When a developer conference catches the worlds attention...
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In this case the developer conference is Apple's WWDC, scheduled for 10am PT today (6pm for me in the UK). There's the usual roundup of expected announcements along with a web based keynote bingo app. Why so much interest? The position of the iPhone versus Android as leading market share in smart phones is a hotly contested subject, what is clear is the iPhone continues to have a dramatic impact on the evolving mobile web. In addition emarketer has just released their estimate that there will be 53 million iPad users in the US alone by year end. It seems Apple will update the operating system on all these devices as well as refresh it's laptop line up at least (yes, they still sell those). There have been rumours for years that Apple is set to change the world of the television, the largest screen in the house. The AppleTV products have been novelties to date that haven't lived up to this challenge, perhaps this year Apple will announce support for Apps on the TV. In other news Windows 7 is now set to overtake Windows XP as most installed Microsoft platform, just ahead of Windows 8 being released. Windows 8 has been hailed by some as the killer for the iPad, the more popular Windows platform but designed for touch based interfaces and leveraging Microsoft's successful Xbox system. We will have to wait until the end of the year to better understand the price point and impact. What does this mean for insurers? Well WWDC will give the world a couple of months notice of changes coming to the Apple products. Perhaps more importantly however, it is the sign that things are not slowing down. No sooner are insurers starting to comtemplate Windows 7 than 8 is out, and actually Windows 8 is targetting an entirely different platform (ARM chips and touch interfaces). Staff and customers alike will want to interact with insurance companies in the easiest, nearest method available and by this time next year that might be by speaking to the television after an advert for the insurance product has appeared - whether it's Samsung SmartTV's, GoogleTV, AppleTV, Zeebox, Shazam, Xbox, Kinect and Microsoft Glass - or something entirely different. The pace of change isn't slowing and more worryingly for insurers, the pace of adoption is increasing, even in these austere times. How are you preparing your core systems for these new technologies, rolling out staff enabling software and structuring your self-service channels to accommodate these shifts? For most insurers it will be a case of wait and see what works. For the technology vendors supporting insurers research and development is likely already underway and new lines of research may commence later today.