WWDC 2014 Recap – The conference, the location, the people, the message

I’m a little late with this post as Apple’s WWDC conference happened nearly three weeks ago. But I don’t like to have things in draft mode – so here we go.

 

The Conference

I had the great opportunity to attend this years conference with my colleague Detlev. It was my second visit (first one was 2013).

The week was exhausting (as the jet-lag was) and it took and will take some time for me to sort all things out. It’s IMHO outstanding for this conference that you can expect one thing: something new will come and will keep you busy and learning for the upcoming months. It’s clear and well-known that Apple will talk about their new releases for OS X and iOS. There are less conferences which provide you such a steady continuity in delivering really new content (and not only refurbishing existing one).

And you can get hands-on just on the conference! Nothing like “here we show you but we’ll deliver it to you in three months”. No – direct beta access for everybody from the beginning the conference. On day one. You just have to go down to the ground floor, grab an ethernet plug (they have more then thousand of them!) and download the beta.

If someone had no chance to attend the conference – no problem. Every registered developer gets access to the betas.

 

The Location

There are different opinions if a conference should happen in a “closed” location like IBM Connect or somewhere “in a city” (like the IBM conferences in Vegas). Personally I think Moscone Center in San Francisco is a perfect location for a conference. Short ways to the sessions, a bunch of alternatives for the conference food, nice bars just around the corner…everything you need.

As a bonus you’re in the middle of San Francisco. A vibrant city with dozens of opportunities to get some distractions before or after the conference.

 

The People

WWDC is a developer conference. So you’ll see and meet mostly developers. 5,000 of them. Lead architects, freelancer, junior developers etc. No sales guys, no vendors with booths. They are from Facebook, Agilebits, SAP, Electronic Arts and more. Different people, different business-cases, different apps.

I got totally impressed by a guy from the US. We met by chance on the top balcony of the Moscone Center. He was a developer for a bio-chemical company. What do you think if someone tells you “I’m analyzing DNA results with an app”? Freaking awesome was my reaction. A small box analyses the medical data (blood, DNA etc.) and transfers the data via Bluetooth to the iPhone app. The box also has a built-in docking station for the iPhone. The iPhone app now further processes the data. It’s small, it’s portable and it’s cheap. They have different use cases like medical checks for people living on the streets, detection of deseases and much more.

Awesome, just awesome.

 

The Sessions

It’s always good to have not too much choices. That’s how you can look at the sessions. Six session rooms, every room large enough to get filled easily with 1,000 or more people. All sessions have been held by Apple engineers. No consultants, no community members, no partners. “Just” by the people who wrote the code. So you could be sure to see, hear and meet people that really understand what they’re talking about.

Most of the slides have been very focused. Less content, more message. Plus a bunch of real demos. That what tech people want to see. No “bla bla” or “see what we did last year”. Good instructions to get the hands-on on the new released technology.

In contrast to some other conferences it was – for me – really hard to decide to which session I want to go. It was often a “I-want-to-see-all-four-sessions-at-this-time-slot” dilemma. But Apple had an answer for that to. And a really cool and simple one: all sessions are available on PDF and Video – for free, for everybody. So if you had no chance to attend the conference or just couldn’t make it to a specific session on-site. No problem – you can download it.

 

The Message

You’ve probably read about it a lot. How the conference was, what has been published, which technology will come etc. All that leads to a message:

Empowering the ecosystem

Keep the customer base happy by keeping the developers happy. Apple has introduced a lot of things to make a developers life easier. They’ve added new technologies to their platforms to allow new use-cases. And last but not least to give the users more convenience. Pack that all together and you’ll get the formula for more growth, more fidelity, more success.

 

I’ll dig into some aspects of what I think are the biggest changes and additions in a few upcoming blog posts.