inevitably a conflict between stability, understandability and flexibility. There may be as many bugs as Microsoft had, but they are not Microsoft-like; they are obvious results from Apple trying to adapt to its newfound universality.

  • Jeff

    Lubrication for orifice entry?

    • airmanchairman

      Well according the commenter @jameskatt:disqus , “Microsoft – and Ballmer – tried to ram Windows into everything, but nothing fit”

      Makes sense now, sort of… 🙂

    • Walt French

      Old Jobs quote about IT depts being orifices through which one had to go, to sell into businesses. Very different priorities than users’. Jobs must’ve decided he was never going to sell thru them when he insisted on the “1984” commercial.

      I think Jobs single-handedly made the word suspect in polite company. Clearly intended to be insulting.

      • art hackett

        Seems appropriate.

    • art hackett

      i did notice that. Racy, yet coy, but tongue firmly planted in a cheek. Possibly xs holiday cheer.

      • Sacto_Joe

        Geez. And I thought Horace’s comment was salacious….

  • jameskatt

    Wintel is not yet divorced. Microsoft and Intel have settled into a marriage of convenience and survival, forced to stay together because any other alternative is death. Both will still make billions. Both are still 800 pound gorillas. But clearly they are caged in the land that they created, unable to travel to other vistas and worlds to conquer.

    Intel, in particular, missed the boat on Apple’s ARM Processors. Sometimes you just don’t get a second chance.

    • drx1

      Specifically, and lastly, Ballmer attempted to shove Windows and Windows ‘touch’ (mobile) down everyone’s throats – being a regular desktop or an actual mobile device (phone or tab). I guess this could or should have worked way better – it could have.

      Microsoft does go insane from time to time. They managed to deliver a product that was (maybe still is), the worst of both worlds. This is impressive.

    • They used to have an exclusive relationship. That ended. I would say that what remains is no longer a marriage. Divorced people can make loads of money.

      • iObserver

        I like to think of it as an open marriage: they see other people but it’s just not as serious. Plus they already bought a house together that’s just way too difficult to split up.

  • glasspusher

    Please do something with that chart at the top. You’ve run out of colors, change the line styles of the plots.

    • Eric Gen

      As someone with fading eyesight, and who was always a bit color-blind, I can follow the colors on the chart due to the thickness of the lines, but I can’t correlate the chart to the legend on the right because the colored lines in the legend are thinner than the chart lines and I cannot successfully differentiate them.

    • BoydWaters

      Agreed. Interpreting the chart on my iPad is challenging. I happen to know some of the story that the chart represents: three phases of computing.

      You could reuse the colors, if perhaps the legend at right would make clear the two cohorts of devices: Early-PC and 21st-century mobile touch things.

      Early PC, up to year 1995, shows the Wintel PC breaking out from a pack of early entrants.

      The chasm, from 1995 to 2001, dominated by the ubiquitous PC, but remarkably, the Macinosh survives with 2-5% market share (relative to the PC).

      2001 up to present time (2013 in the chart) casts the emergence of smartphones as a recapitulation of the Early PC days. Except that the scale of the market is up at least two orders of magnitude.

  • dicklacara

    Good article!

    I have personal experience in both IBM and Apple worlds …

    16 1/2 years in IBM’s Data Processing Division — Marketing and Market support for Enterprise accounts … 1973-1980 at IBM Palo Alto DBDC Systems Center — Supporting Database and Data Communication for enterprise customers.

    In 1978, two partners and I opened Computer Plus, Inc. — the 5th retail computer store in Silicon Valley. Initially, we sold primarily Apple ][ computers. We defined three potential markets: Hobbyists; Home/Personal; Small Business/Enterprise.

    The Hobbyist market was not profitable — they tended to build their own from parts. But, they were important in that most of the technology breakthroughs (at the time) were made by hobbyists.

    The Home/Personal market was fast-growing and Apple and Computer Plus served this market well.

    The Small Business/Enterprise market was, largely, one of potential … The Apple ][ shared characteristics (CPU, RAM) with the IBM/360 maimframes of the day … but the Apps were missing …

    In those days the typical enterprise DP (now called IT) department had a backlog for implementing applications for the various departments of the enterprise — once approved, it would take 18-24 months to implement the department’s apps to run on the central maimframe.

