A few weeks ago, I was talking to friend about the Stopwatch I had written in Sprite Kit. At the time I had the stopwatch working to tenths of a second. While I was discussing this stopwatch on social media, a friend of mine bragged that their stopwatch app they downloaded somewhere goes to hundredths of a second. My response was something like
secondsLabelNode.Text = [NSString stringWithFormat:@"%f6.2",seconds]; Now it does.
Some reading this will find that funny. Some will get what I did. Many people will have no idea what I responded, my friend included. I knew all too well my friend would not get that I changed my app to include an extra decimal point.
I thought of that yesterday while watching the live feed of the Apple World Wide Developer’s Conference 2014 keynote. I was watching the jaws drop at times and cheering at others of many a developer in Moscone Center listening to what Apple is up to. The applause got rowdy at Swift’s multiple return values. Craig Federighi quipped from the stage at the applause.
You know how many people at home are going ‘what the heck are these guys talking about?’
I thought of it more when reading the media coverage both before and after the keynote. Every year, much of the media hypes this as the event where Apple will announce the new consumer products. Every June the media, bitter they got nothing they expected, complains Apple must be failing because they didn’t introduce the iWatch or the iPad matter-energy transporter.
There were many very important things said at the WWDC 2014 keynote. Swift, Metal, Scene Kit, fingerprint ID, extensions, ridiculously cheap server-side applications, even Handoff got minimal coverage in the press I read, though they will change the way every developer in that audience works and makes their living. Most people don’t get it.
If you don’t get it, you didn’t belong there. WWDC is not the Consumer Electronics Show, meant to show the best new shiny gadgets consumers can buy. Apple’s ecosystem works differently than that. Software and hardware work together. Selling hardware that has no software is futile. Apple designates a week six months before introducing the wiz bang hardware in October. They get all of their developers ready and building apps for the release date of the new operating system that goes along with that hardware. This might tantalize the consumer, but the real value is what happens on Tuesday through Friday, when those under Apple’s non disclosure agreement learn details to produce apps for October release.
WWDC, in its 25th year celebrates and motivates the people who make Apple insanely great and don’t even work for Apple. It celebrates OSX and iOS developers. It introduces the tools that make working in Xcode so much of a better experience that any other development platform. Last year, the introduction of Sprite Kit made it clear Apple believes its future is with its developers, and ensuring they develop everything as an Apple product first — and possibly last.
June is for developers, October is for consumers.