Apple, Inc's WWDC is all about the D: Developers

Posted:
in macOS edited June 2014
Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference is the longest running developer confab in existence, dating back to 1986. With a lineage like that, it shouldn't be hard to recall that the week-long event is focused squarely on the company's development platforms.

WWDC 2014 banners

Developers, Developers, Developers

Initially, Apple's WWDC was an outreach program intended to help third party coders tackle low level tasks on the then-new 512K Macintosh. As developer Andrew Wulf recalled, the small event was held at the Fairmont Hotel.

When Apple invited all of its attending developers on a "casino night" San Francisco Bay cruise, Wulf noted that "many of us joked that all IBM had to do was sink the boat and the Mac was doomed."

Wulf added, "It was a pretty exciting time to be a Mac developer since the market was so small and the future seemed limitless," a perspective that shifted during the early 1990s as Microsoft's Windows grew into prominence and Apple began failing to deliver upon its initiatives, from Copland to QuickDraw GX.

By 1996, WWDC had become "Apple's annual attempt to lie to developers," but that rapidly began to change after the return of Steve Jobs, who aggressively canceled a wide series of vaporware and stalled projects and retargeted Apple upon delivering a practical, working platform for developers to add value to with their software.

WWDC Moscone Center West

WWDC for Mac, iOS developers: "Write the code. Change the World"

Up until 2006, Apple's annual WWDC was all about the Mac. Beginning in 1997, the event began to increasingly focus on the company's emerging OS X platform, built upon the foundation of Jobs' NeXT. That transition required lots of work at Apple, but also buy-in from Apple's third party developers, who all needed to rewrite their apps to take advantage of the new platform.

Developers initially asked Apple to do more work to support old Mac code ("Carbon") on the new system first, which resulted in delays that kept the Classic Mac OS alive until 2002 and kept Apple from even shipping a consumer version of OS X for developers to directly target until 2001. Over the next five years, the company rapidly released a series of major updates, notably unveiling a new migration to Intel processors (from PowerPC) in 2005.

In 2007, the Mac gained a costar with "iPhone OS X," later named iOS. However, the ability to natively code iPhone apps didn't begin until 2008. Apple's new mobile iOS was so closely related to the desktop OS X that both platforms use the same development tools and involve many of the same technologies, making it easy for OS X and iOS to share the same stages for the week long event.

With the 2010 introduction of iPad, Apple rapidly began taking over new markets in the enterprise, where 93 percent of new corporate apps target iOS. The halo of iPad and iPhone app development has also reinvigorated Mac app development, particularly in pro apps that target the new GPU centric architecture of the Mac Pro, a subject first introduced at last year's WWDC, before the Mac Pro had even been officially introduced.

This year's WWDC therefore has a fitting theme: "Write the code, Change the world."

WWDC 2014 banners

iCloud at WWDC

In 2011, Jobs outlined a new umbrella of cloud services branded as iCloud. Rather than just simple cloud storage, Apple strived to build a new app-centric iCloud capable of supporting a new incremental changes architecture in OS X which saved every step users took, allowing them to automatically save documents the same way they worked on them, with the ability to undo each action taken.

The new Versions architecture was built into OS X and integrated with Time Machine, and eventually flourished into a cross platform iCloud document system designed to allow apps on both the Mac and iOS devices to both open and work on the same documents. Apple pioneered a demonstration of how to do this in its own iWork apps: Pages, Numbers and Keynote.



In 2012, Apple again made iCloud an equal costar with iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion with a new focus on Documents in the Cloud.

Last year, Apple acknowledged that third party developers were running into a variety of problems in using Documents in the Cloud, and announced that rather than trying to add new features, it had instead focused upon fixing bugs. This year, Apple will again have lots to say about iCloud.

WWDC still about developers, not product releases

WWDC kicks off with a Keynote Address open to the general media (and since last year, streamed to the public). However, the rest of the week-long program is kept a secret shared only with developers who have signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

In part, this seems to allow Apple to let down its guard, enabling the company's 1,000 engineers that it sends to the event to speak frankly and rather openly with the 5,000 outside developers who attend, without worrying about how every word that's said might be construed and twisted by journalists who don't really understand what's going on--or even worse, the vitriolic, scathing critics from certain online blogs who work so hard to construct delusional fantasies of Apple's impending collapse from every crumble of grumble they can find.

