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Apple WWDC 2008: full preview
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Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:25 am Reply and quote this post
It says a lot about the state ofconsumer tech in the last few yearsthat even the most insignificantannouncements from Apple take on awhole new life of their own - fromiMac updates to employees’ holiday.
That’spartly because Applehas arguably done so much to change people’sperceptions of what goodtech can be with the Mac, the iPod and, ofcourse the iPhone.
Butit’s also a symptom of how characterless muchof the technologyindustry actually is, that it needs a figurehead likeSteve Jobs orSteve Ballmer to show it the direction that it should beheading in.
The biggest hoopla, of course, will surround Steve Jobs' keynote speech on Monday 9 June.
iPhone fever
He’sexpectedto reveal who’s been lucky enough to be awarded a third-partylicence todevelop apps for the iPhone; then to top that by unveiling the iPhone 3G.
Apple’s move to allow third-party apps for the iPhone has, of course, been mired in controversy.
Appleseemedentirely dismissive of the idea at first, leading to a waveofthird-party hacks that showed how far some early buyers anddeveloperswere prepared to go to get what they wanted from the iPhone.
Thatwas followed by a compromise deal that saw Apple offer developers thechance to deliver non-resident web-apps for the iPhone.
Finalcapitulationcame at Macworld in January, when Apple announced itsiPhone DeveloperProgram, so setting next week’s announcements in train.
Third party apps
There has, of course, been a great deal of speculation over what kinds of iPhone apps we’ll see and from whom.
Rumourssuggestthat games developers like Electronics Arts and even Nintendoare keento get on board, as are makers of more ‘serious’ software.We’ll knowfor sure who the headliners are when Jobs invites them onstage at WWDCon Monday 9.
As for other Mac hardware the jury'sstill out. Applerarely uses WWDC to launch hardware, even if it makeits shock move toabandon the PowerPC platform for Intel-derived CPUsin 2005.
Mac OS X and the iPhone
Instead,Applewill use this software-orientedf forum to focus on its Mac OSXoperating system, especially since it underpins much of what theiPhoneand iPod touch can do.
Apple has lined up 150 differentsessionsover the five days of WWDC, of which 19 have yet to beconfirmed. Thatleaves plenty of room to speculate over what thosesessions might be,especially since we don't know what Steve Jobs plansto unveil onMonday 9.
iPhone sessions
Of the sessionswe doknow about, 24 are focused on developing apps for the iPhone -fromcreating games the make use of the iPhone’s range of sensorstoemploying 3D graphics using Open GL.
The sessions will besupportedadditional labs (workshops) where developers can get help,advice andhands-on training from Apple engineers.
Other WWDCsessions highlightthe obvious synergies between the iPhone and Machardware, thanks to thecommon OS that underpins them.
Developers! Developers! Developers!
Thiswillenable many Mac-dedicated developers to get a head-start when itcomesto developing for iPhone. But it has other pay-offs too:
Newdeveloperswho've been attracted to Apple by the lure of the iPhonewill find itsbreeze to develop applications for the Macintosh too.
Thatcouldspark a new golden age of Mac development that should finally laytorest the old ‘there aren’t any apps for the Mac’ myth that in truthhasbeen meaningless for years.
By way of proof, Apple hasdedicated 27WWDC sessions to the technologies that both the Mac andiPhone share -things like Open GL, Core Animation and the Cocoaapplicationdevelopment environment.
Sink your teeth into Leopard
Theoverwhelmingmajority of WWDC sessions have been dedicated to Mac OS X10.5 Leoparditself. Given that it went on sale only six months ago,there are stillplenty of core features developers can take advantageof for their ownthird-party apps.
They’ll have plenty of opportunity to find out how too, with 50 training sessions and over 50 different labs to enjoy.
With all this on on offer, WWDC 2008 is fast shaping up to be the best Apple developer meet yet.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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