Apple lulls developers to sleep at hardware-less WWDC

Apple lulls developers to sleep at hardware-less WWDC

Summary: Unless you're particularly into games or operating system software, today's WWDC announcements were probably a bit of a snooze-fest. I don't know about you, but I'm a hardware guy.


Unless you're particularly into games or operating system software, today's WWDC announcements were probably a bit of a snooze-fest. I don't know about you, but I'm a hardware guy. Hardware is tangible, tactile and there's an emotional component to hardware that I don't get from software – but that's me.

Today's WWDC keynote was completely hardware-free, a first in six years. WWDC used to be the show where no hardware was announced but that changed in 2002. Let's review what hardware Apple has announced at previous WWDCs:

  • 2002 - Xserve (*first hardware announcement)
  • 2003 - Power Macintosh G5, iSight camera
  • 2004 - Redesigned Apple Cinema Displays (flat-panel, aluminum)
  • 2005 - PPC to Intel Migration
  • 2006 - Mac Pro (Intel Zeon) and Intel Xserve

WWDC 2007 will probably go down in history as the year of Leopard but there a few other things that Apple glossed over in today's keynote address (hardware notwithstanding).

After watching the video stream, the WWDC keynote address sounded overly quiet to me. There was an awkward silence the entire time that Jobs discussed that Leopard was 64-bit "top to bottom." (Yawn.) The obvious exceptions were loud applause for a couple Steve's very well-scripted jokes, and polite applause for some of the more eye-catching visual features of the OS.

I've got to agree with Mary Jo Foley on this one - Leopard looks like Vista!

Developers were obviously perturbed at the lack of details on the iPhone at WWDC. The absence of an SDK or API for them to sink their teeth into is a glaring omission and it may cost Apple dearly. Apple attempted to address the development issue by announcing that iPhone would support Web 2.0 applications. Seriously. They even released a press release touting that "applications created using Web 2.0 standards can extend iPhone’s capabilities without compromising its reliability or security." What?!

And where was the talk about the new ZFS file system? Sun Microsystems chief executive Jonathan Schwartz told us more about ZFS in a slip up last week than Jobs told his top developers. Developers don't care about Spaces, the dock or movie time widgets. Same thing during the iChat demo. Crickets could be heard chirping in Moscone West. Eye candy like that should be shown to the more consumer-oriented audience at Macworld Expo.

Attendees even laughed at Steve when he tried to say that Boot Camp was better than Parallels because it is "more compatible." It happens at about 42:59 into the stream.

Once the reality distortion field fades, I think that most people will agree that the WWDC 2007 keynote wasn't one of the best. In fact it may have been one of the worst in recent memory.

Rather than re-watch the WWDC 2007 keynote stream again I opted to watch The Sopranos series finale over again. And that speaks volumes.

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Topics: Apple, Hardware, Software Development

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  • WWDC07

    Generally agree with your comments. It was not a very interesting
    presentation. However I take exception to this one:

    "Attendees even laughed at Steve when he tried to say that Boot Camp was
    better than Parallels because it is 'more compatible.' It happens at about
    42:59 into the stream."

    Surely they were laughing at the screen content for Windows which showed
    minesweeper and Solitaire as Apps running on Bootcamp...
  • A homerun!!

    Nice blog. I agree with 100% of what you wrote. Especially these quotes:
    [i]Leopard looks like Vista!

    And where was the talk about the new ZFS file system?

    Attendees even laughed at Steve when he tried to say that Boot Camp was better than Parallels because it is ?more compatible.

    Once the reality distortion field fades, I think that most people will agree that the WWDC 2007 keynote wasn?t one of the best. In fact it may have been one of the worst in recent memory.[/i]

    Keep up the great work!
  • You do understand what a developers conference is for?

    "Unless you?re particularly into games or operating system software, today?s
    WWDC announcements were probably a bit of a snooze-fest."

    Just who do you think attends a DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE? Maybe DEVELOPERS
    who are interested in applications (e.g. game) and operating system components.

    The list of Apple hardware announcements at past WWDCs demonstrates, they are
    all coding challenges for new architectures of integrate hardware or new market
    opportunity for DEVELOPERS.

    Not that we'd expect to see any of the ZDNet bloggers at any of the technical
    Richard Flude
    • A Developers Conf is for Developers ...

      And how much of the keynote covered important/cool/useful topics for developers, like: XCode, Objective C++, etc?

      • WWDC

        Keynote is for the press and the fanbois contingent, conference is for software developers -- the ones that used to be called programmers. More of a "get-togther" geek-fest and training conference on Mac tools, for Mac developers, than anything else.

        As far as the press is concerned, anything short of a human-implantable iPhone or a 1TB iPod announcment would be disappointing.
  • Where is the...

