WWDC 2021: Reviewing 20+ Years of Conferences
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is our Super Bowl. It’s the most important time of the year for Apple fans, journalists, and of course developers. Each year for more than 20 years, Apple has brought its community together and spent a week detailing their next major software innovations.
Even though WWDC technically started in 1990, let’s start where things got interesting, which is in 1997.
With WWDC21 freshly in the rearview mirror, it is fun to compare this year’s conference highlights to the past 20+ years of conferences. I’ve been watching the keynote and following the development community for the past 14 or 15 years, so it was neat to catch up on Apple’s turnaround in the late 90s and early 2000s from a development perspective.
The pace at which Apple reinvented itself leading up to the launch of the iPhone was almost breakneck. I didn’t know that Xcode wasn’t even introduced until 2003, and just a few years later, it was the center of development for Apple’s most important devices. When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, Apple couldn’t and didn’t slow down. Thinking about how many operating systems they now maintain (iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS), I’m even more impressed at what Apple gets out of the door every year.
Indeed, here are three things that stood out to me from this year’s WWDC:
June 7-11 - Cupertino
- Xcode Cloud provides developer teams better and more efficient ways to work together, and even individual developers can take advantage of cloud compiling and testing.
- Privacy features give users even more options to mask their online activity through iCloud Private Relay, Mail Privacy Protection, on-device Siri, and more.
- Shortcuts on the Mac brings the building block-style automation that millions are familiar with to Apple’s most powerful platform.
“Shortcuts is the future of automation on the Mac.” - Craig Federighi