Write the code. Change the World Wide Developers Conference.

Write the code. Change the World Wide Developers Conference.

By the time I finish writing this the WWDC 2014 lotto will be all but over and developers, designers, and interested parties the world over will find out if they have the opportunity to pay somewhere between one and two thousand dollars for a ticket. That's a marked difference from last year when pre-announced tickets sold out in seconds and years previous when no one knew when tickets would go on sale. You'd think the idea of leaving a ticket up to chance would be stressful, but not having to set bots and alarms and hope for the best has been well received. It's been seen as more egalitarian and, importantly, more human. It's a huge difference in how Apple handles the engineering and space constraints of WWDC, and it's not the only difference this year.

Back in October of 2012 I wrote a piece called Tim Cook's Apple where I likened his grid-like reorganization of Apple management to Steve Jobs' famous grid-like reorganization of Apple's product line.

Tim Cook is now taking Apple from an overlapping group of people, some responsible for iOS and some OS X, some responsible for hardware design and some software, some responsible for some services but not others, and clearly defining roles and responsibilities that remove internal roadblocks and hedge against the fiefdoms that plague other, large, second generation leadership teams. Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Craig Federighi, Eddy Cue will each set up teams to support their new roles, and industrial and interface design, chips and antennas, iOS and OS X, and data centers and ecommerce, and more, will all still get individual attention, but they'll benefit from better defined, more collective leadership. [...] Now we get to see how well this simplified, clarified team can execute.

In June of 2013 I wrote a follow up called Tim Cook's WWDC where I called attention to the iOS 7 redesign, the battery shaming and MacBook Airs tremendous battery life, and the Mac Pro previewed some six-months prior to launch.

The one thing that's clear, though: Tim Cook's willingness to show off a product that, while perfect for the venue was still still months from market, to openly mock the stitched leather and green felt of previous versions, to change naming schemes and entire interfaces, to let his people -- Jony Ive and Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller run the ball as a team rather than a set of individuals -- made manifest Cook's decisions from back in October.

How all of it ultimately pans out this year and in year's to come doesn't matter right now. All that matters is that Tim Cook did it, and let his team do it.

New eras work well when they neither slavishly follow the past nor senselessly change the future. They work well when they embrace the best of what was and fortify it with the best of what is and could be.

That's how WWDC 2014 looks at first glance. Design is at the top of the Sessions page. Previously relegated to a couple sessions, labs, and a meet-up among a week chocked full of code. This year there seems to be more attention and resources devoted to design than ever before.

Women aren't only well represented in the graphics but there's a specific get-together scheduled for women in technology, and for apps for kids, and apps for China.

Even Apple's WWDC 2014 verse is inspired:

Over the past six years, a massive cultural shift has occurred. It's changed how we interact with each other. Learn new things. Entertain ourselves. Do our work. And live our daily lives. All because of developers and the apps they create.

Five days, one thousand Apple engineers and five thousand developers will gather together. And life will be different as a result.

Write the code. Change the world.

It continues Tim Cook's and Apple's focus on core values.

And, the lotto.

Everyone has a chance to get a ticket, even if everyone can't get a ticket. Last year Apple, their evangelists, and the production crews moved heaven and earth and pixels and bits to get the session videos posted online, for everyone, incredibly quickly. That's going to happen this year as well. What's more, State of the Union and the Apple Design Awards will be live streamed for all registered developers.

If you need a lab, if you need an Apple engineer or designer to help you fix a specific problem, you'll still need a ticket. But if you just want to learn about what's new and hang out with other members of the community, you can show up in San Francisco and get almost everything you need, ticket or no ticket. If you just want to learn about the new frameworks and features, you can stay home and do it all online.

At WWDC 2014 we'll likely see iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 "Syrah", some new hardware and some new ideas.

But WWDC 2014 in and of itself is bristling with new ideas this year. It, like Apple, is keeping the best of its traditions but also pushing forward towards a better future. And that's just as exciting.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Amazon Instant Video gets an iOS 7 overhaul

Next up →

Apple's new head of retail operations to be made an 'honorary dame' of the British Empire

Reader comments

Write the code. Change the World Wide Developers Conference.


"If you just want to learn about the new frameworks and features, you can stay home and do it all online."

Bingo. Apple posts WWDC session videos just days later. For free.
(And I'm sure I can get a cool Apple jacket for less than $2000 at the Cupertino Apple Store.)

Will we see new Apple TV/iWatch hardware? Or will we just see revamps of existing hardware? (Ie., Haswell Mac Mini) I mean, if it's going to be a new era for television/wearables, developers will need a head-start in development. If iOS 8 is all about health an fitness, the iWatch must be on the horizon, as well. Hmmmmm?

Agree. If Apple is planning to release wearable hardware this year, we'll know about it on the day iOS 8 beta is released. I think that's fairly likely, given all the rumors.

But if Apple is planning to open up Apple TV to 3rd party app developers, we may not know about it until the hardware actually ships. The Apple TV version of iOS seems to be on a separate track in terms of releases. And I'll bet a dollar that Apple won't just open the floodgates and release an Apple TV API and let any random developer publish apps to some kind of Apple TV App Store. I think Apple will continue to do what they're already doing: cherry-picking certain high-visibility partners and either develop Apple TV apps for them or supervise the development of their 3rd party apps.

A little birdy tells me that Apple TV apps are drastically different than "normal" iOS apps. It has something to do with the fact that the Apple TV interface that you see is an app itself. So 3rd party apps need to run "inside" that interface app. Very different than standard iOS apps.

Sorry to go off-topic here, but in terms of hardware (an Apple event on September 2014 hopefully) I really urge Apple to add more RAM to the iPad because having both Pages and Numbers open just kills performance on my iPad 3. If more battery is needed for that then I don't care even if it implies added weight and a price hike. RAM is just terrible currently. I need to see how this goes along with Office for iPad.

"This year there seems to be more attention and resources devoted to design than ever before."

A little birdie tells me that one reason for the emphasis on design this year is because, yes, there will be an iPhone with more than 1136 x 640 pixels this year. If you're an iOS developer, you know what I'm talking about. Ever since iOS 6, Apple has been strongly hinting that "modern apps" should use a technology built into iOS 6.0 and later that will allow apps to handle different screen geometries automatically. 3.5" and 4" iPhone screen handling was just a warm-up.

So, the technology for handling a "big" iPhone is already baked into iOS. The real trick will be to design apps that actually look good on the basic 4" screen as well as on some (rumored) 4.7" screen. Do you keep the tap targets all the same size? Or do you scale everything up a little bit for the big screen? My guess is that some of the design sessions will cover all of that (but without explicitly saying anything about future iPhone screen sizes and pixel counts.)