    Where is the Mac Mini upgrade? This is the lowest-priced Mac out there, and it is being ignored by Apple. It's been a long time since it was updated... it really needs more default RAM, a larger hard drive and maybe more.

    I am very disappointed in what I saw, heard and read yesterday.
    • I don't expect the Mac Mini Upgrade

      Unless Steve Jobs wants to keep that project going for some reason or another, I don't see it happening. The Mac Mini just wasn't generating as much buzz as it did when it first hit the market, and unless they get a very serious upgrade, I don't see it happening.

      I think the major failing was the quickness to abandon the $499 price tag.

      When I first heard of that, I was interested, now at $599, I don't see the benefit.
  • So so...

    Yes, Apple is doing a great job at adding razzle dazzle to Leopard, but you can only
    polish the Apple so much. At some point you've got to eat it, or sell, or plant it, or
    do something with it. The WWDC just wasn't all that exciting. Developer
    Conferences are supposed to be about the future, not the past. We saw 90% of this
    stuff last year; in less polished forms. We needed to see new things this year. We
    need to know where Apple is going past October, what are we supposed to be
    doing after then, after Leopard ships and we have no road map?

    Is it worth our time to be Apple developers if Apple is going to run the same dog
    and pony shows year in and year out? Is it worth our time, if they really don't get it
    about the importance of web-based computing and that their real competitor isn't
    Microsoft but rather Google? Is it worth our time to even go to the developer
    conference if it is just going to be a style show or a Microsoft roast rather then a
    serious conference about the future?

    And why do some developers get a development copy of Leopard, but other's don't
    (based on whether they could afford to attend the conference), even though they all
    paid the same amount of money for developer memberships that supposedly
    included pre-release software as part of the deal? That alone is probably enough to
    encourage some people to give up on Apple and start developing for the
    competition -- which ironically is exactly what Apple did themselves when they told
    people to develop for their iPhone apps with web 2.0 rather then to give them an
    iPhone developer package. Web 2.0 is platform agnostic and without platform,
    where is Apple?
  • WWDC Highlight

    I think the high point was when John Carmack took the stage to announce idTech5 for Mac. Gaming on a Mac? My hopes is that hopefully gamers for Macs stop getting ignored.
  • What was missing from the WWDC?

    Ah, yes: [i]innovation[/i]

    O'Grady is a blogger, so his attention span for truly technical things is naturally
    going to be short. Everyone else making comments, who isn't at the conference, is
    just commenting out of ignorance.

    This is largest attended conference, by developers, EVER. I'm seeing future
    technology here that is positioning Mac OS X technologies as the best integrated
    platforms: from servers to desktop to mobile devices. This event is awesome.
    • The force is with you.

      Nope, it's just Steve's insanely famous Reality Distortion Field. Have fun with that!
    • You Don't Get Out Much Do You?

      >This is largest attended conference, by developers, EVER.

      Never been to a PDC or TechEd? Or a CA Developers conference? Or even Java One. These are also developer conferences and it is not uncommon to get about 10 to 15 thousand folks. The Apple conference has about 5,000 which is good, but not the largest attended conference by developers.

      Though it does say plenty of the blinders that you folks might be having on.

    Or 'Technology' either, for that matter.

    You just have to be at this conference to know that it's a week long event, full of
    technical information about Apple cutting edge technology. It's for developers. It
    is not about the keynote as the yellow journal bloggers of ZDNet would have you

    Why anyone bothers reading ZDNet, is beyond me. This institution is just a rag.
    Apple is turning the corner with some very exciting technology, and all ZDNet can
    focus on is mood. Every description O'Grady and Foley write about the reactions
    of the audience at the keynote is WRONG. There is a lot of deep stuff going on
    with Apple development technologies. The Leopard roadmap makes one think
    very deeply. It's not negative, but thought provoking. Of course O'Grady and
    Foley focus on the superficial things only. They're not technology writers.

    Foley shouldn't be invited to Apple events, she even admits she knows nothing
    about Apple technologies. And O'Grady shouldn't be writing about developers
    conferences. It's obviously above his head.
    • Good lord....

      You people go absolutely rabid when someone dares to criticize anything having to do with Apple, don't you?
      Hallowed are the Ori
    • Please, it's not that bad

      Steve Jobs' keynotes are frequently newsworthy. I read ZDNet because it carries
      news and commentary and I think I can discern the difference and evaluate
      accordingly; thank goodness I have my own experiential frame of reference. Foley
      and O'Grady report on what they observe and are providing an evaluative eye-
      witness reporting of an event I care about. Pure objectivity is impossible but,
      please notice that both journalists are up front over their frames of reference. Jon
      Gruber's (Daring Fireball) first blog from WWDC suggests O'Grady's and Foley's
      interpretations are pretty much correct.

