Developing Perspective

#122: A Few thoughts on WWDC 2013.


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

00:00:08   an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Herne, Virginia. This is show number 122

00:00:13   and today is Wednesday, April 24th, 2013. Developing Perspective was never longer than

00:00:17   15 minutes, so let's get started. So I wasn't really necessarily expecting to do an episode

00:00:22   today having done one yesterday, but I thought it was kind of this morning when Apple announced

00:00:28   WWDC, some of the details and the way they're approaching it, it seemed like a good thing

00:00:33   to get a show out, talk about it, and to hopefully help people kind of navigate a little bit

00:00:38   of what's going on, what it might mean, having gone to quite a few WWDCs.

00:00:42   I'm by no means one of the crazy veterans you'll meet who's been doing it since way

00:00:47   back in the day when they used to go to Cupertino for the bash every year and all these kinds

00:00:52   of things.

00:00:53   I've been there, I think since, it's funny, I remember them more by the iPhone that was

00:00:56   announced and it was the 3GS, if I remember right. But I think it was 2009, was my first

00:01:02   WWDC. So I've been going for a while, largely since the App Store, since iOS, since I started

00:01:07   making my living in this way. You know, WWDC became a big deal, a big thing that I, a big

00:01:12   part of what I do. And so it's kind of, you know, it's an important thing for me to go

00:01:18   in many ways. And so it's something that I think I give a lot of thought to. So basically

00:01:22   this morning, rather than announcing the tickets were going to go on sale, which a lot of people

00:01:26   expected would be happening this morning. Instead, Apple announced the dates for the

00:01:30   event, which starts, I think it's June 10th to 14th in San Francisco at the Moscone Center,

00:01:36   just like has been in previous years. And instead of announcing tickets when they announced

00:01:42   that, they also they instead announced that tickets will be going on sale tomorrow, Thursday

00:01:46   morning, Pacific Coast time. So you have to work that I think it's 10am Pacific, which

00:01:51   obviously you have to work out into your own time zone. For me, it's about one o'clock

00:01:54   in the afternoon that I'll be frantically trying to get a ticket. And I think that's

00:02:00   an interesting approach. It's a change that a lot of, there's been last year, especially

00:02:05   there was a lot of upset people and a lot of discussion about the fairness about the

00:02:10   what's the best way to approach this about what's the best way for Apple to distribute

00:02:14   tickets when you can imagine that they probably have something like the usual lessons about

00:02:17   5000 people who can attend WWDC, which is limited probably mostly by the venue and the

00:02:25   style of event they want to do. So you know, you look at the problem of tickets, and you

00:02:30   can imagine a variety of different ways to solve it. You know, there's the simple one

00:02:34   of you could just expand the number of attendees, you know, go to a bigger venue. Moscone West

00:02:39   is a pretty big place, but it's not as big as even Moscone South or North, you know,

00:02:42   these huge convention center style events, you know, where you could have, you know,

00:02:47   of people in each session. I think Apple is rightfully so resistant to that type of thing.

00:02:54   And I would hope it's because of the kind of things that that does to the event in terms

00:02:57   of their ability to really execute well on attend, you know, first for the attendees,

00:03:02   you just kind of end up with tremendous lines, tremendous problems in terms of logistics

00:03:07   and issues that I mean, it's slightly smaller, you know, 5000 people isn't small by any means.

00:03:12   But it's something that is much more manageable, I think. And generally, I like that I don't

00:03:16   really think they should expand the conference ad too much and

00:03:18   it kind of will get a bit unwieldy. They could raise the

00:03:21   price a lot of people say, well, and just sort of let that take

00:03:23   care of it. I don't know a huge fan of that. I mean, the tickets

00:03:26   about $1600 I think, which is by no means inexpensive. I think

00:03:30   it's enough to kind of keep people out, who are just kind of

00:03:33   whimsically interested in it. You know, it's not the kind of

00:03:36   thing if it was $20 a lot of people be like, Oh, sure,

00:03:38   whatever. Let me just get a ticket. You know, $1600 you're

00:03:41   invested in what you're doing. You're interested in it enough

00:03:44   that you're obviously going to put that down.

