Developing Perspective

#129: WWDC 2013 First Impressions


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

00:00:04   news of note in iOS development, Apple, and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:07   an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Herne, Virginia. This is show number 129,

00:00:12   and today is Monday, June 10th, 2013. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes,

00:00:17   so let's get going. All right, so I'm coming to you, I guess, it's not quite live, but

00:00:22   certainly direct from WWDC. I just got out of the keynote this morning a few hours ago,

00:00:28   And like I did, I think last year, I'm going to do a quick episode.

00:00:30   This is kind of first impressions.

00:00:32   I try and do it right after the keynote.

00:00:34   So everything I know at this point is public information.

00:00:36   I don't have to worry about the dance I need to do later on as I kind of work through what's

00:00:40   public and what's not.

00:00:42   And so it's kind of a nice sort of opportunity to do that.

00:00:44   And so quick episodes and first impressions hopefully kind of help, you know, just kind

00:00:49   of give you some context for what I saw at the talk.

00:00:51   Hopefully you've seen the streams or the live blogs or the various things.

00:00:54   So you know what I'm talking about and just kind of assume a little bit that you do.

00:00:57   So first come some general impressions.

00:00:59   It seemed like Apple was really coming out guns blazing.

00:01:02   Like there's been a lot of speculation and talk about the fact

00:01:05   that for the last six months or so, they've been very quiet.

00:01:08   There's not a lot of product updates, not a lot of news, nothing, anything.

00:01:10   It's basically like Cupertino was just like Dev Null for a couple of months.

00:01:15   And it's like they've been building up this sort of large collection

00:01:19   of things that they are all of a sudden going to pour out all at once.

00:01:22   So how come you see new Macs, both MacBook Air, Mac Pro, Mac OS X, and big update to

00:01:31   iOS?

00:01:32   It's like all of a sudden they're coming out.

00:01:33   And throughout the keynote, they were constantly beating on either their competitors.

00:01:36   I mean, they probably spent probably 10, 15 minutes of the keynote just badgering Google

00:01:41   in various ways, in various contexts, in various things.

00:01:44   And there's an aggressiveness to it and a feistiness that I thought was kind of interesting

00:01:48   to see that's different than I think before.

00:01:51   I wouldn't say they're on the defensive in that way.

00:01:54   It's not that they were being like, they were, they were, you

00:01:56   know, backed into a corner and they were striking out so much

00:01:58   as I feel like they're kind of, so it's almost sort of like,

00:02:02   there's so much, it's like, enough, no more Mr. Nice guy

00:02:06   kind of more is more the kind of the feel that I call us and

00:02:08   they're like, you know, we're really good. And we really know

00:02:11   what we're doing. And we're the best. And you aren't treating us

00:02:14   that way. But we're going to make sure you feel that way.

00:02:16   After we kind of show you all the different things we're doing

00:02:19   and executing on it once. And that's, I think, the message

00:02:21   they're trying to get across at a high level, which

00:02:23   I think they did fairly well.

00:02:24   There's a few things that are a bit odd.

00:02:26   But generally, I think it was a pretty solid keynote.

00:02:28   And I think it hit most of the goals and the hopes

00:02:32   that I think a lot of nerds had.

00:02:33   A lot of people will often go into this

00:02:35   who wanted Apple to do something bold, something

00:02:37   a bit more interesting, something a bit more outside

00:02:39   of what they've been doing before.

00:02:41   All right, so a couple of-- let's see,

00:02:42   moving through the products, skipping over the very strange

00:02:45   slot car demo, which didn't really make any sense.

00:02:47   The next thing they talked about, I think mostly,

00:02:49   Mac OS X. So now we're getting Mavericks is the next one, and it sounds like the next

00:02:55   series of Mac OS Xs are going to be based on places in California. It's a bit of an

00:02:59   odd name, but that's, you know, the name is what it is, so that doesn't really matter.

00:03:03   There's a couple of things that were good there. I mean, a lot of it seemed--it was

00:03:09   interesting that they just seemed to be doing a fair few things under the hood. It reminded

00:03:13   me a lot of Snow Leopard, actually, where a lot of the changes and improvements were

00:03:17   are more things that users won't notice directly,

00:03:20   but they'll notice a lot indirectly.

