This is my second year attending WWDC and I feel very lucky to have the resources to attend this year. Just automatically draft $75 dollars from each paycheck and you to can attend WWDC. I have always paid my own way to the event. This year’s conference was jammed pack with great information for iPhone/iPad developers. WWDC is under NDA, so I am not allowed to disclose any technical information about the conference. I am not even permitted to reveal any of the sessions I’ve attended the past week. So most of this blog post will cover my observations on travel, keynote, lines, and evening plans.
My day started out very early on Sunday to catch the first JetBlue flight out of Austin, TX to San Francisco. The flight had many attendees on board and just about everywhere you looked, an iPad was pulled out for entertainment. I was fortunate to have two friends attend WWDC this year. So I wasn’t traveling alone on this trip. The first thing planned upon arrival was the Pre-WWDC Pilgrimage that was organized by Jeff LaMarche. Jeff did a fantastic job of organizing two large buses to transport over 150 geeks to visit the Mothership. The trip was a blast. I met a quite of few fellow iPhone/Mac developers and thoroughly enjoyed talking about all things iPhone, SDK, and Objective-C tips/tricks. The main purpose of the pilgrimage was to purchase Apple swag at the company store. I picked up a few items for me, my wife, and friends. We all then had a bite to eat afterwards and returned to San Francisco. Sunday night concluded with a meetup of friends and other iPhone devs from the Austin area at a bar called the Cheiftan. Great times were had by all.
I decided to get in line early in order to get a good seat for the keynote. I woke up at approximately 4:20 AM and jumped in line at around 5:00 AM. By that time, there were already over a 500 attendees ahead of me in line. There were more geeks crazier than me. I couldn’t fathom staying in line for the whole night. I met one gentlemen from Paris, France who was experiencing his first SteveNote. We spent the next hour discussing work, projects and possible keynote announcements. The line didn’t start moving until 7:30 AM or so. I spent the next two and a half hours outside Moscone West discussing our passion for software with other developers from around the world. There were over 5200 attendees from 52 different countries. It was a diverse mix of people waiting in line for the main event. Around 7:30 AM, the line then moved forward moving all of us inside, crammed in like sardines on the second floor of Moscone West. I am not complaining. I much rather wait inside with free breakfast and juice available. I managed to get a decent seat for the keynote address considering that press, VIPs, and Apple employees were given the best seats already. I manage to find a seat right smack in the middle of room with a big screen monitors to my left and right.
I got trapped by Steve Job’s Reality Distortion field during the keynote. It’s hard not to given the environment and surroundings. You have to experience the keynote first hand to understand. The air is electric with excitement and anticipation. Very much like the start of a rock concert. I am always surprised at the number of press that attend and the cameras that go off when Steve jumps on stage. It’s literally like watching the Super Bowl with tons of camera flashes that go off in the background. Nothing Apple announced during the keynote surprised me. Everyone was expecting a brand new iPhone. What impressed me the most was the new Retina Display that now allows the iPhone 4 to boast a resolution at 326 ppi display. The current iPhone 3GS screen resolution is 480 x 320. With Retina Display, the new iPhone 4 has a resolution of 960 x 640. I am looking forward to seeing crisp and clear text that John Gruber described on his recent post on the new device. I am also pleased to hear that Apple’s own A4 chip will make it’s debut with iPhone 4. No doubt, power consumption will be improved with an additional 2 more hours of talk time on 3G. I will certainly be placing my pre-order with the Apple Online Store on Tuesday morning (June 15).
ADAs and Stump the Experts
The Apple Design Awards were great to watch. You are just blown away by the winners. They push the envelope and the potential of the iPhone and iPad. All apps were well deserving. Firemint took home two ADAs for Flight Control (iPad) and Real Racing (iPhone/iPod Touch). Both apps are fantastic and fun to play. This year’s winners set the bar really high for everyone in the room. There was no controversy at all on whether an app was more deserving than the rest. All apps that won this year’s ADAs are all well deserved. The highlight of the evening and one of my favorite sessions at WWDC is Stump the Experts. The most notable memorable moment was when fellow attendee, Bill Atkinson, told his story of HyperCard. The audience gave Bill a well deserved standing ovation for is work on the original Macintosh. It’s great fun to see this game show get played out as members of the audience dual against some of the brightest engineers from Apple. I always come out of the session shaking my head and asking myself, “how on earth did they come up with that answer?”. Maybe I’ll find the courage next year to submit my own question for the panel of experts.
Inspiration and Ideas
Attending this year’s WWDC opened a whole new box of ideas for me. The new features that have been introduced with iOS 4 opens up so many potential app ideas. I can’t wait to see what developers will come out with in the next few months. Especially with the announcement of the new three-axis gyro sensor. It was really inspiring to meet and talk with some of the developers of your favorite apps (Mac or iOS device). Some of these well known developers are very gracious with their time and answer any question you may have. This was my second WWDC conference for me and it will certainly won’t be my last. I plan on attending next year and hopefully by then, I’ll have a couple of great apps to show off and talk about.