    A typical division might need an app to prepare a budget and/or forecast the demand for a new product (or a new model of an existing product). But, due to the cost and 2-year app backlog the need went unanswered

    That all changed in 1979 with the introduction of VisiCalc on the Apple ][ (and the floppy and hard disks to follow):

    A department could buy VisiCalc for $79, a tricked out Apple ][, floppy and a printer for about $3,000-$4,000 … And could address many of the computational needs that the DP Department couldn’t.

    In those days, a typical enterprise department had purchasing authority for op to $5,000 — the VisiCalc Solution was a no-brainer.

    One of my partners, beta tested VisiCalc — so we hit the ground running.

    Other dealers questioned: Who will pay $79 for a piece of Apple ][ software?

    After a demo, and being told the cost of $79, the potential enterprise customer would ask: only $79? … a month?

    Enterprise departments would pay $4,000 for a computer, etc. so they could use a $79 app.

    We sold the VisiCalc Solution to every major enterprise in the area (and some foreign) — including names like: IBM, Fairchild-Schlumbeger, Xerox, Applied Materials, Marriott, EMI Thorne, Daimler Benz …

    I believe that the IBM/Apple partnership has a similar potential — if it can deliver the modern equivalent of the VisiCalc Solution to the persons who use the information!

    Oh, not to be overlooked, are the importance of Swift, Apple Pay and Apple Watch — I believe they will be integral to the success of the IBM/Apple partnership.

  • BoydWaters

    Y2K was a shift from COBOL to Java. And now, IBM has to teach their corps of programmers to deliver touch-friendly mobile apps.

    IBM new Design Language. Well-done, much like Google Material Design.

    • dicklacara

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot …

      Y2K: CoBOL—>Java

      Y2KXIV … Java—>Swift

      Swift is not, yet, cross platform … but I suspect it will be.

      Swift is safe, fast, concise, productive, readable/maintainable and fun!

      You really have to go out of your way to write code that will crash at runtime.

      It’s still a work-in-progress — but with Storyboards/Bindings you can define an app’s UI without writing any code.

      • Walt French

        Apple listed interface to its existing libraries and work modes as major features of Swift. The language itself looks relatively simple but near-useless for anything beyond textbook examples without all those Apple-specific bindings.

        So I envision Swift being truly cross-platform (Windows? Android? Tizen? Linux?) only when Apple has a strong reason to port its mostly-free software to other OS’s and hardware… i.e., never.

      • dicklacara

        Think about it from this perspective:
        • the Swift Language would be free including the foundation classes
        • the Swift Interactive Playgrounds would be available through the web *
        • access to the Apple APIs would be available for a fee
        — cut per app or app sale, ala app store
        — monthly subscription

        * it already is … see image below

        The image shows a web site that provides Swift Interactive Playgrounds including foundation classes … shown are some simple string formatting, sorting, core graphics.

        — Importing Apple APIs is not provided
        — compiled output is not provided

        … but if the price were right …

        Just for grins, the Swift Playgrounds was accessed from my iPad Air 2

      • Walt French

        Still not understanding why Apple will prioritize support for platforms that earn it no money. (Directly, anyway—I get that there’s SOME value of helping devs go cross-platform.)

        Anyway, all the accounts I read are that Swift is still not ready for prime time, and that there are enough bugs in the Xcode environment — myself, I’ve been hitting some weird dependency problems in simple C code, lately — that long-term Apple devs would be outraged.

        I separately posted recently about Apple’s issue of having a hugely diverse target customer set. Multiplying that by hugely diverse platforms would reduce quality further.

        Maybe after Swift is at least as good as the Obj-C support and there aren’t a lot of other issues? I still can’t see it happening soon; haven’t yet heard why it’s anything other than a toy project.

      • dicklacara

        like the iPod before it!

      • David Leppik

        Agreed. Besides, the main advantage of Swift is its compatibility with LLVM. The other headline features are becoming common in newer languages, such as Scala, JetBrains’ Kotlin, and (to some extent) Microsoft’s Typescript.

        Interactive Playgrounds? Check. (JetBrain’s Scala Worksheet.) Type inference? Check. Null avoidance? Check.

        And the one conspicuously missing feature of Swift is compile-to-JavaScript. Even C has that now (via LLVM and Enscripten– but not with Swift.)

