Why Apple's 'Swift' Programming Language Could Be More Important Than New Hardware

Apple  held its Worldwide Developers Conference last week and while lots of software announcements were made nothing was said about new hardware. 

The news that iOS 8 was coming for iPhones and tablets and the launch of OS Yosemite for Macs got a lot of media attention in the technology world, but the lack of a new "i" product left the mainstream press underwhelmed. Host Jason Hellmann raised the possibility that nothing Apple does matters unless it's announcing a major change to its iPhones, iPads, or, better yet, a new product line, on this episode of Business Take: the show that gives you the Foolish perspective on the most important business stories of the week.

"It's got to be something truly new," panelist Daniel Kline responded. "I wrote about the fact [here] that very quietly they released something amazing. You're going to have the ability to answer your phone on your computer or your iPad, which is really cool, and nobody cared. Unless they announce a watch or a TV or headband that can tell you when you're going to have a heart attack, I don't think any of this matters."

Apple usually makes hardware announcements in early fall, but for the last few years the company has failed to deliver a new product. Instead the tech giant has offered incremental changes to existing devices. This has kept the business moving forward but has largely failed to ignite the kind of Apple-mania that began with the ascent of the iPod and continued through the early iPhones and the launch of iPad.

"My mom needs there to be a new i-something [to get her interested] and while they say the pipeline is deep, you don't hear anything," Kline said.

Panelist Jake Mann had an entirely different take on Apple's future, noting that while product launches get all the media type he believed the biggest move at WWDC was the introduction of Swift -- a programming language that should make it easier for developers to create apps for iPhones and iPads.

"That could potentially improve Apple's lead in some markets," Mann said.

The new programming language takes on even more importance as Apple loses tablet and smartphone market share. While developers tend to make more developing apps for sale in the Apple ecosystem, increasing numbers of Android users may change that. That makes Swift -- and anything else Apple does to entice developers -- especially important.

"I wish the market or the media would pay attention to some of the developments Apple is working on besides hardware," Mann said. "Swift isn't sexy but that could potentially have a bigger effect on the future of the company."

How do you feel about Apple's lack of a shiny new i-something? Watch the video for the whole story and then share your thoughts and comments in the section below.

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The article Why Apple's 'Swift' Programming Language Could Be More Important Than New Hardware originally appeared on Fool.com.

Daniel Kline is long Apple. Jake Mann has no position in any stocks mentioned. Jason Hellmann owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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