A Pink Flamingo @ WWDC23

marco de lucchi

I was lucky enough to be invited by Apple to attend the event in person and represent our App team. Here are all my thoughts about the most-watched event in the tech industry, live from Apple Park.

What is the conference about?

The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is an annual event organized by Apple emoji-apple, revered as the premier gathering for developers worldwide. This highly anticipated conference serves as a platform for Apple to unveil new software technologies, tools, and updates, setting the stage for the future of its products. The event, held in June at the iconic Apple Park in Cupertino, combines both in-person and online activities.

Apple showcases upcoming features and enhancements across all their platforms, including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Additionally, Apple provides developers with early access to development tools like Xcode, empowering them to leverage these advancements in their apps well ahead of the public release scheduled for the fall.

The agenda

Sunday 4 June @ 1 Infinite Loop

The early bird gets the worm: on Sunday, I travelled to 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino - Apple’s historic headquarters. Apple opened its door for an early check-in event filled with food and fun activities. Apple Retail employees infused the atmosphere with enthusiasm, managing the event with care. It was there that I received my badge along with exclusive gadgets: a tote bag, a thermos, a hat and some pins. I connected with fellow attendees, and naturally, I managed to find all the other Italian participants.

Sunday 4 June - 1 Infinite Loop
Sunday 4 June - 1 Infinite Loop

Monday 5 June @ Apple Park

The anticipation in the air was palpable as I arrived at Apple Park bright and early. Apple employees greeted me at the entrance, and as I made my way through the trees, the iconic spaceship-like structure came into view, heightening my excitement. Before the Keynote, the main event where Apple unveils their software and hardware updates, I enjoyed a delightful breakfast at Caffè Macs.

With a warm welcome from Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, the Keynote kicked off. Apple unveiled their latest operating systems, including iOS 17 emoji-iphone, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10 emoji-watch, macOS Sonoma, and tvOS. One standout feature for me was related to WidgetKit - you might have guessed it if you saw my previous posts. Widgets on iPhone and iPad are now interactive, while they have a revamped appearance on watchOS. Widgets are also coming to your Mac when your iPhone is nearby.

The two-hour presentation left me amazed, but there was a surprise in store. As Tim Cook proclaimed, “There is one more thing… Apple Vision Pro,” the crowd erupted with applause emoji-scream. I was left speechless as Apple unveiled the limitless possibilities and immersive experiences made possible by this groundbreaking device.

I grabbed lunch, and it was time for another key moment: the Platforms State of the Union. This presentation offers a comprehensive insight into new technologies, frameworks, tools, and APIs available to developers.

Next on the agenda was a guided tour of Apple Park, where an Apple employee showed us the courtyard, with fruit trees, the pond (ducks included) and the Rainbow field.

Returning to Caffè Macs, I attended the “Meet the Team” event. Apple employees, organised by area of expertise, were available to answer questions, address curiosities, and even provide support for bug reports - to get the best out of it, come prepared with a sample project. It was a fantastic opportunity to engage in both informative and casual conversations, as they welcomed interaction with friendliness.

Apple concluded the day with the Design Awards ceremony. This prestigious annual recognition program celebrated developers who demonstrated exemplary design and innovation in their apps. Winning an Apple Design Award is considered a prestigious achievement and provides significant recognition and visibility to developers and their apps.

Monday 5 June - Apple Park
Monday 5 June - Apple Park

Monday 5 June @ Steve Jobs Theatre

As the day was winding down, there was one last thing to do: visit the Steve Jobs theatre, where I got hands-on experience with new products unveiled earlier in the day.

I explored the new Mac Studio, featuring the powerful M2 Max and M2 Ultra processors, the Mac Pro, equipped with the cutting-edge M2 Ultra, which has exceptional performance capabilities, and finally, the MacBook Air 15, which combines portability and power.

However, what truly captured my attention was the preview of the Apple Vision Pro, an upcoming mixed-reality headset set to revolutionise the way we interact with technology. Apple’s strategic vision became clear as they emphasised that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are not limited to gaming but should enhance everyday activities, from work to entertainment. The Apple Vision Pro boasts 4K micro OLED displays with a combined 23 million pixels, offering stunning visuals. With eye and gesture tracking facilitated by numerous cameras, users can navigate and control the experience seamlessly.

What excited me the most about the Apple Vision Pro was its ability to extend the display of a Mac and immerse users in a captivating 3D environment. The prospect of seamlessly transitioning between traditional computing and an immersive workspace ignited my imagination, envisioning new possibilities for productivity and creativity.

Monday 5 June - Steve Jobs Theatre
Monday 5 June - Steve Jobs Theatre

Tuesday 6 June @ Apple Developer Center

The second day of WWDC23 brought me to the Apple Developer Center, a dedicated space designed to empower developers with workshops and hands-on sessions alongside Apple engineers and teams.

We had a two-hour presentation focused on the power of visionOS. Through live coding examples and detailed explanations, Apple provided insights into the tools necessary to build exceptional apps. The unveiling of the visionOS software development kit (SDK) was particularly exciting, everyone can start creating new experiences (or adapting existing ones) for the Apple Vision Pro. Apple encouraged developers to submit their work, offering the opportunity to participate in future workshops and test their apps on real devices.

Once again, I had the opportunity to connect with Apple employees, engaging in conversations that further deepened my understanding of the presentation.

Tuesday 6 June - Apple Developer Center
Tuesday 6 June - Apple Developer Center

The Community

WWDC is not just about Apple events, it brings together a vibrant community of individuals in love with Apple products and development. Tech enthusiasts, engineers, designers, and students from around the globe fly to the Bay Area, creating a solid network of experts. To fully immerse in the WWDC experience, it’s essential to stay informed about the local events taking place throughout the week.

Companies will organise their events to attract talent and show their products to the community. For example, I attended RevenueCat’s 1st annual pre-WWDC Barcade Bash and won some amazing red socks after showing my Apple rejection email for an app update. These events provide an excellent platform to connect with industry professionals and gain unique insights.

Communities are actively engaged in organizing a wide range of events via platforms like Meetup and Eventbrite. Subscribing to notifications is crucial, as seats are selling like hotcakes. At those events, you will find Indie Devs too, so you might get to know the creator of your favourite app and say “hi” in person.
Special mention to CoreCoffee, WWDC Community and iOS Devs Happy Hour for making this WWDC shine.

Maintaining an active presence on social networks is equally essential. Twitter, along with Mastodon, has gained significant popularity and serves as a platform to connect with other individuals and remain up-to-date with the latest happenings in the area.

Last but not least, I attended “The Talk Show Live from WWDC”, where Craig Federighi showed his guitar skills. You need to check out the video.

Wrap up

I’m heading back home grateful for the terrific week and the opportunity I had to represent the App team. I’m already running the latest iOS 17 beta, and I can already see some cool features in action (did somebody say Widgets??? emoji-rocketemoji-rocket).
It’s now time to binge-watching all the sessions available on the Apple Developer app, read the updated documentation, open Xcode and have some fun with the new stuff!
In the meantime, stay tuned and see which new features will make the cut into the next mobile app updates!! emoji-rocket

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