Search This Blog

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC)

One of my colleagues, and one of our top software developers/architects attended the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developers conference in San Francisco.

This conference is so popular it sold out within 20 minutes of the announcement.

It is the most popular travel destination for anyone interested in technology !

Luckily, Scott Newman is very nimble and he secured a spot to represent National Geographic.

Much of what was discussed at the conference is under a tight Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), so it cannot be discussed here,  but Scott has summarized the highlights from the Monday keynote address which is available in the public domain.

Below are the highlights from Scott:

Apple's 23rd Worldwide Developer Conference was held in San Francisco, California, from June 11-15, 2012. Apple's latest operating system for iPhone and iPad, iOS6, was announced. The 8th major release of the desktop operating system, OSX 10.8 "Mountain Lion" was also announced. National Geographic took home an Apple Design Award in the iPhone category for the National Parks Application.

iOS Adoption

iOS 5, the most recent version of the iPad and iPhone operating system, has an 80% adoption rate in 9 months. The latest version of the Android OS, 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" has a 7% adoption rate in the same time period. (VP Scott Forstall referred to it as "Google's Dairy Product")


The latest version of the iOS will be released around September. (It will not be available on iPad 1st-gen devices) Overall, this could be considered a minor incremental release with more "under the hood" changes for developers. While there aren't many visible enhancements for users, they will undoubtedly benefit from the 3rd party app developers who are better equipped to develop very stable applications more quickly than before.

Mountain Lion

Apple's latest desktop operating system, OSX 10.8 "Mountain Lion" is scheduled to be released in July. High-level feature enhancements include better iCloud integration with iOS devices, improvements to the mail client, a notification system to better control pop-up messages, Game Center support for desktop gaming (and compatible with iOS-based Game Center titles), Power Nap (which will let certain background processes run while the computer is asleep), and built-in diction support for all text-input. (Wherever you can type, you can dictate - applications will not have to be rebuilt to support this feature)

Safari Improvements

Safari 6.0 will be released with Mountain Lion and a developer preview is currently available. Performance improvements to the Javascript Engine ("Nitro") were announced, some HTML5 Audio and Video improvements, and an "iCloud Tabs" feature that will allow a user to share open tabs between desktop and iOS devices. (for example, on your iPhone you can view all the tabs you have open on your desktop)

Siri Enhancements for iOS6

Siri, the voice-controlled personal assistant, will be available on the iPad 3rd-generation with iOS6. In addition to enhanced local search reviews from Yelp, users will be able to get sports and movie information via voice search. No developer API for Siri was announced.

Social Media Integration with iOS6

In addition to the built-in Twitter functionality, (released with iOS5) Facebook and Sina Weibo (a Chinese social network) will also have built-in support for sharing. This will make it easier for apps to leverage social sharing without having to add and configure additional software libraries, and users won't have to keep re-entering their credentials when they want to share via these services.

Map Updates for iOS6

Apple has replaced Google maps with their own technologies featuring vector tiles, Yelp integration, and 3D maps. Turn-by-turn route guidance with Siri support is also available. These features are available in iOS6 only. Traffic information is being anonymously "crowd sourced" to help provide realtime traffic data based on the current speeds of devices with the Maps application open. There are 3D maps available for iPhone 4S and iPad 3rd-gen devices with a "flyover" feature that allows rotation and panning in 3D space.

PassBook for iOS6

There is now a built-in application to manage a collection of tickets, cards, passes, and coupons. 3rd party apps can design their own content to go into this application. The content will be available from the lock screen for quick access via time-baed or geofence activation. (for example, your Starbucks card can pop up automatically when you enter a Starbucks location or your train ticket will pop up as the boarding time approaches)

Photo Enhancements for iOS6

You can now share your photo stream with other users. (Via iOS or the web) It is now possible to add photos to email messages in-line. (instead of having to start a new email to send a photo) Photo uploads are now available in Mobile Safari with the <input type="file"> tag. This is great for mobile web applications that want to allow user-submitted content without having to deploy a native application.

Privacy Enhancements for iOS6

Applications will now have to ask for explicit permission to access photos, contacts, calendars, and reminders. (Previously, granting permission for location allowed photo library access) These permissions are individually revokable by the user via the standard settings application.

VIP, Do Not Disturb, and Call Rejection Features in iOS6

A new feature in iOS6 is the ability to designate certain contacts as "VIPs". There is a separate VIP Inbox in the mail client and customizable notifications. Another interesting feature is "Do Not Disturb", which will prevent all incoming calls, messages, notifications, etc. during the hours you specify and/or on-demand via the settings application. Items will still arrive, but no sounds will be emitted and the screen will not light up (a great feature for nighttime) during these periods. There is a customizable whitelist of contacts that can bypass these restrictions and the ability to set a 3-call bypass. (If someone calls 3 times in a row, they can get through). Incoming calls on iOS6 will now display a "reject call" button that will allow you to automatically send a canned response to the caller. (Such as "In Meeting, Will Call Back Later")
FaceTime for iOS

One notable enhancement is that FaceTime video chat will now be available over cellular networks instead of wifi-only.

Apple TV 

Despite persistent rumors leading up to the conference, nothing was publicly announced related to the Apple TV.

Apple Design Award

National Geographic won an Apple Design Award in the iPhone category for the National Parks application.

Retina Macbook Pro

The first high-density display (Retina) Macbook Pro was announced. The 15" screen packs a 2880x1800 pixels. USB 3 and Thunderbolt are both supported. (and the USB port is universal, there is no separate port for USB3)

Public Note: The information above was discussed during the Monday keynote address and is not covered by NDA. No Apple confidential material is discussed above.

1 comment:

  1. HTML5 Developers is growing field these days because of variety of hybrid and native applications.HTML5 Developers can come up with single applications that offers many features, being complex in nature.