        In fact, I’d say it’s far easier to make a crashy Swift program than a crashy Scala program. Swift only sort-of protects you from memory management errors: if an object can’t be handled with simple reference counting, you’re on your own. Scala also has incredibly sophisticated option handling (think long lists of “if/else” which look a lot like switch statements, but can unpack data inline and require that every possible case be handled.)

        Long story short, Swift has a lot of nice features, but if you think it’s special, you haven’t been paying attention to all the new languages out there.

        Meanwhile, if you want truly cross-platform code, you’re stuck with C and languages that compile to JavaScript for the time being.

  • Pete

    Is the vertical axis of the graph units shipped, revenue (in US $?), or something else?

  • Another insightful post.

    The following article notes some of the implications of the partnership:

  • fstein

    This will be huge. Android will not be able to offer the security and supportability, let alone consistent user experience that Apple brings. IBM is the best solution seller and is way ahead of HP, Oracle, Cisco in enterprise solutions and enterprise support.
    Support, and Swift are the gems. With IBM reselling Apple Care, enterprise workers can finally bring their Macs to work, in addition to their iOS devices. Swift and the iOS hardware supporting it will run circles around Android-based Apps.
    I would not discount Wintel Mobile, but it has a long way to go.
    IBM may be able to offer a big cost saving by getting rid of PBX phones for many office workers. These systems usually result on per user, monthly chargebacks well above $100.

  • dicklacara

    I wanted to illustrate the power of Swift when used with Storyboards to create a modern app and UI.

    It requires posting some screen shots — and I’ve never tried that, here, before … so please bear with me.

    The app is a relatively common one that features a multi-column table* where:

    • the columns are sortable
    • the columns are resizable
    • the columns can be rearranged

    • the columns cane hidden and un-hidden
    * the row/column entries are editable

    * Multi-column tables have been available in OS X forever (think iTunes) — but they are not available in iOS … yet!

    The first image shows the table as initially displayed by the app:

    The second image shows the table after the user has resized, rearranged, sorted columns then updated a specific row column entry.

    The next three images show the “coding” for the app:

    • the AppDelegate generated by the system — unchanged
    • the Recipe definition of the contents of the table rows and columns
    • the ViewController used to prime the table with data and display it.

    That’s it. Simple, safe, fast, readable/maintainable code.

    The final image is the Storyboard that provides a visual representation of the User Interface and connects (binds) the various UI Elements to the underlying code and data.

    Much of the function lies within the TableView API supplied by Apple. Prior to Swift and Storyboards the developer had to write a lot more code that was difficult to read and maintain.

    Another thing, not shown here, is Playgrounds — a developer environment where the “code” can be written and tested interactively … then copy/pasted into the app.

    I believe that IBM is all over this approach! I hope this show why.

  • As a s/h I really like the Apple-IBM deal. I’d also like to see a conversation between Apple and SalesForce.

  • dicklacara

    @Walt French … With due respect — and based on your reasoned posts here, and on other forums — you are due respect.

    @Walt French said: “Anyway, all the accounts I read are that Swift is still not ready for prime time”

    Mas o menos — Since the WWDC release, there have been a few false starts and retreats, but since the Swift 1.0 GM has emerged quite solid … Apple is accepting submission of Swift apps for the App store … It’s been less than 6 months!

    @Walt French said: “Maybe after Swift is at least as good as the Obj-C support and there aren’t a lot of other issues”

    It is getting there. Apparently, some of the difficulties with Swift arise because of unsafe coding in the underlying Obj-C frameworks:

    “Bringing the Cocoa frameworks to Swift gave us a unique opportunity to look at our APIs with a fresh perspective. We found classes that we didn’t feel fit with the goals of Swift, most often due to the priority we give to safety. For instance, some classes related to dynamic method invocation are not exposed in Swift, namely NSInvocation and NSMethodSignature.”

    AFAICT, Apple is methodically going through the underlying OS X and iOS frameworks and reimplementing them in Swift … IOW, Swift is being used to rewrite Apple’s OSes.

    @Walt French said: “haven’t yet heard why it’s anything other than a toy project.”

