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This week Apple has their yearly World Wide Developer’s Conference, where we will typically see updates to Apple’s iOS and Mac OS products and perhaps more importantly for us as developers, to their developer tools. This year Ivo, Felix, Erik and myself are visiting the conference.
What can we expect this year?
As usual there are rumours; this year they are ranging from Apple renaming ‘OS X’ to ‘macOS’ to announcements about the Apple Car. The latter is unlikely, we’ve been hearing rumours about this for a long while now and it’s probably coming, but Apple is unlikely to announce such a big product at a WWDC conference, and would typically create a separate event for something so big.
More likely are the following:
- Opening up Siri to developers. This is interesting because it might allow us to integrate many of our apps with simple commands. (For example saying ‘What’s happening with SpaceX’ could open one of our news apps and search for recent SpaceX news). Since Google recently announced their voice assistant similar to Amazon’s Echo, it would make sense to open up Siri now. Whether we’ll also see a device similar to echo? Possible, but I doubt it since Apple already has Siri on most devices inluding the Apple Watch and Apple TV.
- Speaking of Apple TV, we’ll likely see some updates to tvOS, the Apple TV app store and perhaps finally a roll out of Apple TV’s Siri to more countries / languages.
- iOS, OS X (or will it be macOS?), Swift and Xcode updates.
- One important update that has already been announced ahead of WWDC is the app store. We are going to see subscription pricing for apps (not just for in app purchases), improved discovery and the app review process has been overhauled significantly (we’ve already seen this in practice: our latest submits have been done in 1–2 days as opposed to the more usual 5–7 days of before; Apple has confirmed this is not a concidence but a systemic improvement to their processes).
- At Appdevcon we had a few sessions about multi platform Swift. Although Apple doesn’t often mention other platforms, there are rumours that they’ll say something about what’s happening with Swift on Android (and related: there’s a rumour that iMessage will be announced for Android).
Why do we attend WWDC?
Since Apple now makes most videos available almost immediately, what’s the point of traveling to San Francisco for the conference? Well there are multiple reasons why we still send an Egeniq delegation every year. For one, WWDC is more than just the sessions. Almost as valuable is the ability to talk directly to the Apple engineers that have worked on particular features. We tend to visit a couple of the Labs and/or talk to the App Review team to clarify things that we’ve struggled with or that we ran into while building our apps.
In the past this has helped us get apps past app review more smoothly, it has helped us interpret the review guidelines more accurately, and it has helped us to more efficiently implement certain features. It’s one thing to read the docs about a certain kit, it’s a wholly different thing to be able to to talk to the Apple developer that created the kit and hear why they do things in a certain way. Helps us understand the internals that much more.
Another reason why we go is that it’s the event for developers on the Apple platform. We have a chance to meet other developers, discuss things with them, perhaps convince one or two to join our team. There are many independent meetups and parties around the conference that are worth attending, in the past we’ve had many interesting conversations with people there.
And last but not least, it’s always a fun week hanging out with colleagues. It’s a chance to get inspired, to dream up new plans for apps together, to reflect, to discuss and to generally have a great time.
Let’s hope this year’s WWDC will again live up to its expectations. If you’re going have fun! If you’re not going, be sure to watch some of the video’s via the WWDC app!