Under The Bridge Under The Bridge

Twas The Night Before Dubmas 2018

So with 12 hours to go as we type this before the WWDC 2018 keynote, let’s run down the various predictions floating out there, shall we?

The first interesting thing is that once you download the latest version of the WWDC app — go do that right now, if you haven’t yet — you’ll notice that the option to filter sessions by OS has gone away. Now, that could be just a random designer’s whim, we suppose… 

… but it could be a hat tip that the Marzipan rumours are completely on point, yes? Although we would be rather surprised to wake up tomorrow and find that AppKit has gone away, we wouldn’t be overly shocked. 

(Pro Tip: In the WWDC app, all those emoji-prefixed mystery sessions? Favorite them. Then, right after the keynote, you’ll have a curated list of all the revealed secrets ready to go!)

Speaking of apps, if you are in San Jose tonight, check out this stellar list of party, meet up, and alt-conference apps:

Apps That Help You Make the Most of WWDC

But back to the predictions for this year: If there is anything earth-shattering in the offing other than Marzipan, they’ve managed to keep them pretty much completely out of the rumor mill; the general consensus is that this will be an evolutionary year, at best, and thank heavens for that:

Spoiler alert: Apple’s WWDC 2018 is probably going to be boring, and that’s the way it should be


But beyond that, we don’t know much of anything regarding Tim Cook’s and Craig Federighi’s plans for the keynote. That probably means there aren’t any new products hiding up their sleeves. My guess is that the show will be relatively dull from a new-product standpoint, with the usual enhancements to iOS and macOS, some new watchOS features, and maybe a sneak peek at Apple’s upcoming video service. There won’t be a dramatic unveiling of the new Mac Pro or a new $99 HomePod mini. And forget about the ARM-powered MacBook Air we keep hearing whispers about…

Apple WWDC 2018: Why New Iphone Software Announcement Is so Mysterious

But there is another important reason that nothing might have leaked: there is very little to leak. Another story from inside Apple this year said that the company was changing its strategy to focus on improving the performance, efficiency and quality of existing features, rather than looking to institute new ones…

Chances are they’re right yes, but if they do turn out to be wrong, we’ll be the first to point and laugh.

One thing it seems we can count on being introduced is ramping up NFC support, there’s been widespread hints of that:

Apple to Expand Secure Wireless Chip Beyond Payments

And improvements to ARKit are pretty much a given:

WWDC 2018: What to expect from iOS 12, MacOS 10.14 and more

But the more recent Bloomberg report says that multiplayer AR will be featured in this year’s software — something that would lay further groundwork for the Apple AR/VR headset that the company is apparently tinkering with behind closed doors (that’s expected closer to 2020, if at all). A further report, from Reuters, cites anonymous sources and says Apple is working on a way for two iPhones to share AR data directly, so potentially private info about a user’s surroundings wouldn’t have to be stored in the cloud…

Hardware-wise, the expectations seem to range between “nothing” and “speed bumped iPad Pros”

Exclusive: Apple Plans New iPads and iOS 12 for WWDC 2018, New Marzipan Details Emerge

However, we do know for sure that macOS 10.14 will have a system Dark Mode and will very likely be called “Mojave” and that the Mac App Store is getting a makeover, and how do we know that for sure, you ask? Why, because Apple leaked it themselves:

macOS 10.14 Leak Confirms Dark Mode, Apple News App, App Store Video Previews

Just ahead of Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), developer Steve Troughton-Smith came across a 30-second preview video on Apple’s servers that should have been hidden, but was accidentally made viewable. The video shows Xcode 10 running on macOS 10.14.

Also visible is an Apple News icon in the dock, as currently found in iOS. The presence in the video seemingly indicates that Apple is porting its Apple News app over the Mac in desktop form. In addition, it looks like Apple is enabling video previews in macOS 10.14, with a redesign of the Mac App Store so that it looks similar to the App Store as currently featured on the mobile side (iOS 11)…

Personally, we’re holding out hope that Apple’s acquisition of buddybuild and the interesting presence of the “Getting to Know Swift Package Manager” session in the schedule indicates that there’s exciting new developments to ease the pain of iOS dependency management. But that would be a forlorn hope indeed, we suspect.


Yep, that was forlorn, wasn’t it? A year of consolidation all around, mostly, but a few new interesting tidbits:

WWDC 2018 Viewing Guide

WWDC 2018 Summary for iOS developers

WWDC 2018 Bulk Downloader

Michael Tsai  – WWDC 2018 Links

iPhone developer demographics

There’s something really quite interesting about the iPhone-focused sessions we’ve attended here at WWDC; they have a demographic distribution which we have never, ever, seen anything even remotely akin to in over 20 years in  professional programming.

