WWDC In Review

Well here we are, I’m back home and getting rested and settled after a full week of WWDC activities. This was my second time out, first time in San Jose, and all in all it was a blast. Say what you will about Apple, but they sure know how to put on a great conference (although as usual the food was never quite appealing enough that I didn’t want to go out and grab a super burrito.)

One of the biggest highlights was actually the Birds! My friends and I were staying at an amazing AirBnB in Japantown a couple of miles away from the convention center. I was planning on just walking the distance, but once I realized just how prevalent these amazingly fun scooters were I just leaned into taking those back and forth. The trip usually took no more than fifteen minutes, and cost about $2, much cheaper than taking Lyfts back and forth and much faster than walking (especially since I got to the conference a few times and realized that my badge was back at the apartment.)

Another highlight of this year was that I decided after Tuesday that I didn’t really love waiting in big lines and sitting in crowds to watch the sessions that I could easily watch from my phone anywhere in the conference center, or even back at the apartment on the couch. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to be able to sit right there and share my excitement with the Engineers on stage by being a part of the applause (I was particularly excited when they announced in What’s New In watchOS that workout apps would auto-resume after a crash,) but I found the solution to my “I don’t have any particular questions for the labs” issue. Turns out if you just wander around the labs the engineers are pretty good about reaching out to see if you want to learn anything, regardless on if you have questions, so I just started spending my days in the labs toying around with the new APIs and getting up to ask questions whenever I had one. At one point I was looking for a couch to work on and an engineer at the CarPlay asked if I was looking for any help on that, and even though I didn’t have any intentions of building a mapping app for CarPlay I was able to talk through with an engineer how it works, what the limitations were, and got to ask some longstanding questions I’ve had about how CarPlay works under the hood, which was a lot of fun!

One quick gripe about the experience, T-Mobile, while perfectly fine here out east, was practically unusable in California. I was a lot more disconnected than I wish I had been from work and my wife back east, not to mention my friends in San Jose, because pretty much any event that didn’t feature Wi-Fi I was completely unreachable. Next year I will be seriously thinking about getting a pre-paid SIM on a larger network so hopefully I don’t run into those problems.

Lastly, I really enjoyed my hour in the Apple Podcast Studio. Apple provided a really beautiful place to record, with mics for up to four attendees, and really helpful engineers to answer any questions we had and balance all of our audio feeds. At the end of the session they provided us with a small USB (A 🙃) drive with a Logic project and the .wav files for each mic, as well as a studio mix. It was an experience I’m really glad I tried out, and thanks a lot to Steve Ciauri, César Pinto Castillo, and Andrew Sowers for helping me explore new things and for being great co-hosts. Still having some issues with Podcast Connect preventing me from getting the feed onto the directory, but for now you should be able to add the feed url directly to your Podcast player of choice. Introducing CastKit!

That’s certainly not all of my feelings on this last, amazing week, but I need to switch gears and get back to thinking about my job-y-job and catching up on all the Slack threads I was ignoring all week. But all in all I had a great time, learned a lot, met some great people, geeked out over meeting Podcast hosts whose work I really love, and ultimately came to the decision that I will definitely want to make this pilgrimage on a yearly basis. Thanks again to the wonderful engineers and staff who had so much impact on making this week a success, and I’ll see you next year! 👋📱⌚️💻🛴🍻