Developing Perspective

#222: WWDC 2015 First Impressions.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:03   news of new tonight with development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:08   I'm an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia. This is show number 222

00:00:13   and today is Monday, June 8th. Developing Perspective is now going to be ever longer

00:00:17   than 15 minutes. So let's get started. So I am not in Herndon, Virginia right now. I

00:00:23   am instead in the cupboard of the room I am staying in in San Francisco. Today was keynote

00:00:29   Day, the first day of WWDC. And so, if you've listened to the show for a few years, you

00:00:34   know that I often try and do a show, kind of, I guess, of first impressions, initial

00:00:39   thoughts, that type of thing, the first day of WWDC, right after the keynote, right when

00:00:44   everything's fresh, before I've had too much time to process, to talk to other people about,

00:00:48   just kind of give my initial impressions, and then I'll probably do another show later

00:00:51   in the week where I have a bit more thoughtful things to say. But it's kind of fun to just

00:00:57   right out of the gate just have some things to think about.

00:01:00   At a high level, the keynote, I'd say, went reasonably well. It had a lot of the things

00:01:09   I think we were expecting or at least hoping to expect, especially on iOS and the watch.

00:01:16   The thing with Apple Music was definitely a bit odd. It's not something that's particularly

00:01:21   my side of things and the presentation felt a bit off, just to their own standards.

00:01:27   And it might be a bit of an odd thing to say, but it didn't feel like a one more thing.

00:01:31   And I know it's easy to kind of romanticize some of these little things,

00:01:37   but ultimately they are just marketing words. Like Apple using the phrase

00:01:42   "one more thing" at the end of a keynote as a thing to introduce a new product,

00:01:46   marketing gesture, but there is something in me that, as a long time Apple supporter,

00:01:53   holds those very dear. This didn't quite hit it in terms of something that should have

00:01:58   been a one more thing, but that's kind of a whole odd thing.

00:02:02   Apple Music, I suppose it's interesting, it's not really for me, I doubt I'll sign up for

00:02:05   it or use it, it's just not the way I listen to music, but you know, it's what it is.

00:02:12   The actual interesting part for developers though, and the part that I will focus on

00:02:15   most of what I'm going to talk about on this episode, are obviously the things that are

00:02:19   going on with Mac OS, with iOS, and with WatchOS, which the capitalization and lack of space

00:02:26   is very bothering to me, but what are we going to do?

00:02:30   So first off, I guess I'll go in the order that they did in the presentation.

00:02:34   OS X has a variety of things that are changing, though it definitely looked like it was primarily

00:02:41   focused on user-facing features, improvements to maps, improvements to mail, notes, those

00:02:52   types of things. They're the types of things that aren't architectural improvements. They

00:02:57   are much more sort of high-level user-facing things. The addition of Metal for Mac is definitely

00:03:03   a great thing, and I imagine especially, and I'll mention this on iOS as well, it sounds

00:03:08   like they're moving core animation, core graphics, those types of things over to Metal,

00:03:12   which has an associated performance benefit,

00:03:16   and presumably also an energy savings benefit as well. So that's kind of cool to see.

00:03:20   But by and large, not much to see there.

00:03:24   Nothing that was like, "Wow, that's super cool and awesome," which is in some ways kind of

00:03:28   reassuring, and I suppose makes sense. This is actually kind of amusing, because the last

00:03:32   three days before the keynote, I was actually in Yosemite, just with a

00:03:36   a visit with my wife, and so it's kind of funny to be hearing them talk about it and

00:03:40   how they wanted to do it, and the answer was within. And so the new name for the next version

00:03:45   is El Capitan, which I see, saw in person a couple days ago. But it definitely feels

00:03:51   more like a leopard, snow leopard type of a situation. Rather than going to a big grand

00:03:57   name for something else, you know, it's not like it's OS-10, you know, the next version

00:04:02   is Sequoia or, I don't even know, like some other big fancy famous place in San Francisco

00:04:12   or in California. It's another, you know, a very notable thing in Yosemite, but not

00:04:18   outside of it. And so that speaks to the limited nature of it potentially, maybe is the right

00:04:25   way to say it. Then they went over and started to talk about iOS 9.