Specifically, as we write this, we’re sitting on the side platform at “Controls, Views, and Animation on iPhone”, which is a pretty solidly geeky session even as the general run here goes, and of the four people immediately adjacent, two, that’s 50%, are women.

Those of you who have never been to a programming conference are, perhaps, thinking “yeah, women are 50% of the population, so they’re 50% of your neighbours, and why would that merit a post?”

On the other hand, those of you who have actually been to a programming conference before — well, you probably just figure we’re flat out lying. That would indeed be the rational response, as normally at these conferences, well, let’s put it this way, the pretend women — not that there’s anything wrong with that! — outnumber the biological women by a significant multiple. WWDC is noticeably less imbalanced than your typical Microsoft conference in that regard, and way less imbalanced than any Linux conference in that regard, but even in our comparatively-enlightened Apple world, the number of women in any engineering session could historically be most accurately quantified as “rounding error”. But here in the iPhone programming sessions, there’s an utterly unprecedented number of women. And generally attractive women, no less.

Looks like The Babe Theory of Political Movements applies to programming platforms as well … it’s just that until the iPhone came along, there never was a platform that qualified. Be interesting to see if these anecdotal observations of ours turn out to portend a statistically significant difference in iPhone programmer demographics from the general industry, won’t it now?


Keynote lineup report

So it’s 60 minutes or so to show time. And the tension is can you feel it? palpable in the air over the feverishly enraptured lineup!

Well, ok, it’s more like a collective “I can’t believe that many people got up before I did” bemusement.

At least, unlike most here, we took the time for a good hearty breakfast, so we’re not knifing the others for scraps of Danish over at the snacks table. (Well, ok, I exaggerate, there’s no actual knifings so far, but that’s probably only because the knives are plastic.) And providing further evidence of my long standing theory that if you take a seat at the counter at Mel’s Drive-in the entire Mac community will eventually drop by for a chat, this morning our neighbour was the renowned Aaron Hillegass who, as you really should know already, is the/an author of the two most essential books on OS X programming, Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X and Advanced Mac OS X Programming. Which, if you don’t have the 3rd and 2nd editions of respectively, you should click those links and order, RIGHT NOW. We were planning to get around to doing an actual review of Cocoa 3 Ed. at some point, but we’ll settle for “Yeah, get it now” as being adequate. If you program in Cocoa, you should have it, simple as that. And while we’re on the topic, these books apparently are more or less the course notes from Messr. Hillegass’ Big Nerd Ranch in person training courses. We’re really much more book people than course people ourselves, but different strokes and all that, and if you are you should probably look into those!

Yellow Box Redux?

So we’re just starting to pack for WWDC now, and as our last post for a while probably (since anything that’s actually got us excited next week will probably be under heavy NDA) we’ll just go out on a limb with a rather out there but we think logical prediction for Monday’s keynote. 

See, our Impeccable Sources™ in the Apple world have been dropping hints that there’s something Big And Unexpected up for announcement, which is not directly related to the iPhone in particular nor hardware of any kind in general. If they’re not just teasing to wind up our curiosity to fever pitch — which is hardly inconceivable, we grant you, in which case after the keynote feel free to laugh your head off at how well that worked for them — what could it be? This .mac to .me reworking thing? Naah, we don’t see that qualifying as either particularly Big or in the slightest Unexpected.

Well, after pondering it, we think we just might have an idea. You’ve all heard about this “Snow Leopard” thing, no doubt. Well, we believe there actually is a “Snow Leopard” project, which quite likely will be revealed on Monday, but it’s not going to be 10.6 like most everyone is assuming, because that would be a different cat — there’s no way Apple would not rebrand the OS name for a full point release. For the same marketing-related reasons, we’ll proceed to assume that this code name is not disinformation of any kind. So there’s something bubbling and simmering in Apple’s labs that’s recognizably “Leopard”, but distinctly different enough from the shipping Mac OS X 10.5 to merit a separate yet connected brand.

Right then, the next wide assumption is that the dropping of “Mac” from the “OS X Leopard” posters in Moscone implies that there’s going to be a non-Mac OS X Leopard for generic PCs, and that would be Snow Leopard. We’re pretty sure we can dismiss that one as well. Apple’s revenue numbers just don’t make that idea work, however you slice it. And when even all the PC magazines universally agree that Mac laptops are the best for running Vista, there appears to be no reason to defocus from shipping machines.

