WWDC Wrap Up - Friday

Well, the WWDC is almost over.  Actually, for me, it ended yesterday afternoon.  I skipped all of the sessions today in favor of staying up very late last night doing real work.  I checked out of my hotel at noon and took a taxi to the airport and am now shacking up in the Red Carpet Club again, waiting for my flight at 6:30pm.

Again, I will throw out a little endorsement of the Red Carpet Club experience.  This one is even better than the Chicago one.  The food court is right outside if you need sustenance.  They give you a TMobile WiFi day pass for free WiFi while in the Club.  And I have electricity, a plush leather seat overlooking the runway, peace and quiet, clean restrooms, and lots of free, cold beverages.  All for $50.  Can’t beat it.

Anyway, the WWDC…it was a very interesting experience but not really what I expected.  I didn’t learn a whole lot.  I suppose if you are a total iPhone n00b and didn’t spend any time with the SDK over the last three months, then you probably saw a lot of amazing stuff and learned a lot at the WWDC.  However, if you are a hard core iPhone developer like me, developing through SEVEN beta releases of the SDK with their various changes, and touching on every major component, then you didn’t find a lot that was new to you at the WWDC.

I was glad to have attended the session on the App Store.  I am now set up in the App Store with my company info, tax info, and just have to associate a bank account to receive payments from Apple.  Oh, and I need to upload my applications, but Apple has not flipped the switch on uploads yet and I don’t expect they will until the week or so before the iPhone 3G release.

It was great to chat with Apple engineers about my memory leaks.  They are all cleared up and I learned some valuable lessons that I can use for months and years to come.  The 30 minute UI review of my iPhone application was a little less beneficial but I still got some valuable feedback that will probably lead to some UI tweaks.  I did find out that applications going to such lengths to present great UI are far and few between, which makes mine stand out a bit (all good!).

I was pleased to have been in some sessions around the graphics architecture and, in particular, Quartz Composer, which were amazing and will certainly push me in a new direction with some of my development efforts.  Quartz Composer, of course, is an existing part of Tiger and Leopard and, while getting some new power in Snow Leopard, is otherwise unchanged.

But as for actually “learning” new skills or techniques, there isn’t any of that.  The WWDC for me was basically a big demo of all of these features of Mac OS X and some directions on how to get more into the technology, should I be interested in learning more.  Which is okay, just not what I expected.

I’ll probably continue to go each year because I have a feeling that each year I will be more interested in finding out what new technologies are coming down the pipe.  There are some great changes coming in Snow Leopard, changes that in my experienced professional opinion will have dire consequences for Windows.  I have the Snow Leopard Developer Preview DVD and will definitely be installing it when I get home and starting to work with those new technologies.

I did find out that I am not the only developer that was having trouble getting accepted into the iPhone Developer Program.  Rogue Amoeba, a serious Mac software publisher, still hasn’t gotten accepted into the program, a neither have a lot of people who left comments on the post.  On the other hand, one of their developers applied as an individual and was accepted within 24 hours.  Many are complaining that the system of acceptance as a whole is broken.  I would tend to agree, particularly if some of the major players, who should have been accepted immediately, still haven’t gotten the green light.  In the end, I may never know why I got lucky and got my acceptance before the WWDC, but I suspect it had to do with having submitted a reasonably complete application to the Apple Design Awards.

I feel bad for those other developers who have not gotten accepted yet.  It means a delay of a week or two - depending on their applications - of testing, tuning, and, occasionally, recoding to get things right on the device.  And a week or two at this point can mean the difference between being in the store on Day 1 or being a late arrival.  No one knows how many people will hit the App Store right away but I can tell you that, personally, I will be visiting the App Store within hours of getting my 3G iPhone and will download every application I can find that looks interesting or useful, free or not.  So there will be something to “first-mover” initiative.

So, as I prepare to leave San Francisco, I look back on a productive week that has introduced me to some great features of Mac OS that I didn’t know about.  I look forward with excitement to the opportunities that the App Store opens up for developers like me.  I also recognize now that Apple has built up significant momentum that, for the first time in decades, mounts a serious challenge to the dominance of Windows for both business and consumer use.  The next few years should be amazing indeed.