00:03:46   But I think if they made that ticket $10,000,

00:03:49   it's such a creative, very strange and distorted view

00:03:52   of the developer community who are able to get in

00:03:54   and be able to take part in a lot of learning,

00:03:57   a lot of the experience that going to WWDC is.

00:04:01   And so I'd rather them not do that.

00:04:02   And I think where they are is about right.

00:04:04   If anything, I'd actually wish they'd pull the ticket price

00:04:07   down a little bit.

00:04:09   Probably not too much more, maybe $1,000, $9.99,

00:04:12   something like that.

00:04:13   I think it would be a bunch more, it just would feel a bit more attainable, I think,

00:04:17   for a lot of people starting out who listen to my show.

00:04:22   There's something that I think would be a little bit better about that.

00:04:24   But generally, otherwise what you're left with are mitigation strategies.

00:04:28   If you can't really add more people or you can't really reduce the number of people who

00:04:31   want to go, you can do a lot of mitigation strategies.

00:04:33   And I've got to compliment Apple on this.

00:04:35   It sounds like they're really doing everything they can on that side, which is encouraging.

00:04:40   It sounds like this year they're going to do videos released during the conference,

00:04:44   they say.

00:04:45   It's a very kind of vague statement, but on the website they say, "Videos for the conference

00:04:48   will be released during the conference," which my guess means they're going to go, as they

00:04:54   record the sessions live, they're going to be then immediately taken off to a room full

00:04:59   of Mac Pros, where they'll be sitting there and edited and tweaked and polished and gotten

00:05:03   ready and then shipped out as soon as they can.

00:05:07   I think it's definitely a welcome change in terms of they're really shifting that value

00:05:12   of going to the conferences, being the first place you can get this information, the new

00:05:15   APIs, the new discussion about what Apple is doing.

00:05:18   They're taking it away from being this kind of special insider thing and making it that

00:05:22   anybody with a developer account can go in and get it pretty much right away.

00:05:26   You know, maybe it'll be delayed a day, maybe it'll be delayed a couple of days, but it's

00:05:29   not going to be this kind of thing.

00:05:30   Last year it was, I think, a week later, which was very good.

00:05:33   It sounds like this time they're going to try and squeeze that down even more.

00:05:35   I don't think it'll ever go live, live, you know, in terms of actually broadcast out live,

00:05:39   which I think makes perfect sense.

00:05:41   I don't think live video for something like this really adds anything.

00:05:45   Maybe for a keynote where you're making big announcements, but for an API and things,

00:05:48   really what you want is it to be polished and clean and make sure that it's not, you

00:05:52   know, if like in the middle of the presentation, the computer goes bad or something like that

00:05:57   and they have to spend a lot of time getting it fixed, it's nice that that's not part of

00:06:01   what you're showing to the world.

00:06:02   And so I definitely think it makes sense to have the close to but not real time feedback.

00:06:09   And otherwise, that's kind of what they're doing.

00:06:10   And then they're also announcing the tickets obviously at a particular time in a particular

00:06:13   day and then we'll kind of have this mad rush to go and try and get a ticket.

00:06:18   And I'll be doing that tomorrow afternoon, working on different strategies and approaches.

00:06:23   Where can I get the best network latency?

00:06:25   Where can I have the most options available to me in terms of machines in case something

00:06:29   goes wrong or something fails?

00:06:31   we'll just see what happens. It's a bit of a insane thing to

00:06:34   think, to try and imagine how many people are as fanatical

00:06:38   about this kind of thing as I am. I was talking to my wife

00:06:40   this morning about how kind of just crazy it was. And I mean, in

00:06:44   terms of amount of time and effort and thought that I've had

00:06:46   about, you know, wanting to go to WWDC this year. And I was

00:06:50   trying to think, you know, say there's about 5000 people who go

00:06:52   to this, that's sort of the number that's bandaged around.

00:06:54   It's like, how many people in the world are as crazy as I am

00:06:59   in this way.

00:07:00   And my guess is it's probably not 5,000 people,

00:07:02   but there's probably a fair few who will be out there tomorrow

00:07:05   trying to get a ticket for themselves, for their business,

00:07:07   those types of things.

00:07:08   So if you are interested in getting a ticket,

00:07:10   that's really the way to do it.

