a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: Apple and the Widgetification of Everything

Benedict Evans, Frank Chen, and Kyle Russell

Posted June 14, 2016

The world’s most valuable company, Apple, made a number of seemingly incremental announcements at its most recent annual developer’s conference (WWDC) — that Apple Pay is coming to the web; that Siri is being opened up to app developers; that iMessage will suggest emoji; and many other things.

Underneath all these little feature tweaks however is a bigger story, argue a16z’s Benedict Evans, Frank Chen, and Kyle Russell. It’s a story about -ification: the “platformification” of apps available on the Apple operating system (they’ve turned maps into a platform before even Google has); the “widgetification” of everything (using familiar interfaces to ensure continuity across different contexts); and the AI-ification of everyday services (like recognizing faces in photos and predicting, um, emoji).

Add it all up though and it means Apple is focusing a lot more on A.I., just like other big tech companies such as Google and Facebook (and don’t forget Amazon too!). Only Apple is bringing artificial intelligence to the phone — it now also has a neural network API for instance — only interestingly, it’s focusing on doing so at the device, not cloud level. So what does it all mean?

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The a16z Podcast discusses the most important ideas within technology with the people building it. Each episode aims to put listeners ahead of the curve, covering topics like AI, energy, genomics, space, and more.

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