00:03:22   So doing a lot of things with power and performance

00:03:25   and those types of things is great for making

00:03:29   Macs behave better, but isn't necessarily

00:03:32   adding new functionality.

00:03:34   The big new functionalities are iBooks and maps, tagging,

00:03:38   a few things like that, which are nice,

00:03:39   but they're not bold or major incentives.

00:03:43   And obviously, the removal of all the textures

00:03:46   from everything, calendar and those types of things

00:03:48   are just completely untextured now, which is cool,

00:03:51   but it isn't really a dramatic, like, in your face

00:03:53   kind of change.

00:03:56   And so that was good and interesting.

00:03:58   I don't do a huge amount of Mac development, but it's interesting

00:04:01   and I'm glad that they're still working on that

00:04:03   and they seem to be keeping to that goal of doing an update

00:04:06   every year.

00:04:08   And next, I'm going to talk about the Mac Pro, which

00:04:11   I was excited about, mostly just because I--

00:04:15   To some approximation, I'm always

00:04:16   going to want the fastest machine I can get.

00:04:19   I don't need it necessarily.

00:04:20   I mean, development is a fairly computationally intensive

00:04:23   process, but I'm not doing really robust, rigorous,

00:04:27   scientific, numerical, or video editing,

00:04:29   or those types of things that are truly dependent.

00:04:32   But I mean, using the machine that I sit in front of for at

00:04:36   least 40 hours a week every day while I'm working building

00:04:38   my apps, I want that to be as fast as possible.

00:04:40   And very likely, I will buy a new Mac Pro when it comes out

00:04:43   later this year.

00:04:44   the magical leader this year that seemed all the products and things were going to be coming

00:04:47   out.

00:04:48   It's like the layout and usage of it was interesting because it's definitely, I think actually

00:04:56   it's much better for me and for a lot of people who are kind of in a role like me, for maybe

00:05:00   people who are using it for professional use, professional, heavy professional users but

00:05:05   not specialty users.

00:05:07   So if you're a video editor or someone doing something very specific, the new Mac Pro is

00:05:10   probably not great for you.

00:05:12   It's alright.

00:05:14   a nice fast computer, but you're still probably going to prefer the old one.

00:05:17   And it actually wouldn't surprise me if Apple keeps the old Mac Pros around as available

00:05:21   for people who really need the old form factor for whatever reason.

00:05:25   They need card-based PCI chips or all kinds of, or dual socket, or all the things that

00:05:31   that old one can do that the new one can't.

00:05:33   But for someone like me who just wants a really fast Mac, I'll almost certainly buy one.

00:05:37   I mean, it looked great.

00:05:38   It seemed to have gotten fast and performant, and so I'm excited about that and look forward

00:05:42   to getting one whenever they come out.

00:05:45   All right.

00:05:45   And lastly, I was going to talk about iOS 7, which is, I guess,

00:05:48   sort of maybe the keynote part of the keynote.

00:05:51   And so iOS 7 is a radical departure from iOS 6

00:05:55   in a lot of ways, most clearly and obviously visually

00:05:58   and from a user experience perspective.

00:06:01   The UI is as kind of expected.

00:06:03   It is dramatically cleaned.

00:06:05   I don't know what you'll call it.

00:06:08   Using terms like "sco-morphic" or things,

00:06:09   because it's really complicated.

00:06:11   basically it's a very minimal UI, much more based on typography rather than on buttons

00:06:19   and textures and lighting and those types of things.

00:06:22   There's still some of that, but it's very geometric and it's very typographically driven,

00:06:27   which is nice.

00:06:28   It looked interesting.

00:06:29   The icons for some of the apps are a bit odd, but generally speaking, it's a nice -- I like

00:06:34   that they changed it.

00:06:36   Exactly how I like it will be dependent on once I actually get my hands on it.

00:06:39   And of course, I can't talk about the experience of once I have my hands on it and once I have

00:06:42   it because it's under NDA.

00:06:44   But suffice it to say, I'm glad that they're driving in that direction.

00:06:48   And I think this is actually a blog post that I did last week.