So what, then, is “Snow Leopard”? Well, to answer that, let us put on our thinking caps. What is the one feature that developers were most upset about losing in OS X — before it was actually named OS X, in fact? The feature that Apple has a clear and compelling reason to bring back now, in order to further increase the pool of developers familiar with Mac and iPhone programming concepts? The feature that did, indeed, actually ship from Apple on the Rhapsody DR1/Intel Developer CDs? The feature which if released on Monday would be a perfect fit for the “Snow Leopard” moniker? Well, here’s what we say it is:

Apple Rhapsody Yellow Box for Windows

Yep, that’s our call: “Snow Leopard” is the return of Yellow Box. Except that the point of it this time around is not only, or even mostly, to allow Mac Cocoa programmers to deliver Windows applications — although it’s pretty likely that will be supported — but to let Windows users who for whatever reason can’t get a Mac of their own to develop iPhone programs using the same Cocoa-written toolchain that supports iPhone development on real Macs.

You heard it here first, folks!


Hmmmmm. It appears that the only non-NDA’d information y’all who aren’t here is gettin’ is that yes, there actually is a “Snow Leopard” project, His Jobness stated, and us here is gonna hear all about it after lunch, in an NDA’d session. So it’s not completely impossible yet that we’re on to something here — but the smart money is that probably, contrary to all previous practice, the rumours about “Snow Leopard” being simply a rather boring 10.6 version are indeed correct, and the Big Important Thing that had been hinted at was indeed Mobile Me, aka “Exchange that doesn’t suck”. Ah well.

We’re quite sure there’ll be no shortage of people willing to violate their NDAs so you won’t have to wait until tomorrow even to find out the exact specs of “Snow Leopard” somewhere else — but as far as this particular legally correct NDA-respecting space goes, we’ll just have to leave the discussion at “probably a bad guess but we’ll know for sure in an hour.” Ah well. Can’t always have everything you want, and we’re pretty happy with how the iPhone 3G turned out!


Well, although this speculation turned out to be completely wrong, we actually were not completely off-base in identifying Apple’s interests and goals we figure; we just weren’t thinking outside the box enough in figuring that resurrecting Yellow Box was how to go about it. See this post for what we’re thinking now!

Free T-shirts @ WWDC!

Yep, start the week off right with a free T-shirt from FastMac:

San Francisco, CA – FastMac today announced 5 T-shirt designs to commemorate WWDC 2008 & Apple’s imminent launch of a new iPhone. The T-shirts use iPhone inspired themes to celebrate the world’s most advanced mobile platform: OS X iPhone 2.0. The T-shirts will be given away for free outside the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco between 12 AM and 6 AM on June 9th.

Well, that’s one less day I need to pack a shirt for!

h/t: Macintouch!

WWDC on your iPhone!

If you’re going to be at WWDC — and hey, even if you’re not, there’s other stuff there too — you should be aware of www.iviewr.com, which “provides a unique service to users of Apple’s mobile devices. Users can view handy snapshots of popular destinations and events around the globe.” In this case, it’s WWDC!

iPhone and iPod touch-wielding visitors to next week’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco can enhance their visit to the show with a handy guide made available by iViewr.com.

A website for iPeople who are going places, www.iViewr.com has introduced its latest event guide aimed at the legion of developers making the pilgrimage to the conference.

Completely free to access, this handy ‘Pod SnapShot’ has the look and feel of a native iPhone application and provides details of all aspects of the show – from Conference Schedules, Lab and Session details, Travel directions, Disabled access, Moscone Center facilities, after hours events and more.

“Like the previous event guides we’ve made available, iViewr provides visitors to the Conference with all of the important information especially formatted for display on their iPhones or iPods” said Rod Cambridge, founder of iViewr. “If you have one of these devices, there’s simply no more need to be carrying around a jumble of papers, map and leaflets when a guide like ours is available.”

Well, hard to argue with that; my Springboarded bookmark of their site has certainly replaced the 2-per-day printouts that I made last year to try and keep track of sessions. An excellent service, and probably worth checking out whatever else is there as well.

h/t: MacSurfer!

WWDC schedule posted!

The session schedule for WWDC has gone live — pick your excitement now, those of you who didn’t wait too long … or are planning to buy from scalpers!

h/t: MacUser!

WWDC PDF Generator

If you’re someone who likes to scribble on paper like we do, and you’re going to WWDC, you’re going to want to head over to Johannes Fahrenkrug’s blog and grab this Ruby script he wrote to grab the session listings and format them as a PDF:

216:wwdcpdf alex$ ./wwdcpdf.rb

WWDC 2008 Session PDF Generator by Johannes Fahrenkrug

Getting sessions.xml file…OK

Parsing XML…OK

Generating PDF…OK

Done! See you in June!

h/t: cocoa-dev!