Apple is making preparations to host the biggest gathering of Macintosh developers all year with its Worldwide Developers Conference, coming in June. Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations said the company learned a lot from developer feedback from past shows and the interest generated from announcements at last year’s event.
The announcement of the Power Mac G5, the first public demonstration of Panther and the release of Xcode development tools led to a lot of interest from developers at the show and others that flew in on the day of WWDC 2003, after the announcements were made. The power of the G5 and the introduction of 64-bit processing meant developers had a lot of questions on how to optimize their application code to best utilize the new hardware and software technologies.
Apple prepared for this by having Apple engineers at the sessions and a G5 lab for developers to test their code and make any necessary changes. Lessons learned from last year are being carried over to WWDC 2004.
“We don’t hire professional presenters to do our sessions,” Apple Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations, Ron Okamoto, told MacCentral. “These are the engineers that actually wrote the code, so we are giving developers access to the people that can really help them.”
The Apple engineers spend a lot of their time working with developers on many of the new technologies and code changes that will take place in future versions of the operating system. Developers get hands-on experience with new technologies, like the Safari Webkit, which ultimately leads to features in products that may have taken a lot longer to come to market without that collaboration.
Apple has touted the power of Unix in Mac OS X since it was first introduced. With the increase in Unix developers attending WWDC, Apple has had to change the focus of some sessions to make sure the already experience Unix developers get all they need from Apple to port and optimize their applications. The Developer Relations section of Apple have tailored several sessions to non-Mac specific coders for this very purpose.
Last year’s WWDC brought several third-party announcements, as well. While Okamoto wouldn’t elaborate on the details, it looks like Apple is preparing for more of the same this year. “I can’t say who they are, but we have several developers lining up to make sure they are well represented at WWDC,” said Okamoto.
QuickTime will also be playing a larger role at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, with special attention placed on a new video codec demonstrated by Apple at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2004 event. Apple demonstrated at its NAB booth an advanced HD video codec, dubbed H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10 by the ISO governing body.
“The MPEG-4 standard has been evolving very quickly — we’ve watched it go on the Internet, into 3G products and now, with this technology preview of H.264, we are going to watch it go to HD,” Frank Casanova, Apple’s director of QuickTime product marketing, told MacCentral.
Unlike other codecs, H.264 is scalable, allowing content creators to write their content for everything from the newest 3G phones to HD, and everything in between.
Casanova said that there would be dozens of sessions within the QuickTime Media tracks at this year’s conference for QuickTime developers.
This [WWDC] brings some of the best developers in the world together,” said Okamoto. “Take Apple out of the mix and you have some of the top Unix, Macintosh and Java developers, all under one roof.”