WWDC08 - All iPhone, All the Time


This is where the magic happens...WWDC08 

I was up in San Francisco last week for the Apple WorldWide Developer's Conference (WWDC08) and I figured I would talk a bit about it.

Now, the specifics of the show have been blogged to death, I am sure (some good writeups here and here), but a few themes really struck me:

1 - We are all basically experiencing a fairly incredible transition, thanks in no small part to the iPhone. Yes, so-called Smartphones have been around for awhile, but it is clear that the iPhone has captured the imagination of people who would otherwise not care at all about a next generation phone. Of course, that's the whole point--the iPhone is just barely a phone. When 3G was discussed, it wasn't in terms of improving the actual "walking and talking on the cell phone," it was in terms of data transfer.  While you were always able to do cool things like starting an instant conference call, people were much more interested in playing games or making music with it.  The iPhone represents a true pocket computing platform, and it will be fun figuring out if the term "computing platform" even means the same thing as it did a few years ago, but that's a topic for another post, I think.  The conference reflected the interest and excitement in the iPhone, I think at least half of the sessions were about the iPhone, and there were more developers there than ever (5200+) and many of those were first time attendees who were there because they wanted to make software for the device.  IFyou haven't already, check out the keynote; there are a lot of application demos and, you know, it's always cool to see Steve do his thing.


2 - This was obviously the first time that a WWDC keynote made no real mention of the Mac at all (you had to wait for the Mac OS X "State of the Union" to see what was happening with Snow Leopard. Oh, sure, we heard a lot about mobileme replacing the .Mac service, but that's really just an online service that ties both standard and web-based applications together.  Personally, I was hoping that we would get a new MacBook Pro, but I guess I am going to have to wait for the end of summer. 

3 - I hear, too, that this was first time that Steve Jobs has said the word "enterprise" in a keynote address. This just underscores what we have been seeing: now, more than ever, the Mac is considered a viable enterprise machine.  I have seen more Macs at Symantec than ever, thanks in no small part to Intel transition and the associated ability to run Windows on a Mac.  It's a great fallback for Windows users, you know? They can always go back into Outlook or IE if they need to, but most of the time, that Windows environment does not get used.  Enterprise support was a big deal--the iPhone has been completely updated to work in Enterprise environments, and the only truly "new" feature in Mac OS X 10.6 ("Snow Leopard") is full-on Exchange support.  So, my friends, like it or not, the Mac is growing up. It will be very interesting to watch how the Mac diehards adjust to the growing interest the Mac is getting by IT departments around the world.  How will we cope with IT people managing our machines?! 

4 - I attended quite a few security sessions--again, most of these sessions were presented in terms of enterprise environments--and it was really interesting to see the different kinds of strategies that Apple suggests IT people use in the environments.  Some are more realistic than others (I just can't see myself switching to a non admin user every time I want to surf the web), but it was refreshing to see so many people discussing security so intensely.

One thing is for sure, the iPhone is a big part of Apple's future. The new price ($199 for the 8GB version) is going to make the device a lot more accessible, and as more people integrate the iPhone into their lives, we'll see different applications and uses for it pop up.  It's a really exciting time; it reminded me of the old MacWorld shows in the late 80s, when the Mac community was really just beginning to "get" the Mac and really explore what they could do with it. It's kinda incredible, when you think about it--the iPhone is more powerful than the original Mac and it can fit in your pocket.  The iPhone is going to bring the Internet to our lives in a very different way; what happens when you have a planet's worth of information in your purse?  As the iPhone helps make GPS functionality more ubiquitous, the very concept of "lost" will be...lost. Already I have friends who have kids that have learned how to type their name before they could write it.


Of course, we're right there, in the middle of it. We had developers from our consumer and enterprise groups, as well from our Symantec Research Labs. As iPhones (and, yes, other smartphones) become a bigger part of our lives, we need to make sure that the transactions we make and the devices themselves are secure. When you can make bank transactions, buy books and manage your eBay auction on a device that you can forget in a cab, the concept of "security" changes. It's our job to help define that concept.


The world is changing, and it is clear that Apple is a big part of that change. WWDC is really where we got a glimpse into how Apple and its developers like Symantec are going to provide applications and tools to be part of these changes. It should be a wild ride!

Message Edited by Sondra_Magness on 07-03-2008 05:07 PM