Computer science lecturer and Apple iOS developer is excited about the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)
Towson University Fisher College of Science and Mathematics faculty Jal Irani shares his thoughts on new products and hardware at this year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), June 4–8 in San Jose, California.
Which new products or services do you look forward to hearing about/seeing?
I am anxiously awaiting the release of iOS 12. With any WWDC event, there are a plethora of rumors, some true, and some false, but a new iOS version is almost guaranteed. As an iOS developer it presents challenges for existing apps to ensure your code-base is up-to-date with the newest software, but also provides more tools to add dynamic content to your apps that could not be done before. Another announcement I am awaiting to hear about is the new iPhone SE. With the release of the iPhone X and the Plus models, Apple has transitioned out of smaller-screened iPhones. I am curious how they will make a smaller model appealing to the general public.
What other benefits does the WWDC offer developers who work with the iOS?
WWDC is incredible because it offers the cool hardware that most people see, like the new iPhone, Mac, Watch, and TV products, but also offers software developers new tools to create innovative and unique apps. In particular, Swift 5 is rumored to be released at WWDC, and I am excited to see what paradigm changes have been made from Swift 4.
Why is it such a big deal to go to the WWDC?
I have not been to WWDC although I attended try! Swift San Jose the week prior. WWDC is much more than just the keynote that most people see. There are networking opportunities and workshops with some of the most talented Apple developers and personnel; all in one location. Typically, larger organizations send their directors of mobile development and top iOS developers to attend the conference, so it an exciting week full of top talent and leadership in the industry.
Why do you think Apple's WWDC has the name recognition Microsoft Build lacks?
This may be an unpopular opinion, but Apple software and hardware is at the cutting edge of technology. When Apple releases a new product or new software, it is considered to be the “latest and greatest.” I also think viewers are very keen to seeing “big reveals” at WWDC. Google I/O and Microsoft Build have been playing catch up with WWDC ever since Steve Jobs captivated audiences with his grand reveals of the new Macintoshes.
watchOS 5 seems to be on everyone's radar for this year's conference. What do you think venturing into the health space will mean for the company long term?
Apple, unbeknownst to most, have been in the health space for quite some time. Apple brought HealthKit to the scene in 2014 and from there other frameworks, sdks, and hardware have been released to supplement or support Apple's venture into the health space.
While I was working on an iOS application called Corrie Health for the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Apple invited our team to the campus to integrate the app with one of the newer frameworks called CareKit. After meeting the majority of the CareKit team, I realized Apple had hired a lot of Stanford doctors and healthcare professionals, which is something not seen often in a tech company.
Long term, I believe Apple's goal is to be a leader in the healthcare space for tech. Apple watches have already proven to save lives by detecting increased heart rates, even saving some users from heart attacks. Apple has the luxury of being a pioneer in the space. I would imagine that will prove to be quite fruitful in the upcoming years.