WWDC flashback 2008: iPhone 3G, MobileMe, Snow Leopard, and App Store

As we head towards WWDC 2016 we're looking back at the last few years of Apple's World Wide Developer Conference and the impact each has made. Today, we're all about WWDC 2008. Kicking off June 9 at 10am PDT with a Steve Jobs keynote, Apple had held the first iPhone SDK event that past spring and a lot of what was introduced there was finalized here. That's not to say there weren't some new things as well...

App Store

The App Store was a unified place on every iPhone where every customers could go to get native apps and games created by third party developers. Apple would handle all the logistics and transactions, keep 70% of the money for paid apps, and handle free apps for free.

iPhone 3G

The iPhone 3G was the first iPhone announced at WWDC. Despite its rounder, most plastic case, iPhone 3G was so similar to the original iPhone that Apple only incremented its model number by a minor digit — iPhone 1,2 — but it added both a 3G EDGE radio for GSM networking and GPS for location. It also fully embraced the subsidy model for the first time, dropping to an incredibly accessible $199 on contract in the U.S. and other markets.


.Mac, which had been Apple's online service, was reborn and rebranded as MobileMe. Originally called "Exchange for the rest of us", MobileMe was plagued by a troubled launch. So much so that Steve Jobs famously asked what it was supposed to do... and then why it didn't $&%$& do that.

Snow Leopard

With everyone at Apple bent on delivering iOS 2 (then iPhone OS 2), the software developers kit (SDK), the App Store, Mobile Me, and everything that went along with it, development on the next version of OS X, dubbed Snow Leopard (no wine codename) focused on under-the-hood performance improvements. There were some new features, including Exchange support, but Apple unabashedly marketed it as "no new features", something that, it turned out, deeply resonated with customers who wanted just exactly that.


If the iPhone revolutionized the phone, it's safe to say the App Store revolutionized software. Nothing has been the same since. iPhone 3G likewise made the iPhone accessible to many more people in many more countries and was the real beginning of the biggest business the industry has ever seen. MobileMe... wasn't great. Within a few years it would be replaced with iCloud. Snow Leopard, on the other hand, became a classic. So much so, whenever something goes wrong, you can count on the internet asking for another "Snow Leopard" moment.

What did you think of WWDC 2008? Share your memories in the comments below!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.