WWDC Day 5

As I write this, WWDC16 has officially come to an end. It’s been one crazy ride, and one that I will never forget. Thanks to everyone who made it so great, from the staff at Apple, to the fellow attendees and scholars. Everyone I’ve met this week has been approachable and great to talk to. The advantage of being in a building with thousands of other geeks with a common interest is that there’s always something to talk about, and fortunately others seemed to agree. I’ve met so many unique and friendly individuals this week, and they helped make this week as incredible as it was.

Today was the sixth day of socialising with fellow scholars, and yet I still met so many that I hadn’t seen up until this point. Continuing with the trend of being as social as possible, I enjoyed an afternoon coffee with a designer at Apple as well as an iOS developer at Twitter - both of whom used to live in Australia and have since moved over to California with their families. It was rather interesting to hear their stories and experiences.

I have to say, the coolest part of the day was meeting and chatting with CGP Grey in person. I’d seen some Tweets during the week about him hanging around the conference, but due to his mysterious nature didn’t expect to run into him. I won’t say much, apart from his voice is as cool in real life as in his videos and podcasts, and most importantly he’s a SUPER awesome dude. Grey couldn’t have been more friendly and was happy to hold a conversation, which I appreciated.

It was sad this afternoon to have to say goodbye to all the great people I’ve spent the week interacting with, but with social media technology (thanks, developers!) it’s easier than ever to keep in touch. It’s been an exciting, action-packed week and I am looking forward to attending WWDC again sometime in the future - at which time I’ll hopefully be able to meet everyone again.

Fun fact of the day: CGP Grey is, in fact, not a robot.

Tomorrow’s agenda: Hopefully sleep in, before packing, taking one last walk around San Francisco, then heading to the airport for a 17-hour journey back to Sydney.

Bye for now!

WWDC Day 4

Fourth day of the conference today and things continued as per usual during the day. I’m spending these last couple of days trying to talk to/meet as many people as possible and that began this morning going down the elevator on my way to the conference. The man in there was also on his way, and we spoke the whole 10 or so minute walk to Moscone West.

In between sessions today, I hung out in the scholars lounge as much as possible talking those those I hadn’t yet met. Even ended up meeting another fellow Aussie and a Kiwi scholar who were great to talk to. Adding to the list, I met up with the creator of the incredibly popular “Heart Watch” app, who is also Australian. We had a good chat about his app and lots of other things. From there, I found myself talking to even more Aussies. This time in a group, and most of them were from Melbourne. It was a bonus to make a contact with the person in charge of Developer Relations in Australia.

The most exciting part of the day was the annual WWDC Bash. Held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium this year, thousands of developers filled the hall waiting to watch Good Charlotte perform. Now, Good Charlotte are one of my favourite bands so I was very excited however I didn’t expect many others to be. Securing front row seats (or front-row standing room, I should say) was a huge bonus, and resulted in awesome photographs and a few great videos. It was fun to be so close to watch such a great band play live - a definite highlight of the trip so far! Now what I didn’t expect was how crazy the rest of the crowd were. Granted, most of the developers in the room stood around passively watching the show but there were some going a little crazy up near the front. Both Joel and Benji from the band made plenty of cheesy developer-target jokes that were very entertaining and got the crowd warmed up. My favourite would have to be Benji’s one-liner: “The guys at the Genius Bar are just wannabes compared to you.”

Fun fact of the day: It’s crazy, but the hardest I’ve ever “moshed” is now officially with a bunch of developers. Totally unexpected, right?

Tomorrow’s agenda: It’s the last day of WWDC. Haven’t quite planned the sessions and labs I’ll be going to yet, but I aim to spend a full day at Moscone West (from 9am-6pm), making the most of every second.

WWDC Day 3

Another great day in San Francisco! Today was a fairly early one, waking up to book in for a consultation at the conference. Following that, I took a trip to Blue Bottle Coffee for breakfast (my first visit so far this trip) a much loved coffee place by Australians. Short review: Meh, tasted like Gloria Jeans coffee so nothing special.

Following that I headed to Moscone West where I met up with some fellow scholars and spent time playing around with the new iOS 10 and watchOS 3 API’s. I then had a consultation with the App Store team which ended up down the rabbit hole of business model and monetisation strategies. Following this, I attended the session titled ‘Quick Interaction Techniques for watchOS.’ It was fairly interesting.

The best part of the day for me was attending a WatchKit lab where I took in some code I’d been struggling with and had a few Apple engineers take a look and help. I truly expected these labs to be a little daunting, but turns out the engineers are great and are always willing to help. Nothing was too much trouble, and no question was too small either.