    Here’s where I think we differ … from my own experience, the apparent acceptance of Swift in the IBM/Apple partnership MobileFirst, and the apparent plans that Apple has for Swift (System Programming, Application Programming) as well as lowering the barrier to writing good programs — tells me that Swift is anything but a “toy project”

    BTW, if you want to plat with the IBM/Apple MobileFirst bits, go to:

    They have an Obj-C implementation and a Swift implementation …

    I played around for about 15 minutes — couldn’t get either one to work (a lot of IBM interface setup required) …

    But the good news is that the failing Swift version requires about 1/2 the code of the failing Obj-C version ;-)>

    • Walt French

      Please see my correction in the original Disqus sequence: I stand by my claims that Swift is MORE problematic today than Obj-C, and most experienced developers will continue to use the language they know. Maybe, for new projects such as Apple Watch, Swift will be the FIRST language of choice..

      Otherwise, Swift is an exciting development, one that shows incredible maturity. Thanks, no doubt, to its author having originated Apple’s compiler tech and his close familiarity with its frameworks.

      But I still have seen no reason beyond “it’d be neat” for Apple to attempt to spread Swift into other platforms.

      • dicklacara

        I hadn’t seen your edit in the main thread.

        Here are several ways to respond to the “neat project” justification:

        — If Apple’s objective is to sell iDevices why would they care whether they are programed on a Windows machine a Linux machine or a Mac?

        — What about server-side applications — where API needs are different?

        — What about a safe, fast client-side (browser) replacement for JavaScript?

        I’ve been an Apple fan for 36 years … but, I think Swift/Lattner is bigger than Apple!

      • dicklacara

        Here’s an interesting read (via Gruber):

        The Death of Cocoa

        “And yet, after just a few months of working with Swift, Cocoa has begun to lose its luster. We all saw Swift as the beginning of the end for Objective-C, but Cocoa? (It wouldn’t be the first time an Apple standard library would be made obsolete. Remember Carbon?)

        Swift is designed with modern language features that allow for safer, more performant code. However, one could be forgiven for seeing Swift as little more than a distraction for the compiler tools team, as very few of Swift’s advantages trickle down into conventional application usage.”

        “What if we were to build a new Foundation from the Swift Standard Library? What would we do differently, and how could we learn from the mistakes of our past? This may seem an odd thesis for NSHipster, a site founded upon a great deal of affection for Objective-C and Cocoa, but it’s one worth exploring.’

        “Swift is compelling not just in terms of what the language itself can do, but what it means to Apple, to iOS & OS X developers, and the developer community at large. There are so many factors in play that questions of technical feasibility cannot be extricated from their social and economic consequences.

        Will Swift be released under an open source license? Will Swift unseat Javascript as the only viable web scripting language by adding interpreter to Safari? Ultimately, these will be the kinds of deciding factors for what will become of the Swift Standard Library. If Swift is to become a portable systems and scripting language, it would first need to extricate itself from the Objective-C runtime and a web of heavy dependencies.

        What is almost certain, however, is that Cocoa, like Objective-C, is doomed. It’s not as much a question of whether, but when. (And we’re talking years from now, no one is really arguing that Objective-C & Cocoa are going away entirely all at once).

        The Swift Standard Library is on a collision course with Cocoa, and if the new language continues to gain momentum, one should expect to see further fracturing and reinvention within the system frameworks.

        For 30 years, these technologies have served us well, and the best we can do to honor their contributions is to learn from their mistakes and make sure that what replaces them are insanely great.”

      • Walt French

        Yes, it WAS thoughtful, an interesting read for tech types, and although thoroughly unofficial, probably a good indication about the future of development in Apple Land.

        But remember that Swift was a surprise out of the blue. I think that its current raison d’être, a replacement for Objective-C, is enough, but who knows what Apple will do with it?

  • Shatagua Jurado Sanchez

    Google should get in touch with Oracle, that would be a great competence.

    • Walt French

      Heh, their lawyers are probably talking daily…Oracle still asserts that Google stole their Intellectual Property (copyright on all the Java libraries) and there’s a fair chance of its reviving their billion-dollar lawsuit against them.

      That minor detail notwithstanding, I don’t think there is anything about Google’s style that fits the M.O. Even for its OHA—the companies that make Android(R) devices—Google is studiously diffident to success of individual efforts, and focuses its energies entirely on core capabilities. Oracle is presumably welcome to sell apps either directly or through the Market, and since Google salespeople aren’t out pushing Nexus tablets to IT shops, nobody is the worse off for Google’s non-endorsement.

      Jobs was famous for his hostility to corporate IT but Google’s whole Android program rests largely on blunting Microsoft’s ownership of Teh Enterprise. This is not especially fertile ground for them…yet, anyway.