In past years, Apple has announced hardware releases, including the Retina Display iPhone 4 back in 2010. That occured the year Apple pulled out of Macworld Expo.

Since then, however, Apple has optimized its product launches to occur during peak sales seasons. For both iPhone and iPad, that has been the fall, right when both products are poised to take advantage of the holiday season in the West, followed by Chinese New Year in the East. iMacs follow the same release schedule, while other Macs have been released throughout the year, sometimes at WWDC.

WWDC ends Apple's annual "quiet period"

In between the winter holidays and WWDC are a span of months that have become Apple's "quiet period," when competitors have a window to release their own products. The general media hasn't quite figured this out yet, as they continue to foment irritated rage over why Apple hasn't entertained them with new products releases, all without any real awareness that the sum total of all of Apple's global competitors haven't really introduced anything interesting over the first half of the year either.

In 2009, Palm launched its webOS during Apple's quiet period, and the following year Google and Verizon launched their "Droid" Android 2.0 initiative, both of which collapsed. In 2011, Google again took advantage of Apple's quiet period to launch Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets, which again failed at launch.

In 2012, so many companies launched products during the quiet period--the one time of the year that Apple doesn't capitalize upon--that nobody's introductions really stood out at all.

Last year, Samsung's multi-billion dollar ad campaign allowed it to overshadow everyone else with the Broadway themed extravaganza that introduced the Galaxy S4, but in the end the media eventually came to the realization that all Samsung had to show were a series of app-like features that didn't even work well. There was no real platform, and little for developers to work with.

There most certainly wasn't a week long event targeting what has become the world's most important mobile development platform. Even Samsung's own attempt to copy WWDC has fallen flat, because the primary technology Samsung wants developers and enterprise users to take advantage of (Knox security) isn't being used by business customers, despite the company's efforts to "lead by following."

This year, Apple will be live streaming its WWDC Keynote on the web and via Apple TV, breaking its quiet period in a particularly loud fashion.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    We're not gonna get some fat, sweaty guy running around yelling, "developers, developers, Developers, Developers, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS" ad nauseum, are we?
  • Reply 2 of 57
    I totally agree that WWDC should be all about developers. But, I also think it may be time to create 2 annual events. The first should be a rebranded WWDC, called ADC (Apple Developers Conference), since the internet made everything World Wide anyway, and it really should be Apple branded. The second should be ACC (Apple Consumer Conference) and should focus on products.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,363member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by UnisZuurmond View Post



    I totally agree that WWDC should be all about developers. But, I also think it may be time to create 2 annual events. The first should be a rebranded WWDC, called ADC (Apple Developers Conference), since the internet made everything World Wide anyway, and it really should be Apple branded. The second should be ACC (Apple Consumer Conference) and should focus on products.

     

    Apple explained why it pulled out of trade shows: they're a lot of work, a big distraction for lots of employees, and involve coordination with all the third party vendors. For Apple, it makes a lot more sense to have multiple "Events" it can hold anytime, with little notice, and then ship the products right to its 400 stores where buyers can get more personal information and support and hands-on time with them.

     

    Seems the era of big consumer shows is dead, for the reason you note: the Internet. Same reason we don't have thick monthly magazines. Who wants to fly to a city and pay $300 a night at a hotel just to see the latest products, now that Apple has a retail chain where you can see them pretty close to your own home?

