Thoughts on the WWDC 2015 Keynote

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Apple’s 26th Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicked off yesterday with the usual keynote address, given by Tim Cook.

I remember when WWDC didn’t sell out of tickets, and when the keynote was all about developer stuff and explicitly was not a horse-and-pony show for the world at large. But with the loss of other such big venues (e.g. Macworld), WWDC evolved into a horse-and-pony show, and I don’t blame Apple for doing it because ultimately it all comes back to and does affect us developers.

So what did I think?

Honestly, not much.

But I think that’s good.

Really, the announcements of Mac OS X 11 “El Capitan” and iOS 9 doesn’t bring a lot of nifty things to the table. There’s not much there that “sells” either OS upgrade. But that’s OK, since the upgrades are free (as long as you have the hardware to support it, and remember — Apple is a hardware company). As well, this is like “Snow Leopard” was to “Leopard”, a time to take what exists and make it better. Things are getting rough with Apple, trying to have yearly cycles, and the cracks are manifesting from the pressure. So it’s wise to slow down, make what you have better, firm it up, polish things. That appears to be happening.

Sure there are some nifty features, like the multitasking on iPad is a long-requested feature. That’ll be nice to have. I actually like the expanded richness for things like Notes; seems a small thing, but it’s meaningful and the sort of refinement to expect at this point of a long-maturing product. And certainly focus on performance improvements, especially with battery life, is A Big Deal™.

watchOS of course is what excites a lot of people. I am happy to see the expanded capabilities, and my brain is already churning on how to take advantage of this integration.

One interesting bit was during a demo it was mentioned the Watch was connected by this cable… what cable? connected to where? That little port in the band slot? That little port is a mystery, and I know I’m curious what else it can do.

Of course from a developer perspective there’s a host of cool things and improvements they’ve made. I’m very high on the Swift language and the announced features for Swift 2, along with toolchain improvements, is very exciting to me. As silly as it may sound, the fact I can have rich comments (Markdown, inline images, etc.) is awesome, because plaintext isn’t always enough to adequately convey information.

All in all, I don’t think this WWDC was particularly earthshaking, but I’m good with that. Things are firming up, getting more robust, converging, improving. Early in my career someone said to me “well… who wants to be a Mac developer all their life?” Well today, with all that’s going on, who doesn’t want to be one? 🙂

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