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By Jason Snell for Macworld
Last year, in the grips of a sudden and shocking global pandemic, Apple continued rolling. New product announcements kept dropping. A new set of operating-system releases were announced, went into beta, and shipped. The transition to Apple silicon started.
Everyone at Apple deserves a lot of credit for keeping the machine chugging along during 2020, but the company was helped out by the its policy of working well in advance, laying the groundwork for products and features over a long stretch of time.
Unfortunately, that approach also has a downside: it reduces the company’s nimbleness. Last spring it was clear that masks were going to be a major feature of public life for a while, but there was no way the next iPhone could be adapted to add Touch ID to its home button in time. Apple did manage to invent a mask workaround for Apple Watch users—but even that quick fix didn’t arrive on iPhones until an iOS update in May 2021.
Apple takes its time, for better or for worse. This week at its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple finally unveiled a bunch of features that appear to be based on hard lessons learned during the last year-plus of pandemic life. It’s great to see Apple reacting to changes in the world, but given that nothing showed off this week will ship until this fall, is the timing all wrong?