00:06:52   I think a lot of apps are going to have to go iOS 7 only because of the dramatic interface

00:06:57   and experiential changes that are made here.

00:07:00   I think there's a lot of applications who, if you have any amount of, almost any UI,

00:07:08   going to have to be updated to either be totally custom, and if you want it to look like the

00:07:13   old style for whatever reason, or it's going to have to be moved to 100% iOS 7, or if you

00:07:18   have anything kind of in the middle, I think it's going to be really problematic.

00:07:21   Thankfully, we have over-the-air updates, and over-the-air updates mean that I imagine

00:07:25   that dramatically, a very high proportion of compatible devices will be updated to iOS

00:07:30   7 within a couple of weeks.

00:07:32   And so going iOS 7 only at the start isn't probably going to be too crazy of a thing.

00:07:37   definitely ruffle a few feathers.

00:07:38   They're dropping support for a bunch of old devices,

00:07:40   which is always problematic as a developer.

00:07:42   You'll get a lot of--

00:07:44   they drop support for the 3GS, which isn't necessarily

00:07:48   unexpected.

00:07:48   But it means that if I go iOS 7 only for my applications,

00:07:53   I'm going to get people who have the 3GS who use my apps who

00:07:55   are going to be upset that they can't get any new updates.

00:07:58   But that's just kind of the game we're going to have to play.

00:08:00   And I'll definitely be talking about that, I'm sure,

00:08:02   more over the next coming months as I see how

00:08:04   things play out in practice.

00:08:06   But I think there's going to be a strong drive

00:08:09   to get a lot of iOS 7 only apps and a lot of things

00:08:11   coming out this Christmas season.

00:08:13   I imagine there's going to-- Apple is probably

00:08:16   hoping that there will be a lot of people who are upgrading

00:08:18   their devices to take advantage of it.

00:08:21   So that's kind of a big thing.

00:08:22   And like I said, it's interesting.

00:08:24   I like it.

00:08:24   Honestly, as a developer who isn't-- I'm not the strongest

00:08:28   graphic designer.

00:08:29   I like that the goal is more minimal.

00:08:33   And I would say that minimal is easy.

00:08:35   It takes a lot of graphic design and taste and skill

00:08:38   to have a good UI without a lot of components,

00:08:41   but it also is something that is possible for someone,

00:08:44   I think like myself, to execute on.

00:08:46   It reminds me a lot of the UI in Check the Weather,

00:08:49   my weather app, which is very minimal and very clean

00:08:51   and very simple.

00:08:52   But I think I can execute that in a way

00:08:55   that I could never do if I was richly drawing textures

00:08:58   and basically doing a lot of graphics work and art,

00:09:00   which is just something that I can't do.

00:09:02   And so I really like that in this case

00:09:04   that I can probably do more of it myself in this environment, or I have more success with

00:09:12   that, which makes me excited and happy that that's kind of what users are going to be

00:09:15   expecting, rather than having to go with the really rich kind of experiences.

00:09:19   They send like a tweet bot, for example.

00:09:21   It's a classic example of something that's really, really graphically intensive that

00:09:25   I could never execute without spending a lot of money getting a graphic designer to do

00:09:28   that work.

00:09:29   And then lastly about iOS 7, I'm going to talk a little bit about background, the new

00:09:34   new backgrounding modes, which I think is probably the second most significant developer-facing

00:09:38   feature that they announced in the keynote.

00:09:40   And backgrounding modes, the biggest parts of those that are so exciting and insignificant

00:09:44   is that finally you can have an application prepared for use immediately after the user

00:09:50   launches it.

00:09:51   So again, I'll bring up another example of like check the weather, you know, weather

00:09:54   app.

00:09:55   It would be what I can do now in theory in iOS 7, but based on what it sounds like they

00:09:58   did is I can have the app update your weather forecast periodically in the background without

00:10:05   the user having to launch the app.

00:10:07   And that means that when you launch the app, typically you won't have to wait.

00:10:10   You won't have to load new data.

00:10:12   It'll just be there.

00:10:13   And then the app adapts based on if you're checking, if you're opening that app and checking

00:10:16   the weather, you know, five, 10 times a day, it's going to check your, it's going to do

00:10:20   background updates five or 10 times a day.