00:07:11   Tomorrow you have to be sitting in front of a computer going

00:07:14   to developer.apple.com/wwdc/tickets,

00:07:18   and frantically refreshing, and then as fast as you can,

00:07:21   trying to enter in your information,

00:07:23   trying to book a ticket.

00:07:24   I will say the one eligibility criteria, which

00:07:26   I think is the same as it was last year,

00:07:28   is you have to have an active Apple developer account,

00:07:32   either for the Mac or iOS app stores.

00:07:35   And that had to have been in effect prior to this morning.

00:07:38   So if you don't have one of those,

00:07:39   you can't get one now, which I think

00:07:42   is a reasonable prohibition, but something that they're--

00:07:45   a policy that they announced.

00:07:46   And then you'll just go, and you'll fight,

00:07:47   and we'll see what happens.

00:07:48   Now, I'll be going to out of San Francisco either way.

00:07:51   And this is something that I just

00:07:53   wanted to talk to you briefly in terms of--

00:07:55   there's always a lot of back and forth about ticketless WWDC.

00:07:58   going out to San Francisco when there's not without a ticket,

00:08:01   either because you can't afford one, in the sense of, you know,

00:08:05   paying the extra $1,600, or even just, you know, having to pay a

00:08:08   few extra nights of hotel because you want to stay the

00:08:10   whole week because you have a ticket, those types of things

00:08:12   that it's been financially constrained. You don't take a

00:08:15   ticket from someone else. I've often heard from a lot of people

00:08:17   who do more project management, marketing, those types of

00:08:20   activities who we choose not to get a ticket, even if they could,

00:08:24   because I'd rather you know, sort of it's like the, it's nice

00:08:27   to give that to a developer, someone, a software developer, a designer, someone who really

00:08:30   can benefit from going in a way that is different if that's not really, you know, if you're

00:08:34   not on the front lines of that.

00:08:36   And generally speaking, I'd say it's a good idea. It's something that, like I said, I've

00:08:40   already booked my plane ticket in my hotel. I'll be out there no matter what. If I get

00:08:43   a ticket, awesome. If I don't, well, I'll be out there and have a lot more free time.

00:08:47   But why I'm out there is because I really enjoy meeting and talking to people in the

00:08:51   community. And it's a very rare thing. WWDC is one of the few events, I think really honestly

00:08:56   the only event where I would say everybody tries to, tries to make it, or at least think

00:09:01   strongly about going. And that's just awesome. The kind of people and the people interactions

00:09:06   you can have are kind of unique in that way. And so it has nothing to do with the conference

00:09:10   itself. It just is that it's this sort of this, that has such a strong pull for all

00:09:15   the different people in the in our community and the people who do what we do, to all be

00:09:19   in one place at the same time. And it's just amazing the kind of chance encounters you

00:09:23   you can have, the people you can meet,

00:09:25   conversations you can have.

00:09:27   And honestly, the biggest part of going to WWDC for me

00:09:29   every year has less to do with necessarily what I learn.

00:09:32   But the way that I feel when I leave it,

00:09:35   it's a very, very motivating, encouraging,

00:09:38   kind of exciting thing.

00:09:39   And it's kind of nice to go in and kind of plug in

00:09:41   and get recharged about what I'm doing,

00:09:43   enjoying software development, thinking about ideas,

00:09:46   thinking about what it is we're doing, what's coming next.

00:09:48   And all these types of details are really just

00:09:52   encouraging and awesome part of going out to San Francisco every June and spending time

00:09:57   there. So generally, I'd encourage you, it's certainly a tricky thing if you're on the

00:10:01   West Coast, you know, and you live in LA or something like that, and it's an easy thing

00:10:04   for you to get to, by all means do I said, I'm doing it either way. And I know a lot

00:10:08   of people who do, it's definitely tricky in that regard. But I definitely recommend that,

00:10:14   you know, it's a hard thing to pass up the opportunity to be in the same place as a lot

00:10:19   of really interesting people for such a focused period of time

00:10:23   without saying everybody's thinking about and talking

00:10:25   about.

00:10:26   So it's a lot of fun.

00:10:27   And like I said, I hope I get a ticket.

00:10:29   If I don't, I'll still be out there.

00:10:30   A few other minor things that I just

00:10:32   wanted to mention briefly.

