June 14, 2018
I love Apple's yearly WWDC conference.
It's a chance to see friends, exchange stories, talk about the latest news and APIs, and most of all try to read between the lines of what Apple has told us.
This year, like last, I hosted a morning panel at the Next Door Conference called "The News from Next Door".
Over three days, thirteen different panelists helped me make sense of all of what we were hearing from Apple.
One thing I love about this panel (I love many things about it) is that the conference is so intimate that audience members participate as well.
I spend a lot of time preparing each day. I hate most panels that just go down the line with vague questions such as, "so, what did you like this year?"
Some of my questions are successful and some aren't.
This year I thought I had a good question prepped but it didn't go anywhere.
Each year Apple announces the new features for their upcoming operating systems. This year the two big ones are iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. Unfortunately, many developers are working for companies that need to support back a couple of operating systems. They can't embrace the latest.
I thought a good question would be, now that your app is dropping support for iOS 9 and moving to iOS 10 or later or dropping support for iOS 10 and moving to iOS 11 or later, what are the features that were introduced last year or the year before that you're looking forward to embracing.
So I asked the question, "what did Apple lie to us about this year?"
For context, I pointed out that while Apple was eschewing the use of a stylus, they were developing the Pencil. Products such as the Pencil take years and years to develop. Those people who said "Steve would never" were probably wrong. Steve had probably green lit the exploration and productization of the Pencil.
Of course I don't know that for sure.
But I can say with certainty that while Apple was poo pooing the need for a stylus, they were developing one.
And so, I asked, what did Apple lie to us about this year.
The answer in the room was immediate - despite Apple saying that iOS and macOS are not coming together, many of the developers in the room were certain that some form of a touchable screen is coming to macOS.
You can easily see it happening.
Yes I understand the "Mac is a truck and not everyone needs a truck" argument, but we're raising people to expect to interact with content by touching it. I can see that coming to the Mac in at least a limited way.
I can see placement and connections being made in Interface Builder by grabbing an element and positioning and grouping it directly.
I can see a very visual, functional, programming environment where the output of one function is piped to the input of another much as we would wire together circuits.
I can see a mac pro that is even tinier because the screen goes end to end and top to bottom with a little notch at the top for the camera.
Sure, you can easily see this not happening - but I hope they're exploring all of these possibilities and rejecting them because the just don't work and not because they are philosophically opposed to it.
As the Pencil showed us, nothing in the Apple road map is written in pen.