00:10:22   If you only check the weather once a day at seven o'clock every morning, then it'll do

00:10:26   it at 6.50 or whatever.

00:10:28   Like, the way that's kind of the way they sounded like they were structuring it, which

00:10:32   is really helpful.

00:10:33   Or similarly, something like Feed Wrangler.

00:10:35   There's a lot of things that I can do there.

00:10:37   And even on the push side, potentially, where I can push content into the application without

00:10:45   -- whenever I know it's ready.

00:10:46   So on the server side, say I had a concept, this is actually something I've been working

00:10:50   on, something called kind of like a watch streams or watch shows on the podcast side.

00:10:54   something to say like, here is, you know,

00:10:58   here's a feed that I really care about the content of.

00:11:01   So say for example, it's Apple,

00:11:02   say it's Apple press releases or something.

00:11:04   You know, whenever they announce something new,

00:11:05   I wanna know about it.

00:11:07   And so you watch that feed.

00:11:08   What sounds like from what they're doing

00:11:09   is I could set up my application

00:11:11   so that when that comes in on the server,

00:11:13   the server can kick off a notification

00:11:14   to all the apps who signed up to know about that.

00:11:17   I send out the notification.

00:11:19   The app pops up.

00:11:20   The app has an opportunity to then go

00:11:21   and immediately download it.

00:11:23   And so that the next time you launch that app, that content is always there, sort of

00:11:27   guaranteed to be there to some definition of guaranteed.

00:11:30   And that's really exciting.

00:11:31   I think there's a lot of contexts where that would be very significant and allow for a

00:11:34   lot richer and honestly less frustrating use from users.

00:11:39   Where currently you're always, pretty much my experience across every app I have right

00:11:42   now is I'll open up the app, wait two seconds, and then use the app.

00:11:47   And that two seconds is while it's doing a network or network request.

00:11:50   And the only exceptions to that are things like mail or the system apps that can do backgrounding

00:11:56   right now.

00:11:57   And so I'm really excited about that.

00:12:00   And so I think those are some cool things.

00:12:02   It's going to be a lot of work.

00:12:03   I think if you're an iOS developer, the next three or four months, myself included, is

00:12:06   going to be very busy.

00:12:07   There's going to be a lot to do and a lot of work to get apps updated and ready for

00:12:13   iOS 7 because it is such a dramatic move in a way that iOS 6 was not from iOS 5 or iOS

00:12:19   was not really from iOS 4.

00:12:20   There's, I think, going to be a lot of work to be ready

00:12:23   whenever this launches.

00:12:24   Probably my guess would be early October,

00:12:26   just based on the usual schedules for things,

00:12:28   but they haven't said that yet.

00:12:31   All right, so that was kind of a slightly rambling,

00:12:33   but hopefully helpful set of first impressions.

00:12:36   Like I said, just got out of the keynote.

00:12:38   That's what I've been thinking about.

00:12:39   I'm kind of amped.

00:12:40   I'm kind of jazzed about what I saw,

00:12:42   what I think Apple's doing, and the direction

00:12:44   that they're heading.

00:12:45   And I'm pretty excited about it.

00:12:47   I'll probably do a couple of episodes this week,

00:12:49   just talking about some of the other things that they

00:12:51   talked about in the keynote.

00:12:52   I'll have to just kind of balance that,

00:12:53   because obviously things become under NDA the rest of the week.

00:12:56   And so suddenly I have to balance that

00:12:59   and not be talking publicly about things

00:13:01   that I'm not supposed to.

00:13:03   But otherwise, that's it for today's show.

00:13:04   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns,

00:13:07   compliments, complaints, I'm on Twitter @_davidsmith.

00:13:10   I'm on AppNet @davidsmith.

00:13:11   And otherwise, if you have a great week,

00:13:13   if you're out here at WWDC, make sure you say hi.

00:13:15   I'm around all week.

00:13:17   I'd love to shake your hand and just sort of get to know you,

00:13:20   put a face to some of the people who listen to the show.

00:13:23   And otherwise, I hope you're at home,

00:13:26   merrily coding and drawing the betas.

00:13:28   And I'll talk to you soon.

00:13:29   Bye.