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WWDC 2012 – Day 1 Impressions

To preempt anybody asking me … this was my second WWDC I attended. And: if you read on then I will try to sum up the overall impressions I gathered. I felt that this day way deserving of more than my previous Sherlocking post.

Though before we continue, I need to teach Mountain Lion the only word that sported a wavy red underline. Odd, given that Apple is developing a real knack that that.

My day started out by me sending my buddy Christian to the movies, under the condition that he would let me sleep for a few hours (I raked up about 2.5), and then we had a deal that he would queue right after the film at half past midnight and I would change the guard at about 4.

Or so my rough plan went. I fell asleep but got awakened by Christian getting the foldable camping chair we had procured earlier for $6.99. Either I am a light sleeper or Christian is a very loud sneaker. Further rest was effectively prevented or interrupted (I cannot recall, I was too tired to form a short term memory of that) by the next room’s TV screaming right past one or so. Multiple knocking didn’t help, so the Hotel ended up turning off the room’s electricity to shut it off and then turning it back on.

Not even watching some John Steward could lull me back into the realm of dreams, so I eventually gave up on endeavor and instead went for a hot shower and freshly brewed paper cup of coffee. So I joined Christian in line round about the 50th place at half past 3.

NSQueue

Some WWDC veterans seemed to confirm to me that the initial queue buildup was going way slower than in previous years. In 2011 I had arrived shortly after 6 and ended up a few meters from the first corner of the Moscone Center. This year we achieved the line wrap as early as 3:30. It was clear at this time that obviously nobody wanted to see the first official Cooknote.

When we where allowed into the building the queue had wrapped around exactly once leading to some jokes around the “so close and still so far” theme. Human beings are quick to ridicule the lazy. C’mon with so many students the average age surely is way below 30. You young people should be able to go without one night of sleep!

I am old and 37, so I can demand some minimum ZZZ which I got via this elaborate scheme: “Christian, go! Let me sleep!”

One big difference in enjoyment came from much milder temperatures than in 2011. I had donned an extra layer of thermo-underwear which turned out to be completely unnecessary. Time flies if you are having fun and are not freezing your respective behinds off.

Inside Job

Inside the premises it turned out to be much less of a hassle than last year as well, simply because one knew what to expect. We were wrapped round the second floor once and waited for almost an hour until we were allowed to enter the large auditorium.

Being at this great position that we had gotten left me amble time to empty my bladder. Hey, I’m an older guy, our bladders tend to shrink (don’t ask me why). I didn’t have the peace of mind though to indulge in the presented food and drinks. Who knows, maybe the fluids would find themselves a way more efficient route through my innards than usually.

Our group splintered when people started to stampede into the largest auditorium at the Mosconi Center, named after the Presidio district. But still my buddy got to sit around row 10 and me and my partner (on iCatalog) Octavio ended up around row 20, dead center. Ideal conditions to experience the chief, the Cook and the … uhm.

Cooknote

Leo Laporte kept referring to “the Summer of Tim” his eventual coming out as CEO. Those types are generally expected to be the public face of a public company and he did not disappoint.

Tim cooked us in with videos tugging at our heart strings, a clever marketing video that pointed out the enabling qualities of the some of the apps that some of us had made. No doubt Apple had forced the participating companies to sign big stacks of NDAs and media releases. The participants accepted this hurdle all too willingly: who dares to say no when the Cook rings?

Cook squezed out the proverbial tear, at times with his voice always breaking with emotional stirring. Well done, really really well done. Message worked. And Tim showed soft human tissue on top of his titanium endoskeleton.

As we had seen before Cook reserved the Prefix and the Suffix of the show for himself which several of his lieutenants playing prominent roles in the play as well. Schiller and Forestall are beloved, well-known and flawless as ever.

They even excelled at this celebrated unveiling of the new version of MacBook. Was it an Air? Was it a Pro? Was it a PrAir?

Never mind. Having full 1080p video in a FCPX preview window is uber-geeky. “Shut up and take my money”. But Apple refused. Some individuals rushed to the local Apple store and started even queueing for purchase one. Hey, if Cook says “available today” then no credit card would be safe.

But no go. Just before writing these lines I went by the Apple Store and Michael told me that they don’t actually know anything. Maybe tomorrow there would be more info. In any case the best place to order these new toys remains the online Apple Store.