The day at WWDC ended with three more sessions:
- Designing Great Apple Watch Experiences (best session of the day)
- Focus Interaction on tvOS (incredibly boring)
- Introducing SiriKit (interesting technology, however not relevant to any apps I ship at the moment due to Apple’s limitations on the type of app that can integrate with Siri)

Dinner took place in Little Italy after a nice walk through the streets of San Francisco, and was followed by a cable car ride back to the room.

Fun fact of the day: I spoke to an Apple engineer in a lab today who told me he gets a little starstruck when he is approached by a developer who he knows and respects, and/or whose apps he uses. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks of great app developers as pseudo-celebrities.

Tomorrow’s agenda: Well I haven’t planned my day properly yet, but I imagine it’ll involve coffee at Blue Bottle (again!), then a handful of labs and sessions at the conference. The highlight will undoubtedly be the WWDC Bash - which is a concert put on for WWDC attendees by Apple each year. Great news for me, Good Charlotte are playing this year! I couldn’t possibly have asked for a better band to play and it’s going to be awesome.

What Did Developers Think Of This Year's WWDC?

Zachary Simone from Western Sydney was one of eight Australians to win a scholarship to WWDC. He’s spent the last few days making as many contacts as possible.

“I’m most excited about iOS 10 opening parts of iOS up to developers. So things such as expanded 3D Touch, Maps, Siri and Messages. Messages being opened up is exciting because everyone likes to communicate in a different way and there are now opportunities for developers to create unique ways of sharing things.”

It was cool to speak to Peter Wells briefly about my thoughts on Apple’s WWDC announcements this year. 

WWDC Day 2

First day of “sessions.” There isn’t too much to say about today. I mean, it was super awesome and I had an awesome time, but there isn’t much that anyone who isn’t me would find interesting.

I decided to have a fairly easy day today, fresh off of a long day of lining up for Keynotes. Fortunately the alarm didn’t go off until 7:45, but I’m pretty sure I snoozed until just after 8. This left me in a rush to get ready, but the extra sleep was definitely worth it! After having looked through the list of todays sessions and labs last night on the WWDC app, enough sessions (six, in fact) interested me enough to ensure I didn’t book any labs or consultations today, and instead stuck to the session talks. It was worth it, as most were super interesting.

For the record, I attended:
- What’s New in Swift
- Introducing Apple File System (*ding*)
- iMessage Apps and Stickers, Part 1 (bring on Part 2!)
- What’s New in tvOS (fairly boring, unfortunately)
- How iOS Security Really Works (This was absolutely fantastic)
- What’s New in watchOS 3 (can’t wait to start working with it)

The whole conference vibe fascinated me today. It was absolutely amazing to walk around and see hundreds, if not thousands, of other developers coding away on their MacBook Pro, which is something I’m not used to seeing others do. The sheer number of people inside of Moscone was exciting. And just so you know, I’m that young guy in sessions taking notes with pen and paper.

Dinner was in a nice location tonight, as I went down to Pier 39 with mum to an Italian style restaurant. Had I been 21 or older, I would’ve been at The Talk Show Live with John Gruber and special guests Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi which sounds amazing! Gruber always nails it with guests for the WWDC episode of that show, and it sounds as though tonights show was no exception. I’m looking forward to listening once it’s been edited and released.

Fun fact of the day: I found this out in one of the sessions - pre-Touch ID on the iPhone only 49% of users locked their device with a passcode. Since the introduction of Touch ID, that figure has risen to nearly 90%.

Tomorrow’s agenda: Up early to book some lab time in, there’s a couple I’ve got my eye on. On the way to Moscone I will stop at Bluebottle Cafe - a place I haven’t tried so far this week. It seems as though other Aussies like the coffee there, so I’ll have to give it a go. The plan for the afternoon is to attend a few sessions, followed by a Dub Dub “party” in the form of a panel discussion. Unfortunately most of the after-hours events require you to be 21, so I had better attend what I can.

WWDC Day 1

Hello, Keynote day.
Hello, long day.
Hello, crazy day.
Hello, fun day.

Today, as you might’ve guessed, was Keynote day! Running on only a few hours of sleep, the alarm went off shortly before 2am to lineup for the Keynote. Although getting up so early wasn’t completely necessary, it did add to the experience. There’s something about lining up in the cold at 2:30am for something you’re excited about that can turn introverts into semi-decent conversation holders. It was around 5:30 when the crowd really started to roll in, building steadily until about 8:30am when a few lucky student scholars were taken into the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium early and place in “special seats” which happened to be to the side of the stage. Unfortunately I was not part of this group, however when we did finally enter the venue and find seats I found myself three rows from the front of the public section. Not bad at all. (The entire first section was reserved for members of the press.)

