Category Archives: Apple

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WWDC 2009: a message for Scott Forstall

I won’t go into details into all the stuff shown during the keynote; this is just a single comment for Scott Forstall: STOP THE BLOODY DEMOS. Last year it was pretty unbearable, yet this year you managed to make it even worse.

Thankfully I am not the only one who thinks that the interminable series of demos is just a waste of our time, when all we want is to see new stuff in the SDK. We’re developers, not marketing people.


I arrived to San Francisco yesterday night, after a dreadful connection in Frankfurt (note to self: to never, ever again book connecting flights with less than 90 minutes in between) and a great flight accross Greenland and Canada. My internal clock insists in saying that I had breakfast at 5 o’clock, but other than that, I feel great, really excited!

That flight, by the way, could have been dubbed the “WWDC Express”, as the number of guys (and gals!) typing code on Xcode was waaaaaay above the average. I had the opportunity to chat with Markus Palmanto from Finland and he showed me his amazing Accordio application! Check it out on the App Store. One of the best music instruments I’ve seen so far on the iPhone – from a great musician, too!

I won’t go through all the fuss and rumors about the next version of the iPhone… but indeed, I’m sure that we’re ready for big surprises tomorrow; for the moment, I know that tonight I’ll be attending sfMacIndie, and tomorrow evening the iPhone Intelligence party; I hope to meet many of you this week!


I’m sure the pun between the acronym for “NeXT Interface Builder” and this definition of “cocoa beans” is intentional, but it surprised me anyway:

The beauty of Cocoa

(Highly geeky post ahead. You’ve been warned!)

I have found the very message that summarizes the beauty of Cocoa in a single word; see by yourselves, hereunder in line 47:

#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>
// The interface of a person
@interface Person : NSObject {
    NSString* firstName;
    NSString* lastName;
    int age;
// The implementation of the Person
@implementation Person
-(id)init {
    if (self = [super init]) {
        firstName = @"";
        lastName = @"";
        age = 0;
    return self;
-(void)dealloc {
    [firstName release];
    [lastName release];
    [super dealloc];
-(NSString*)description {
    return [[NSString alloc]
            initWithFormat:@"Name: %@ %@, %d years old",
            firstName, lastName, age];
// Some code using the Person class
int main (int argc, const char * argv[]) {
    NSAutoreleasePool * pool = [[NSAutoreleasePool alloc] init];
    NSMutableDictionary* dict = [[[NSMutableDictionary alloc] init] autorelease];
    [dict setObject:@"Teto" forKey:@"firstName"];
    [dict setObject:@"Rodriguez" forKey:@"lastName"];
    [dict setObject:[[NSNumber alloc] initWithInt:34] forKey:@"age"];
    Person* person = [[[Person alloc] init] autorelease];
    // The beauty of Cocoa can be resumed to this very line:
    [person setValuesForKeysWithDictionary:dict];
    // Now sit back and relax:
    NSLog([person description]);
    [pool drain];
    return 0;

Pastrami Sandwich

I find many similarities between an event like WWDC and a similar one I’ve attended at Redmond long ago; both are big (huge!) events, with thousands of (men) engineers from around the world (and very few women), with a keynote by the founder, lots of events every morning and afternoon, and merchandasing stuff all over the way. And of course, in both cases you get food boxes for lunch.

However, there is one basic difference between both events. Apple not only has interesting technologies to show up, even bleeding edge ones, more often than not on the open and public domain (many of which I can not write about, and boy they are going to make a difference!), but even better than that, it has a vision.

And passion. Cocoa developers are among the most passionate I’ve ever met, and you just can’t find that in a Microsoft event. You can feel that in the (conditioned) air of the Moscone center, almost touch it. New projects everywhere. People discussing about their ideas. Lots of collaboration, openness and willingness to go further. Microsoft’s stuff is, well, boring at best; dull and gray. Enterprise IT is no fun, believe me, but there’s no reason to try to look at it in a different way. And faithful to its own way, Apple is precisely doing that, right now; and what’s about to come will reshape the industry forever.

As Steve Jobs announced yesterday, the iPhone is now ready for the enterprise, given that the majority of companies here and there use Exchange as the basic means of communication. Now the iPhone is ready to access all that information, and I while I can’t tell you more, this is the just the first step. iPhones will be an important player in the enterprise landscape in the future months.

On the other hand, well, Microsoft is asleep. The sales of Macs are booming, and more and more shops are shifting to it. The iPhone is sold out, the WWDC is sold out, a new wave of iPhones is about to hit the street, and there’s much, much more in store for the future.

Personally, I think that the center of gravity of the consumer software industry has shifted (pay attention to the tense of the verb I used). There is one and only clear leader, and that’s Apple. Microsoft should concentrate its effors in what it does best (I think), which is enterprise products, and stop delivering crappy operating systems every 5 years. Any advantage they had 10 years ago has just vanished, and that’s mainly Microsoft’s own fault. Ballmer should have resigned long ago. But again, as Joel said, they have enough cash to continue screwing things up for a long time.

In the meantime, I’m finishing my pastrami sandwich, sitting right beside the Mission conference room, waiting for the next session. I’m actually here in San Francisco and I can barely believe it.

WWDC 2008 Keynote Main Points

The keynote is over, and I’m on the 2nd floor of the Moscone Center sipping a coffee and thinking about all the stuff that Steve and his team just presented:

  • The new iPhone 3G with GPS will go live on July 11th in several countries, including Switzerland! And best of all, the price of the 8 GB model drops to 199 USD, and the 16 GB model (in two different colors) will cost 299 USD. And even more important, is that the price will be 199 or 299 USD no matter what country you’re in! Given the low cost of the dollar these days, for me this simply means that Apple will grab a good slice of the market within a few months. This makes the platform all the more interesting!
  • The App Store will not be the only means of distribution for native applications using the SDK; enterprises will be able to distribute them to their own devices, and even common mortals will be able to enable up to 100 devices, and apps distributed this way will be able to be activated from e-mail, websites or whatever means you need. More ways to get your code through the door!
  • The iPhone becomes a serious enterprise platform; not only will enterprises be able to use their own distribution platforms, the integration with Exchange is complete, and the support for MS Office documents is there too. As well as native support for iWork apps!
  • .mac is replaced by mobileme; with a price tag of 99 per year, users get 20 GB of storage “on the cloud”, for storing images, e-mail, calendars or contacts, together with extremely advanced Web 2.0 applications, and integration with iPhone, Mac and PCs. “Exchange for the rest of us”, as they presented it! Instant sync from any device, anytime, anywhere.
  • There will be a notification service for apps, which will allow them to show status information for users, without resorting to background threads; this will apparently work with a central server (at Apple’s own premises?) with a single IP connection. In any case, they’ve listened to the concern of many developers; this feature is (in my opinion) the last bit that the platform lacked to be considered seriously.

This is for the main bits. Of course there was a lot more shown, but you’ll be able to watch it in its entirety in a few hours, since the keynote will be available on Apple’s site.

Incredible stuff. Stay tuned for more info!

Waiting for the Keynote

Twitter’s down, but not my blog! I’m in the main Moscone conference room waiting for the start fo the keynote; there are thousands of people here! “Roll over Beethoven” is sounding all over the place…

The air is filled with electricity. This won’t last long. Just a few minutes more, and we’ll know what’s in the box.