Tom Whipple

WWDC Day 1: Long Lines & Keynote

Well, I don’t think I’ve seen so many geeks in one place. Not even engineering school! As I write this I am sitting on the second floor of the Moscone convention center watching a couple hundred guys (oh and I can see 4 women – wait there’s another!) with their Macs out, posting on their blogs. (Yep, that includes me.) The morning got off to a disappointing start when arrived to find the line wrapped all the way around the block. Unfortunately, it didn’t start moving until about 5 minutes before the keynote started, which meant that those of us that didn’t arrive at some obscene hour of the morning didn’t get seated in an overflow room until about 15 minutes in. We missed the launch of a couple of new Macs, but web feeds indicated it wasn’t anything too revolutionary - just the latest laptop lineup. I talked to a guy who started lining up at 3am(!!), so maybe the overflow room isn’t so bad. We first learned about the new version of OSX (code name: Snow Leopard). It looks like there are going to be a lot of nifty enhancements to the UI in the Finder, Preview, Safari, and Quicktime. The case for the new Safari was particularly compelling if the claims about page rendering performance hold up. Since it will ship today, I’ll probably switch back from Firefox and see how it goes. However the OS enhancements that look like they may be the most exciting for developers are the features related to multi-threading, multi-core, 64 bit support, and most interesting, the announcement of what Apple is calling OpenCL. This is a new open standard that Apple is releasing to the community, which is designed to allow non-graphics applications to use the GPU for their computations. This will be huge for scientific computing (hopefully Matlab) as well as programs like Photoshop. It will be interesting to see how Apple applies this technology to the MacBook Air, which has no GPU. Unfortunately, very few details were given for these features. Maybe we will learn more in this afternoon’s sessions. The last part of the Keynote was about the reason I’m here: The iPhone. There are many new neat features that will open up a huge number of possibilities for all of us here. Some of the highlights are: peer to peer via bluetooth, opening up support for accessory hardware, and support sharing the cell network to your laptop and MMS support, pending carrier support. But, unlike the rest of the carriers in the world, it turns out that AT&T won’t be supporting these technologies right away. This revelation drew laughs and heckles from the crowd. I sincerely hope that someone from AT&T was in the room to hear it, since I’m pretty sure that most of us would drop our AT&T contract in a second if there was another US carrier that supported the iPhone. Finally, a new model of the iPhone was introduced. The new phone will have a faster processor, better camera and voice recognition. Of course everyone (including me) will want the new one, so I’m wondering who I can sell my current 16GB iPhone 3G to. It was also announced that the price of the current 4GB iPhone 3G would drop to $99. ¬†AFTERNOON UPDATE:¬† The only way to describe the new developer tools: kick ass. The static analysis tools are revolutionary; the software can automatically find bugs like memory leaks and even logic errors without even running the code. This is amazing, both in terms of technology and ease of use. I can’t wait to try it.