  • Reply 4 of 57
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    It might be a developer conference but with Apple no longer participating in Macworld and going such long periods without new product announcements the WWDC keynote is almost as much for the general public and press as it is for developers. And actually the State of the Union event after the keynote is probably more important for developers. This year for the first time Apple is streaming that live for developers via the WWDC app.
  • Reply 5 of 57
    red oakred oak Posts: 668member

    I understand and appreciate Apple taking its time to get things right.  But having an 9 month annual quite period and then just releasing an updated version of the iPhone and iPad is not a middle or long term sustainable strategy.   Apple had the whole technology industry back-peddling and in disbelief four years ago.  Not so today.  Everything seems to take extending periods of time, sometimes over the course of years

     

    With the assets Apple has had  (iOS including latest version take rate, iPhone US mkt share, demographics) I frankly thought the company would be further ahead in their product and service plans by now  

  • Reply 6 of 57
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    WWDC is all about the D


  • Reply 7 of 57
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    It might be a developer conference but with Apple no longer participating in Macworld and going such long periods without new product announcements the WWDC keynote is almost as much for the general public and press as it is for developers. And actually the State of the Union event after the keynote is probably more important for developers. This year for the first time Apple is streaming that live for developers via the WWDC app.

    State of the Union is more enjoyable than the keynote for me. It goes in to more technical detail but not too much.

  • Reply 8 of 57
    telesetelese Posts: 1member
    I am also all about the D.
  • Reply 9 of 57
    Apple explained why it pulled out of trade shows: they're a lot of work, a big distraction for lots of employees, and involve coordination with all the third party vendors. For Apple, it makes a lot more sense to have multiple "Events" it can hold anytime, with little notice, and then ship the products right to its 400 stores where buyers can get more personal information and support and hands-on time with them.

    Seems the era of big consumer shows is dead, for the reason you note: the Internet. Same reason we don't have thick monthly magazines. Who wants to fly to a city and pay $300 a night at a hotel just to see the latest products, now that Apple has a retail chain where you can see them pretty close to your own home?

    Very valid point. Maybe what we need is just more Apple Special Events!
  • Reply 10 of 57
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    CONFIRMED:

    DED reads the comment section.
  • Reply 11 of 57
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

     

     

    Apple explained why it pulled out of trade shows: they're a lot of work, a big distraction for lots of employees, and involve coordination with all the third party vendors. For Apple, it makes a lot more sense to have multiple "Events" it can hold anytime, with little notice, and then ship the products right to its 400 stores where buyers can get more personal information and support and hands-on time with them.

     

    Seems the era of big consumer shows is dead, for the reason you note: the Internet. Same reason we don't have thick monthly magazines. Who wants to fly to a city and pay $300 a night at a hotel just to see the latest products, now that Apple has a retail chain where you can see them pretty close to your own home?


     

    I think that another reason why Apple pulled out of Macworld for good is because Apple itself was never in charge of Macworld, and I remember one year when Apple wanted Macworld to be in New York City, but the organizers strangely and stupidly wanted it to be held in Boston, so Apple basically said screw it, and they never attended. I don't think that it was long after that Apple decided to pull out of Macworld completely, and they never participated again.

  • Reply 12 of 57
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member

    As for this year's WWDC, it's obviously a developers conference, but I also think that it's more than that, especially since Apple doesn't do the trade shows anymore.

     

    This years WWDC is advertised on the front page of Apple.com, and they are also live streaming it. I think that the keynote is not just geared towards developers, because most of the people tuning in will not be developers.

     

    I am expecting some sort of hardware announcements, especially with Cue's comment about this being the best product line in 25 years.

  • Reply 13 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

     

    I understand and appreciate Apple taking its time to get things right.  But having an 9 month annual quite period and then just releasing an updated version of the iPhone and iPad is not a middle or long term sustainable strategy.   Apple had the whole technology industry back-peddling and in disbelief four years ago.  Not so today.  Everything seems to take extending periods of time, sometimes over the course of years

     

    With the assets Apple has had  (iOS including latest version take rate, iPhone US mkt share, demographics) I frankly thought the company would be further ahead in their product and service plans by now  


     

    What you're saying about thinking the company would be further ahead makes sense.  It's very hard for those of us outside the company to understand appreciate what enormous accomplishments they make inside the company.  Enormous accomplishments that take time.  I am super pleased that Apple doesn't release products prematurely.  Sometimes the market seems like impatient six year old who haven't learned how to wait.  