What an experience the Keynote was. I mean, it was incredible! The atmosphere in the keynote hall from the very beginning was electric, and an amazing show it turned out to be. The changes introduced across the board to watchOS, tvOS, macOS (!!!), and iOS are profound enhancements that excite me unlike any software updates from Apple over the last couple of years. While this post is more about my experience at the conference and not about my thoughts on the announcements, I will just say that I am hugely impressed by watchOS 3.0 and am hugely excited to get serious about developing for the platform. It’s so incredibly cool to be able to say I’ve witnessed an Apple Keynote in person.

Following the Keynote, I hung around in the hall for a little longer and ended up meeting, talking to, and even getting a few selfies with, Craig Federighi, Kevin Lynch, Eddie Cue, and Chris Lattner. How cool, right? This was definitely a highlight of the day - meeting and talking to people I respect so much. On that note, just before lunch I ran into a few media personnel I’ve been following for years and it was also a great moment to introduce myself and tell them how much I admire their work (even though they’ve undoubtedly forgotten me by now - only 9 hours later.) The likes of Federico Viticci, Rene Ritchie, and Serenity Caldwell were very friendly and more than happy to give me a few seconds of their time - which I appreciated.

One thing I was fascinated by walking out of the WWDC keynote was to see the press get straight to their coverage - primarily video coverage. Seeing people such as Christina Warren and Walt Mossberg rush around getting videos posted on their respective sites was fascinating to witness. I don’t know if that’s something which *should* fascinate me, but it does.

The afternoon brought with it more lining up, this time for the second presentation of the day - the Platforms State of the Union keynote address. This is essentially a second version of the morning keynote which heavily targets developers and not the general public. It was definitely interesting to learn about the underlying technologies introduced in the new software such as watchOS 3.0 and iOS 10, however I must admit I was beginning to fall asleep by about halfway through this presentation. That’s not a criticism of the presentation, it was rather interesting, but more a comment on how tired I was. Somehow I made it through even further until the end of the Apple Design Awards at which point it was time to call it a day. The tour of Twitter HQ that was meant to be this evening ended up being cancelled for some reason or other, but I was probably too tired to attend anyway.

Fun fact of the day: Somehow I managed to get the first beta of iOS 10 to download onto my iPod touch via the incredibly congested Wi-Fi at the conference.

It was certainly an action packed day filled with exciting news, announcements, experiences, and opportunities. Hopefully today was just the start of what will a great week at WWDC. Bring on tomorrows sessions and labs!

WWDC Day 0

To me, today was the first day of WWDC. Although the conference doesn’t technically begin until tomorrow, today involved check-in, orientation, and a visit from Tim Cook, so it was about as real as any other day will be for the rest of the week.

The day began at a local cafe, Cafe de la Presse,where fellow scholars were met for breakfast. From here began the walk down to the Mission Bay Conference Centre for the WWDC Scholars Orientation. This was an insightful experience which involved being spoken to by Apple engineers who shared insights into what makes a successful app, how to get the most out of the conference week and much more. From here we were led outside for a group photo when Tim Cook appeared, which put most scholars into a frenzy. The proceeding half hour was filled with hundreds of selfies and signatures from Tim. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a selfie with him, however I did get fairly close (photo at the bottom of this post.)

The rest of the afternoon was spent socialising with other scholars and Apple staff, including engineers who were very happy to talk to us about almost anything. Onto surprise number two for the day… Apple gave out developer Apple TV kits to all scholars. I figure this was just left over stock, but still a nice touch to the day.

Fun fact of the day: It’s been roughly 60 hours since touching down in San Francisco, and I’ve spotted 4 Tesla Model S cars so far.

Tomorrow’s agenda: Well, it’s Keynote day! This will by far be the most busy, crazy, awesome, tiring, and exciting day of the trip. It’s 8:28pm as I type this, and it’s time to start thinking about some sleep. Only a little over 5 hours until I’ll be waking up to join what will be a growing line in front of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, inside of which the Keynote, Platforms State of the Union, and the Apple Design Awards will be watched. Then, assuming I can still keep my eyes open at this point, the plan is to quickly tour the Twitter headquarters before calling it a night. Subject to change, and will tell you more tomorrow. Bye for now!

San Francisco Day 1


So it has begun! Nearly 30 hours ago now mum and I left home to head to San Francisco for WWDC 2016.