00:04:31   Again, somewhat reassuringly, they didn't seem to be doing a ton, at least not

00:04:39   of things that are going to be particularly relevant or impactful to me.

00:04:43   There's a couple of things, you know, the way the new stuff on the iPad with slide

00:04:47   over and adjustable views, which is complicated. The iPad seems to be

00:04:56   something that has a more and more focused audience and importance. It

00:05:02   does not seem to be the thing with the wide pervasive use application that we

00:05:08   may once have thought it would. And so while that's interesting to see and

00:05:11   something that I will probably have to work on adding support for, at least in

00:05:15   some of my applications, is a fairly narrow feature.

00:05:20   And by and large, it seemed like that's what iOS 9 was getting.

00:05:24   There's a bunch of user-facing features, and honestly, I expect and imagine there's a tremendous

00:05:30   amount they did under the hood that will make it better.

00:05:33   And in some ways, we'd always asked and hoped that they were going to be doing something

00:05:37   like that, that they were doing more of a snow leopard, more of a bug fix and cleanup

00:05:42   thing.

00:05:43   And that seems to be what we got.

00:05:44   There's not a huge amount of things that are coming out of that that I need to probably worry about in a lot of my apps.

00:05:50   It is always kind of fun. They introduced a news app, which if someone who makes a news service is always kind of funny.

00:05:56   I wouldn't... I'm not too worried about it. I think people who subscribe to RSS are probably not going to be able to find exactly what they want from something like news app.

00:06:06   But if I was flipboard, I would be a little bit nervous right about now.

00:06:10   I'm trying to think of other things. Swift has got a whole lot of love. I have still

00:06:17   yet to write a single line of Swift in any of my applications, and so that is interesting

00:06:23   to me in so far as I think we are heading towards the point where I will probably start

00:06:28   to have to look at it more seriously. It is always difficult for me though because I have

00:06:34   such productivity in Objective-C. It's something that I know so well that finding the right

00:06:39   opportunity and time to get over the hump of learning it and being competent and skilled

00:06:44   and proficient with it is going to be awkward to find.

00:06:48   My suspicion is probably towards winter of this, you know, winter 2015 to 2016 is probably

00:06:55   when I'll first pick up Swift.

00:06:57   When things die down after the iOS 9 launch, watchOS 2 launch, etc., you know, sort of

00:07:03   towards the holidays will probably be the time that I'll start to look at it.

00:07:06   it's pretty cool that they open sourced it, especially because that probably will

00:07:12   mean that it is a more universally useful language to know,

00:07:16   which obviously is I'm sure Apple's point, but it is kind of cool that they

00:07:20   are doing that and so it makes it feel like they are really long-term committed

00:07:25   to it in a way that if it was just something that only they used and they're

00:07:29   the only person who is involved in it, it is certainly a lot less compelling.

00:07:35   Alright, and then, watchOS. I'm very excited about it.

00:07:41   It seems, and this is just from what they said, and poking around a little bit on the developer portal,

00:07:46   that we got pretty much everything we want.

00:07:50   We can access pretty much everything you could want to access on the watch.

00:07:56   The kind of things and applications that I've already built, or things that I want to build,

00:08:00   I didn't think of anything from what they were showing there that wouldn't be possible.

00:08:06   And so I'm pretty psyched by that.

00:08:09   We can do play audio, interact with the Digital Crown, do core graphics, core data, access

00:08:14   the Taptic Engine, core location, animation, contacts, health kit, just it goes on and

00:08:20   on.

00:08:21   There's anything that you can kind of imagine on, like it is truly a small iPhone in many

00:08:25   ways now in terms of the capability of the things you can do.

00:08:28   Obviously there are limitations and performance problems and power constraints and other things, but functionally

00:08:33   you know, most any app that you could imagine and build for the iPhone you could now probably build for the watch.

00:08:38   And so that was pretty exciting for me to see as someone who is pretty

00:08:42   pretty bullish on the watch itself and really enjoys it as something to do.