     

    As far as sustainable strategy, with due respect, I think your mistaken.  I think the folks in Cupertino understand their business better than we do.  Eddie Cue recently shared how Steve Jobs built a company with a 100-year time frame.  This is how Apple is behaving today.  It's fantastic that they're not rushing things today.

  • Reply 14 of 57
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    "how every word that's said might be construed and twisted by journalists who don't really understand what's going on—or even worse, the vitriolic, scathing critics from certain online blogs who work so hard to construct delusional fantasies of Apple's impending collapse from every crumble of grumble they can find."

     

    Ha!  Now we're getting down to the real nitty-gritty.  <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

     

    Amen.

  • Reply 15 of 57
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post



    We're not gonna get some fat, sweaty guy running around yelling, "developers, developers, Developers, Developers, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS" ad nauseum, are we?

    Quick Fact:

    There was a time when, if you googled "monkey boy", the Balmer video was the top return for your search.

    (sadly) that is no longer the case.

    That video still makes me rotf.

  • Reply 16 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,826member
    I totally agree that WWDC should be all about developers. But, I also think it may be time to create 2 annual events. The first should be a rebranded WWDC, called ADC (Apple Developers Conference), since the internet made everything World Wide anyway, and it really should be Apple branded. The second should be ACC (Apple Consumer Conference) and should focus on products.

    Why would they do this? Any new products will debut at WWDC or later which clues in the consumer. If the consumer needs more detail they have the net and the Apple stores.

    About the only thing I see Apple needing to do is to expand developer outreach. It is rather pathetic that these shows actually sell out so fast. Not for Apple obviously but for all the developers that can't attend. Apple has addressed this somewhat but they need to go further and support a wide road show. Sort of like technology boot camps where developers across the globe can update themselves in their local cities.
  • Reply 17 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,826member
    apple ][ wrote: »
    I think that another reason why Apple pulled out of Macworld for good is because Apple itself was never in charge of Macworld, and I remember one year when Apple wanted Macworld to be in New York City, but the organizers strangely and stupidly wanted it to be held in Boston, so Apple basically said screw it, and they never attended. I don't think that it was long after that Apple decided to pull out of Macworld completely, and they never participated again.

    See I find this strange also because if you after after technologist Boston seems like the smart place to be. New York City is rather a dump of marketing people. It would have seemed to have been in Apples best interest to go to Boston.

    Given that I'd rather see an event held in Las Vegas, that way everybody can work in a vacation and everyone ends up happy????????????????.
  • Reply 18 of 57
    From my viewpoint as a customer, I buy a new iPhone and iPad no sooner than every two years and a new desktop no sooner than every three years. An annual big event along with a smaller event or two is plenty for me. I use my devices and am not rabidly following every trace of news on a daily basis. Our Apple TV is the only thing I'm actively interested in upgrading if there is something worth upgrading to coming up. Any other new category might or might not interest me.

    Tomorrow, WWDC Day, is my high holy day. There will be pizza and a 2-liter bottle of pop for the show. There will either be something to save up for or there won't, but it is always fun to watch how they are going to improve what I already have.
  • Reply 19 of 57
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Since then, however, Apple has optimized its product launches to occur during peak sales seasons. For both iPhone and iPad, that has been the fall, right when both products are poised to take advantage of the holiday season in the West, followed by Chinese New Year in the East.

    How exactly does Apple take advantage of the Chinese New Year? Traditionally the only gift giving is money in red envelopes. Perhaps people go out and buy iDevices with their extra cash. Is there some sales data that can be referenced to show that technology gadgets in general experience increased sales at this time of year? If Apple releases new products in Sept-Oct, of course sales will be greater worldwide following the release. I'm not sure Chinese New Year has a direct connection.

  • Reply 20 of 57
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    See I find this strange also because if you after after technologist Boston seems like the smart place to be. New York City is rather a dump of marketing people. It would have seemed to have been in Apples best interest to go to Boston.

     

     

    Macworld was growing every year and they needed a convention center that would be big enough. Cost was a factor in moving it back to Boston, because New York was more expensive. I'm obviously biased, since I'm from New York, but Apple agreed with me, because they didn't want it in Boston either.

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