The 17 hour journey from SYD to LAX, then to SFO was uneventful, however unfortunately consisted of no sleep. Many Podcasts, novel chapters, and failed attempts at sleeping later, we touched down in San Francisco. Tired, but determined to make the most of the day, we started with lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, followed by a walk around Union Square which included a visit to the new Apple Store. Then the walk to Moscone began. It was exciting to see the building, albeit only from the outside and mere hours before the Apple logo decoration on the outside began to go up. All the same, it was cool to see. Looking forward to attending the conference there from Tuesday onwards.

This was followed by a walk down past AT&T park - home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, then a walk up past Bay Bridge, through Chinatown and back to the hotel. It is currently 5:51pm local time as I write this and it’s now time to get some sleep. (Finally!)

A weird observation about San Francisco: It’s pleasantly surprising to see the number of technology related billboard advertisements. It just isn’t that frequent to see a tech company advertising any product in Sydney, let alone on a standing billboard or the side of a bus.

Tomorrow’s agenda: Be as touristy as humanly possible, including Lombard Street, Fishermans Wharf, Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Bridge etc. Will keep you posted!


Trip to San Francisco for WWDC

It’s been a crazy 36-hours since finding our I’ll be attending WWDC 2016 as a student scholar. The unexpected excitement of seeing the ticket appear in my account, and the arrival of the all important confirmation email were both highlights of yesterday. Attending WWDC is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m lucky enough to be attending years before I imagined I would.

It’s going to be a crazy, yet awesome week. Arriving on the Saturday will give me 24 hours to settle in to the beautiful city of San Francisco before the conference check in and registration begins, potentially followed by an orientation afternoon for the scholars, graced by the presence of Tim Cook - as I’ve been told occurred last year.

Touristy things on the agenda include crossing the Golden Gate bridge, visiting Fishermans Wharf (from memory, the clam chowder was 👌🏻), as well as general exploration of the city sites such as Lombard Street and the Painted Ladies.

At the conference, Monday’s Keynote will undoubtedly be the most exciting part - even if it does mean waking up before the sun to get a spot in line. I hear the lab sessions are invaluable, while the sessions not so much. I’ll try to mix it up throughout the week and get a fair share of both. On top of that, the vibe throughout the city during the week - and particularly around Moscone Centre - will be electric. 7500 geeks all united under one cause, sharing a common interest… programming. It’ll be an awesome opportunity to meet new people, with 349 like-minded scholars from all around the world, as well as people I am already familiar with due to their online presence - mainly bloggers and podcasters whom I’ve been reading and listening to for years. Meeting Apple executives would also be a highlight, should it so happen, as will extra curricular activities such as a trip to Google HQ (which is currently in the early stages of organisation). As fun as it would be to attend WWDC parties such as The Talk Show live (assuming it’s going ahead this year) and RelayCon, I will be unable to due to my age. Unfortunately being of legal adult age in Australia counts for nothing in the USA. On the whole, WWDC is definitely an exciting opportunity and I intend on making the most of every second spent in San Francisco.

At this point I unfortunately still have some concerns which I’m sure will be resolved in due course. WWDC ends on June 17th this year, meaning the earliest flight I could catch out and still attend the conference in its entirety would be the evening of June 18th, meaning I arrive back in Sydney early morning June 20th. My university exam block begins June 18th, which could prove to be a problem. As I type this, I don’t have my timetable and I haven’t heard back from my university as to whether or not it would be acceptable to reschedule an exam, should a clash occur. (WWDC certainly relates to the I.T. component of my course, will enhance my skills, boost my connections, and all round be an informative educational experience.) Worst case scenario, I have to leave a day or two early to make it home in time for an exam, but the verdict is still out on that one. Here’s to hoping my first exam won’t be until the Tuesday or Wednesday.

I plan to update this blog with thoughts, tips, and anything else that comes to mind as I prepare for this trip and also while I’m in San Francisco. At this stage the plan is to write a short post every night about the day, what I did, what I learned, and what cool people I met. But no promises at this stage, we’ll see how that goes!

It’s going to be a crazy month as I prepare for this trip. There’s flights to book, a hotel to confirm, assignments to finish, exams to study for, and shifts to work all between now and then. It’ll be a challenge, but I’m excited knowing once I get to the end I’ll be spending a week in San Francisco attending WWDC 2016. The experience will truly be once in a lifetime.

Update (13/05/16): All sorted with my University, should I have any exams while in San Francisco, they’ll reschedule them. Flights and accomodation have now been booked - bring on WWDC. 👍🏻

Update (02/06/16): Not looking so good with University anymore. After submitting a formal request to have exams rescheduled, they’ve declined it. Currently in the process of appealing and talking to subject coordinators to see if they can influence the decision at all. Credit to them, they’ve all been very understanding thus far.