WWDC22 – What Changed? Apple started an annual “Worldwide Developer Conference” in 1983 (I know, crazy, right!) and has been doing this annually ever since. However, it wasn’t until around 2002 that Apple released significant changes to the OS and new features and combined this conference into an all-around event. Thus, I have witnessed many WWDCs since I began being an iOS Developer 12 years ago.
A typical WWDC comprises:
- A significant increment to all operating systems (iOS, macOS, watchOS and iPadOS)
- A platform to release critical pieces of hardware (Mac Pro, Apple Watch etc.)
- An event to allow many developers to meet up in the heart of California to watch sessions from Apple Engineers.
The Past Two Years
We can all relate to how difficult the last two years have been, and the entire world was dealt a pandemic that nobody would ever imagine. In surreal lockdown events, everyone was forced to work remotely almost over a 24hour period.
Indeed, this impacted many lives in ways nobody could ever imagine. That might have been financial, losing loved ones or feeling isolated from the outside world. In addition, it meant that many events, including WWDC, would go online to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
I don’t think many people were surprised by this decision, but as we move from a pandemic to an endemic, the thought of an in-person WWDC was a hot topic in the community.
My Thoughts on the Future
I have worked in an office my entire working life, waking up at 7 AM and commuting to arrive at 8 AM to finish work at 5 PM then and commute home for the arrival of 6 PM (If I was lucky!). This meant I would be sitting to eat dinner (usually without my family) at 7 PM, at which point I was preparing for the next day ahead.
In general, this is an unhealthy work/life balance (I don’t think many of us realized this at the time). I never imagined working from home could ever work for me. Still, as I have now seen the enormous advantages of remote working, spending more time with my family and generally utilizing my time better, I am not sure I could go back to that work/life balance.
However, I have always advocated for in-person connections, and there are certainly some things you can’t recreate across Zoom. One of those is that human-to-human connection and networking with people you don’t usually. So, therefore, I was thrilled to see WWDC had an in-person event and its online sessions in 2022.
What Changed in 2022?
I am not entirely sure what was different this year, but something was very different, in my opinion.
For example, it’s always been relatively rare to see Apple executives getting closer to the developers, and even Apple engineers often had difficulty tracking them down. Still, there feels like a natural urge to get closer and understand the pain points.
This WWDC comprised many new features (but not overwhelming with too many); the features announced feel stable and complete. Not only this, but WWDC22 included many stability improvements from tooling to documentation. We all know how important it is to focus on tooling stability; I think many developers would allow a WWDC only to comprise this.
There was also a massive push on indie developers, watching Jordi Bruin getting featured on the App Store Twitter page, pictures emerging on Twitter speaking with Craig and many more.
Perhaps it was the urgent need for reconnecting post-COVID pandemic, I am not sure, but whatever it was, may it continue 🙏
The WWDC22 Schedule
It started by opening an invitation for a select amount of registered Apple Developers to attend an in-person WWDC. If you were randomly selected, then you would receive an email invitation.
If you were lucky enough to be selected, the event kicked off on Sunday 5th June with a tour of the brand new Apple Developer Center; this is a new office space inside Apple Campus with meeting rooms, a theatre, podcast studio, + much more. It’s state-of-the-art with the most powerful technology you could imagine.
Then, you would be invited to the Apple Campus to watch the Keynote and State of the Union, alongside other developers and Apple Employees.
Of course, many of the sessions were pre-recorded and available online; the above is everything that happened in person. Still, many developers networked outside of Apple Campus, which created a considerable buzz in the area. In my opinion, this is the essential part.
On the surface, not much has changed, but something huge changed this year for me.
I witnessed a great deal of engagement from Apple:
- Employee’s meeting with developers to discuss problems
- A tremendous amount of enthusiasm on the Slack Channels to help everyone
- Apple employee’s responding on Twitter to gather feedback
- Craig, Tim and all the upper Apple management were also seen engaging with folk around the campus.
- Vast amounts of documentation & sample code.
This all sounds very basic, and perhaps you’re thinking, “this happens each year”, but honestly, I have never witnessed this level… ever!
I tweeted about this and look at the responses (including from Apple Employees).
Perhaps this is the new Apple
Perhaps Apple is becoming more grounded with the industry, less secretive and more engaging and realizing that engaging with developers is the way to secure a more sustainable business, teaching the next generation of Apple Developers with Swift and SwiftUI.
It’s no surprise really, when you look at the Apple Developer community it’s large but it could probably be larger, especially when we look at the next generation who will likely be learning Swift & SwiftUI. This makes sense because when I started iOS development it was all about Objective-C and the learning curve was steep, I guess Apple want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
I am a huge fan of this hence why I share much of my knowledge online or in my job, I love teaching others, advocating for sharing knowledge with others and generally being open to new ideas.
It’s fascinating to watch and observe; nevertheless, I hope this is the new normal.
I have been watching The Talk Show since I started iOS development, and watching the last 5 minutes made me reminisce, bringing a tear to my eye. I sense change, and I hope it continues.
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and observations. I had this discussion on Twitter if you’re interested in feeding back your comments.
You can read about all the announcements during WWDC22 by visiting this page.