We saw the new MacBooks, we saw Mountain Lion, we saw iOS 6 with lots of cool new features, as expected from a company renowned for its chronic innovativeness. Then, when Cook reenter the stage, he had his biggest line that certainly must have been on many keynote bingo cards. When he reappeared his first sentence was: “So! One more thing!” 

But the one thing more only was a gloria to the Apple employees (was that a recruitment pitch?) and a halleluya to us fabulous Developers, Developers, Developers!

Lunchtime

Apple had totally failed to provide any sort of stable WiFi connectivity. Did they have a fallout with Cisco, who – if I am not mistaken – had provided an amazing antenna array in 2011. Fully complete with colorful 3D graphics that showed the network availability.

Some monitors mentioned one network. Probably as a panic reaction to that being overwhelmed by the 3 devices the typical developer carries with him nowadays there was word of a second network dedicated to iPhones. Also no go.

What Apple (or a contractor) had messed up in terms of wireless they made good in wired. Last year the tables at the ground floor had loosely coupled Ethernet switches. This year those where well installed combined power-strips and LAN cables. Add to that an amazingly fast transparent proxy server for the multiple Gigabytes of fresh downloads and we have a winner. I think in total it took me like 5 minutes to get fresh versions of Xcode, iOS 6 for my 4S and a “nearly final” Mountain Lion as Cook put it.

Instead of queueing for the loo I went into the hotel and donated my 7-Dollar-chair to a homeless person who was sitting on a sideways bottle box or what you call that. Though I fear he didn’t quite understand what I was donating here. He seemed to appreciate it, but continued begging for change sitting on his box with my camping chair leaning next to him. Maybe I am missing something here, maybe that’s just Bum Marketing 101: do people give more if the guy sits on an uncomfortable box or on a red de-luxe camping chair?

I found it also quite relaxing to have a stack of fresh business cards in my pocket and hand these out like candy. I have a card and therefore I AM.

Afternoon

The second event was sort of the developer keynote, but I cannot divulge any details. Suffice it to say that the platform has matured sufficiently to let Apple make more and more bold inroads into established platforms and services.

I detailed some of the Sherlockings in my previous post. But in short Apple is showing that with Tim Cook at the helm all stops are being pulled out and nothing is holy any more.

The announcements there kind of underlined how ruthless I suspect that Cook can be. I don’t actually KNOW, but my brain interpolates the missing info based on the image Cook has.

The design awards where position so conveniently that we just stayed put after the developer keynote. I liked how they gave the rationale for each App Design Award winner as to what made them pick it.

Party

After having missed the Sunday party due to visiting the TWIT brick house I wanted to go to a real party. I had pre-registered several weeks before for the Spotify party. But what a let down expected me.

The only food was some Pizza, the only drinks was one beer keg, nothing to accommodate people not liking beer. And the taste of the tab water was unbearable. And when I mingled I met a company from whom I had “stolen” my first employee (Austrians too) and got preached to by a recruiter who absolutely failed to see the error in his ways.

You have to know that I belong to the group of people who thinks that good iOS developers don’t want to deal with recruiters, especially those who work for agencies. This is why I am filtering out all the obvious recruiters from my @XcodeJobs timeline. I am explaining my rationale in greater detail here.

I was dead set in seeing Mike Ash who was the main reason for my attendance. Mike was brilliant as usual, though I wonder why he chose this topic. He is working – 8 hour project so far don’t use that or if you must at your own risk – on a method to detect retain cycles during runtime.

I can understand the geeky job attached to this for Mike, but I suspect most people had zoned out after the initial presentation. What a waste. Sorry guys, what was the point again in showing off that your underlying C++ code is vomit-inducingly wrapped to appear like it was Objective-C on iOS?

Oh, and Spotify is hiring…

Wrap Up

Taking an Uber cab to get to the party and from there back to the Hotel made the whole trip way more enjoyable. I was grumpy as it is (from sleep deprivation) I didn’t want some stupid public transport worsen my bad mode.

I’m probably way too harsh. If so I apologize in advance.

There is one positive that I noticed in this here second WWDC I’m attending: knowing what to expect. Feeling like an expert attendant. Being close to the front of the queue and generally a relaxed attitude made this way more enjoyable than the previous year.

 


Categories: Apple

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