Posts Tagged ‘iOS’

Reflections on WWDC14

July 4, 2014

Last month I attended Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) from 2 June to 6 June 2014.  I had wanted to attend the previous 2 WWDCs, but was unable to get a ticket due to near instant sellouts. This year WWDC tickets were via ballot amongst Apple Developers and I was lucky to be selected.  It was a bit over 2 years ago at QSR International that I started to become familiar with Mac OS X as we started developing NVivo for Mac, coincidentally we publicly released NVivo for Mac on 5 June 2014. Before this, the majority of my commercial software development was with Microsoft Windows applications.


The keynote was introduced by Tim Cook (CEO) and focused on 3 major topics – OS X Yosemite, iOS 8, and improved developer support.

Craig Federighi (SVP of Software Engineering) introduced OS X Yosemite (10.10). This brought a refreshed interface with a cleaner design which was likely influenced by iOS. It changed the typography, refreshed icons, introduced a dark user interface mode, and translucent views.  Spotlight, the desktop search feature was broadened to include search results from the Internet. Continuity was announced which provides seamless transition between devices, including the ability to take phone calls from your Mac.

iOS 8 brought many usability improvements such as improved email app and interactive notifications, whilst also providing the corresponding Spotlight and Continuity changes. Health app which compiles and presents your health data from HealthKit which is open to other apps and institutions via controlled access. New photos app which improves photo editing and integration with iCloud. A new capability called Family Sharing enables sharing of photos, calendars and purchases from iTunes with up to six people.  Interestingly, the day before I flew to San Francisco, my son asked me if he could have his own iTunes account. I had said ‘no – I am not buying the same App several times, once for my iPad, once for your iPad, and once for your sister’s iPad’. Now with Family Sharing they can have their own account and ask permission for Apps they want to purchase from their device and I receive a notification to approve on my device.

It was pleasing to see the amount of investment that Apple was putting into improving support for developers. Xcode gained a new programming language called Swift which is like Objective-C without the problems of C. This will improve developer productivity and will make it easier for new developers to start developing on the Apple platform.  This reminded me of when Microsoft released C# without the problems of C++.  Xcode gained many necessary IDE improvements and new SDKs were introduced which open up exciting new possibilities – HealthKit (health data), Home Kit (home automation), Cloud Kit (cloud logic), and many gaming improvements. I predict that Apple will launch some new products later this year that will take advantage of these capabilities. A revamped App Store will provide app previews, app bundling, beta test support, and better analytics for developers on user purchases and usage.

It was great to have the opportunity to speak with Apple designers and engineers directly, including the ability to demonstrate your application and get feedback.

Having attended Microsoft Professional Developer Conferences in the past, it was interesting to contrast the differences, and it simplistically boils down to differences in culture which influences different priorities and delivers different products. Neither is better or worse, just different, and different is great!