00:08:47   I will say I'm a little nervous that probably this afternoon I will be installing WatchOS 2 Beta 1 onto my watch,

00:08:55   Which is always going to be a pretty exciting thing.

00:08:58   And I may need to actually do iOS 9 Beta 1 on my main phone probably too, so that the two can talk to each other.

00:09:06   Maybe I won't do it today. Maybe I'll do it later in the week, but

00:09:09   that's gonna happen. And it's kind of crazy because it speaks to the role that the watch now plays in my life

00:09:16   where the thought of having it, you know, brick itself will be really crashy or unstable or those types of things is

00:09:22   actually something kind of serious and something that I would be kind of annoyed and frustrated by and so it's pretty cool to see you know

00:09:28   just be able to have make that observation but

00:09:30   in general, I think it's pretty cool.

00:09:33   I am probably most excited about being able to do complications on the watch. The way that I use the watch

00:09:39   I think that will be the part that is by far the most useful and important to me to be able to

00:09:44   surface useful information to somebody in a very compact, concise, clear way

00:09:52   that they don't have to go and look for.

00:09:54   Because the thing that I like with complications on the watch

00:09:57   for my own usage is more often than not,

00:09:59   I don't want to have to go and launch an app and wait for it.

00:10:02   Obviously, this is exacerbated because launching an app is so painful now.

00:10:06   But I like being able to see data,

00:10:08   like for me to be able to push pedometer++ data up onto there

00:10:12   or to potentially show unread counts in feed wrangler or those types of things.

00:10:17   There are some really cool things that you can imagine having a complication for.

00:10:21   and for the user to then be able to very easily customize and control what they see there is pretty cool.

00:10:27   And then I just have a whole bunch of ideas of

00:10:29   improvements I can make to my current apps and a whole host of apps that I think are now possible on the watch and are

00:10:36   interesting to make.

00:10:37   Things that I'll no doubt talk about on the show in the weeks to come, but in the meantime

00:10:43   it's pretty cool, and I'm really glad they're doing it.

00:10:45   The timing is a bit funny obviously that watchcade will probably only live for about six months as a useful technology.

00:10:50   before we get any native apps, but I certainly don't want them to hold off and slow down

00:10:56   just for slowing down sake. I would rather just full speed ahead, we can dive in and

00:11:01   this fall hopefully, you know, a lot of users, I imagine the upgrade rate with users from

00:11:08   watchOS 1 to watchOS 2 will be pretty quick, both because not that many phones or watches

00:11:13   are actually out in the world at this point, and I imagine this will be the first holiday

00:11:17   season that the watch existed for, which will probably be pretty big for it, and also just

00:11:22   the ability for the user-facing improvements that the native apps will be is probably pretty

00:11:27   significant.

00:11:28   That's sort of my high-level thoughts for this WWDC.

00:11:32   It's pretty good.

00:11:33   I'm excited.

00:11:34   It's fun.

00:11:35   I think this is my seventh WWDC, and sometimes I worry that one year I will go and it will

00:11:39   be kind of, feel boring or just not have that same energy and excitement, but it's still

00:11:46   like, you know, waiting for the keynote to start, waiting in line with friends, and

00:11:50   meeting people. I've met a couple of Developing Perspective listeners so far,

00:11:53   and that is just, it blows my mind every year. And so it's super, super exciting to

00:11:57   be there, and I think it's going to be a great week. That's it for today's show. As

00:12:02   always, questions, comments, concerns, complaints, you can find me at

00:12:05   _DavidSmith on Twitter or David@DevelopingPerspective.com. If you're in town

00:12:10   this week, definitely look out for me. I'm currently wearing one of my

00:12:13   my Developing Perspective shirts, I'll probably be wearing those during sessions all week

00:12:18   to try and make it a little easier to find me. So if you see me, by all means stop by.

00:12:21   I love to say hi. Depending on what I'm running between, maybe a short hello, but I love doing

00:12:28   it and it is always an honor to hear that people like the show. So thank you. Otherwise,

00:12:35   have a good week and I will talk to you later. Happy coding. Bye.

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