WWDC 2012 – Opening Day

Whoa! Hey! It has been a really long time since I have posted anything new and for that I am truly sorry. Looks like my last update was from The Big Nerd Ranch’s incredible Advanced iOS class near Atlanta. Interestingly, a few months later, I find that my next post is from the World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco – WWDC 2012.

Nearly 2500 miles and hundreds of hours of development time exist between these great developer experiences and I find myself working harder than ever developing new apps and crunching as much iOS knowledge as possible. I have a lot I would like to say about what I have been doing since my trip to the BNR but for now I want to focus on today’s Keynote.

Last year around this time, I was attending my very first WWDC and was able to see Steve Jobs do one of his last (if not the last) presentations. It was amazing to get to see and hear him live! His enthusiasm and presentation style can fully energize a room like none other that I know. I truly missed the way he would always save something special and spectacular for the end – “…one more thing.”

This morning we didn’t have Steve nor “one more thing”, but that didn’t stop the crowd. WWDC 2012 sold out in 1 hour and 43 minutes. Thanks to some great friends, I was one of the exuberant few who were fortunate to purchase a ticket.

This morning, I slept a bit later than I did on Keynote day last year but still joined the line 2.5 hours before show time. At that point it wrapped completely around the block surrounding Moscone West with many people already inside. Regardless, we slowly marched around the block to roughly where we had started over the next 2+ hours. The weather was beautiful with pure blue skies and tremendous amounts of hot sunshine which was in surprising stark contrast to last year’s weather.

Despite my late arrival to the line, I was fortunate enough to get into the main room and make my way up one side about half way up the room just a couple of minutes before a special introduction to the conference from Siri. The Siri intro was quite comical and set a great tone for Tim Cook to take the stage. Tim doesn’t yet have Steve’s presentational polish, but it was clear over the next couple of hours that he has successfully led the team of magic elves that reside in Cupertino. They have really been cooking some great stuff since WWDC2011.

Three main announcements were featured: updates to the Mac notebooks, updates to OS-X, and updates to iOS. All three had nuggets of goodness that caused many a developer to sit straight up on the edge of their seat.

The next generation MacBook Pro really is pretty amazing. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, the resolution and performance appear to be top notch. I really wish they had released this a month ago when I had to get a new MBP! The attention to detail and care in even the placement and efficiency of its fans received huge approval from the audience. It is hard to imagine running a screen with 2880×1800 resolution!

The Mountain Lion update for OS-X is set to arrive next month (July) and is only going to cost $19.99 to upgrade all of the computers in your household! The features of particular interest to me are full air-play support (I have two AppleTV’s and AirPort Express so big YAY), more iCloud integration, Reminders, and iMessage! With these changes, I may actually move to Reminders and off of Google Tasks. I have been wanting completely integrated reminder functionality across all of my devices for a long time! If your home computing and mobile ecosystem is completely Apple, you will really benefit from this release. Notification and Safari updates are pretty sweet too.

The area of most professional interest to me is the announcement of iOS6. As with Mountain Lion, there were more than 200 new features added. The biggest new feature here is a completely new mapping system. Google Maps has been replaced and while I was skeptical when I heard the earlier rumors, the demos today were amazing! We FINALLY get turn-by-turn directions but with Siri integration. I know my Google friends are laughing as they have had turn-by-turn for years. Regardless, the integration of features now has a very complete feel to it. When demoed, the progression of asking about restaurants, seeing the map complete with 3D flyover, and integration with Yelp for reviews and Open Table for reservations looks elegant and has that fluidity and user experience finesse that makes you feel like it has always existed and just works.

Well, I need to get to sleep as day two starts tomorrow! I have taken many pictures and will hopefully update this to share some shortly. Not sure if it will be this week as the wireless in our hotel is more than a bit spotty especially since it is full of people downloading the latest updates and betas.

Happy WWDC 2012 everyone!

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