00:10:33   One is the Apple Design Awards, which

00:10:34   is every year Apple gives out these little glowing gray cubes

00:10:38   to apps that I think are especially awesome,

00:10:40   especially pushing the platform forward.

00:10:43   There's a deadline for if you want your app considered

00:10:45   for those.

00:10:46   They need to be in the App Store by May 6.

00:10:48   And I just mentioned that in terms of if you have something

00:10:49   that you're trying to push out, and it's going to be soon, just

00:10:52   think to keep in mind, I don't go crazy about that, obviously,

00:10:54   you know, getting a design award is a very rare and unique thing.

00:10:58   And so it's not the kind of thing that you can really drive

00:11:00   for directly. But it's something that if you're thinking about,

00:11:04   that's the cutoff for this year. So you've got about, about two

00:11:07   weeks, a little under two weeks to get that done. So that has

00:11:10   that has to be approved and in the store at that point. So

00:11:12   obviously, it's not about submitting, it has to actually

00:11:15   be in the store. And something else I wanted to mention, too, is make sure that you're

00:11:19   aware of the student scholarship. I know there's a lot of people who listen to Developing Perspective

00:11:23   who are students or people sorting it out. And Apple has a program to give, I think it's

00:11:29   150 scholarship tickets to students part time or full time. And the goal of that is to try

00:11:35   and obviously make it able for people to go to WWDC who financially may not be able to

00:11:40   otherwise, you know, it's not what you do professionally. And so it's much more complicated

00:11:43   to pay $1600 in flights and go out to San Francisco.

00:11:47   I don't think they pay any of your expenses, but I believe it's a ticket.

00:11:50   And if that's something you're interested in, I think it opens up this Friday or something

00:11:55   like that, April 29th, and closes on May 2nd.

00:11:58   I actually kind of like what they're doing this year.

00:12:00   The student scholarship program looks like it's fairly intensive in the sense of it's

00:12:05   about submitting an Xcode project of something you've done and talking about exactly what

00:12:10   your you know, what your experiences what you do, and to kind of, you know, sell yourself

00:12:14   a little bit. If that's something that you're at all interested in, I highly recommend at

00:12:17   least trying if you if you're excited about iOS development, and you want an opportunity

00:12:21   to, you know, kind of explore that going to WWDC is a great way to get connected and grounded

00:12:28   and excited about what you're doing. And so if you're a student, definitely recommend

00:12:31   trying it. I mean, it's always think it's kind of fun. There's usually a student area

00:12:35   and knew somebody who was a student out there as a student last year, and they were talking

00:12:38   about all the kind of interesting things they can do where there's a student-only area where

00:12:43   often kind of interesting people were coming by. I think one guy was talking about how

00:12:47   Tim Cook came in after the keynote and was in there just hanging out talking to students.

00:12:51   I think there's a lot of special care and attention that Apple gives to students and

00:12:55   people that are starting out in that way. And so it's kind of an exciting and fun thing.

00:12:58   Obviously, who knows what it will be this year, but just something I wanted to make

00:13:01   sure you're aware of if you're a student and you're thinking about WWDC, but the cost is

00:13:05   is a little too much.

00:13:06   Definitely think about the scholarship program.

00:13:08   All right, those are the topics that I wanted

00:13:10   to talk about briefly.

00:13:11   Hopefully that was helpful in kind of giving

00:13:13   a sense about WWDC.

00:13:14   I'll have a couple more posts, I'm

00:13:15   sure, as we get closer to the actual conference talking

00:13:18   about what it's like in terms of the flow, what it's

00:13:20   like in terms of the sessions.

00:13:22   I think I'll probably dig up my WWDC manners guide

00:13:28   and talk about that through again.

00:13:30   But otherwise, I hope you--

00:13:31   it's one of those funny things.

00:13:33   There's a bit of a tragedy of a commons problem

00:13:35   And it's like, I want everybody to get a ticket who wants a ticket, but I know that if that

00:13:40   happens, I may not get one in that sense.

00:13:42   And so I look forward to battling you all tomorrow, I suppose, with all my browsers

00:13:47   and all my computers trying to get in and get a ticket.

00:13:50   But otherwise, I hope you guys have a good week.

00:13:52   Hope you get a ticket if you want one, and have some happy coding, and I'll talk to you

00:13:55   later.