      And folks, YinToYourYang's basic point that the WWDC is more than the keynote is
      correct. For the Apple developer community, the more reasoned assessment of
      WWDC 07's success will be found in the discussions on July 12, not June 12. These
      will not be reported by the general interest tech journalism sites because these are
      not general interest topics.

      Nontheless, the keynote is the general interest item and it is a basic truth that
      most of what the people outside of the hall will know of the WWDC is found there.
      • Having gone to a decade+ of conferences

        I have gone to over a decade+ of conferences. Yes there is more to the conference outside of the keynote. BUT the keynote sets the stage for the conference. The idea keynote is supposed to be this general interest item that could be flashy, thought provoking, or mind blasting. If a keynote is none of that then the keynote was not worth its talk.

        The sessions outside of the keynote are specific and will focus on aspects of the keynote (if the conference is well planned.)

        No I think Apple might have run out of ideas... Ok, that is stretching it a bit. But I wonder if the hit train has ended. And no the iPhone will not be the hit that everybody thinks it will be. It will do fine, but the competition has already released iPhone competitors.

      hey YinToYourYang from reading your post it seems you don't get out much it seems like you have what we in IT call Mac worship,

      your own words "The Leopard roadmap makes one think very deeply"

      just from reading this i can see your the type that thinks of job's as some kind of demigod and not a meir human.

      it's just an OS and hardware you apple lovers need to get deprogrammed.

      thats where if you've been brainwashed you go and learn how to think on your own again ;)
      SO.CAL Guy
  • Perhaps expectations were in the reality distortion field?

    I'm seeing a lot of complaints about the WWDC 2007 keynote all over the web.

    Though some are perhaps valid, I can't help but wonder how much higher the general opinion would be if Apple used the conference to also release the new MacBook Pros instead of doing so last week. And how much higher still if they released the iPhone there as well... It shows how fickle people are - they are too used to being blown away by Apple announcements, and so when less exciting or spread out, they react by unjustly bashing them instead.

    Regarding Jason's comments:

    1. 'Lack of hardware announcments'. MBPs were announced last week and iPhone is in less than 3. Not good enough for you?

    2. 'Yawn at 64-bit'. Do you understand the implications of what's possible with 64-bit? Cleary not.

    3. 'Leopard looks like Vista' - are you kidding me? Aside from some minor similarites (transparent menu, etc), they are MILES apart, moreso than ever before. Saying Leopard looks like Vista based on such minor detail is like saying a Ferrari looks like a Bicycle because they 'both have wheels'.

    4. 'iPhone SDK' - Apple never implied one was coming. In fact, they implied the opposite. So to announce that Web 2.0 is supported is an improvement over the previous situation. Yet it's bashed. Also, I think you are underestimating what's possible with Web 2.0. Think Google docs. Think YouTube. Think of the fact that the same app will run on your main machine. Think less memory usage. I, for one, am excited.

    5. 'ZFS' - I agree ZFS would be an awesome announcement, buts its just one of dozens of speculative potential announcements that weren't mentioned - be patient.

    6. 'Laughing at Boot camp' - they were clearly laughing at solitaire / minesweeper. Boot camp IS more compatible than parallels. You can do EVERYTHING on windows in boot camp whereas parallels has definite limitations (though version 3 looks to be awesome)

    Personally, I think Leopard looks great. It has taken Tiger and refined it, made it more consistent, furthered the development APIs, and generally made an awesome product more awesome.

    I will agree with Jason on the point that perhaps Steve spent to much time talking about iChat, widgets, etc, which are more suited to Macworld. I would have liked to have seen more Core Animation demos and evidence of its ease of use, as well as features of the new Xcode, etc. I also think Apple would benefit from releasing a public beta of Leopard instead of limited developer copies.

    Finally, I have to laugh when I read comments from people complaining about specific Apple features or non-announcements, or threaten moving to Windows. Do you know what? Go for it. Do you think Apple cares more about the 1% of highly-opinionated, hard-to-please geek users, or the 99% of us who just simply enjoy using great products, and make the most of our lives the rest of the time.
    • Perhaps expectations were in the reality distortion field?

      'Yawn at 64-bit'. Do you understand the implications of what's possible with 64-bit? Cleary not.

      hmmmmmmm 64 bit has been around for a few years now apples late again nothing really new here.

      iPhone what is the big deal about the iPhone there are phones out there that will do what the iphone does all ready so again apple is late again.

      'iPhone SDK' - Apple never implied one was coming. In fact, they implied the opposite. well on other phones you have kits to program with and you can program with web 2.0 so i guess apple wants to be late again.

      usually what you get in apple as far as hardware has been around awhile and Steve Finlay says lets invent this like it something that is not all ready out there.

      or he just says it because he know the mac zealots will believe it's the latest cutting edge technology.
      SO.CAL Guy