Apple WWDC: What tech industry execs are saying

June 3, 2014, 2:02 AM UTC


FORTUNE — Apple’s developer’s conference on Monday was heavy on software tool announcements and silent on new hardware products, but the tech industry still appeared pretty pleased. We reached out to several entrepreneurs for their thoughts about the upgrades and additions to Apple’s (AAPL) product line.

Matt MacInnis, CEO, Inkling: 

MacInnis spent over the six years working at Apple, largely on education efforts, before striking out with his own startup, Inkling, a digital textbook publishing platform for the iPhone, iPad and Web. “The more you use a Mac, the more likely you are to use a phone. The more you use a phone, the more likely you are to use an iPad.” This week’s slew of software tools should make it easier for developers to create products that strengthen and tighten Apple’s ecosystem even further.

Jason Jacobs, CEO, RunKeeper: 

With over 30 million people using Runkeeper to track runs, hikes and bike rides, Jacobs was understandably jazzed about Apple’s announcement of HealthKit, a visual hub for the iPhone that displays all your cardiovascular activity in one place. “There needed to be a central repository in a holistic way,” Jacobs explains. “We’re glad that someone like Apple [offered] that.”

Sam Shank, CEO, Hotel Tonight: 

Shank’s app, Hotel Tonight, serves up unsold hotel rooms at discounted prices the day or week of. So when Apple unveiled a more advanced notification system that includes features like users being able to respond directly to an alert without having to open the app it came from, he saw new possibilities in the way users could potentially interact with his app. (“We have a number of ideas,” he said.) Shank was also impressed with Swift, a new programming language Apple promises will make programming for its devices faster and easier. “Apple pulled a rabbit out a hat with Swift, Shank said. “It was something that no one was expecting. They made a complete secret and that made a lot of people happy.”

Aaron Levie, CEO, Box: 

Levie, who runs the file-storage service Box, echoed Shank’s surprise. “There were so many new services that people didn’t have early insight into, and there were a lot of sort of suspenseful moments where you didn’t know what the feature was going to be and how it was going to work,” Levie said. He pointed to all the tweaks to iMessage or the unveiling of iCloud Drive, a cloud storage system that allows access to third-party storage services like Dropbox and Box. “That product is going to be competitive,” Levie said.