What an exciting time it is in the world of Apple! My name is Connor; I’m what my colleagues like to call the “Millennial in Residence” on the AgileBits team, and I spend most of my time doing development and support for 1Password for iOS. Some of my team members and I were lucky enough to make the trip out to San Francisco recently to attend Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, otherwise known as WWDC. We spent the week watching presentations, participating in labs, and planning all the exciting things that are on the horizon for our iOS and Mac apps.
My trip started in the early hours of Sunday morning in Toronto’s Pearson airport, where I took the five-hour flight to San Francisco. From there, I was whisked by BART into downtown where I quickly checked in to my hotel and made my way to the Moscone Convention Center to begin the week. I was lucky this year to win Apple’s WWDC Scholarship, which got me a ticket to the conference and a chance to participate in some student-specific activities throughout the week. The first thing on the agenda was student orientation, where Apple presenters gave us their thoughts on what makes an app “great” and some amazing stories of how their lives led them to a coveted position at Apple. We then gathered for a giant group picture—there were 350 of us! The illustrious Tim Cook even joined us to take selfies and sign our badges (talk about an amazing souvenir).
Monday morning brought with it the ever-exciting keynote presentation, where Tim and his team of executives took the stage to introduce all of the hard work they’ve been doing during the past year. We saw some great updates to all of Apple’s operating systems, including watchOS, tvOS, iOS, and the newly renamed macOS Sierra. We saw how Apple is continuing to make its platforms work hand-in-hand with features like shared clipboard, Siri on the Mac, proximity unlock for Apple Watch, and many other awesome improvements. They also gave us some great improvements to 3D Touch which I am personally very excited about. The team and I were inside the Bill Graham public auditorium with several thousand other developers and members of the press as these announcements were made, and I can tell you that the energy in that room was incredible, especially since it was my first time experiencing an Apple keynote.
I spent the rest of the week in what Apple calls the labs: expansive areas covering most of Moscone’s first floor, dedicated to Apple engineers helping developers like me in one-on-one (and often fairly lengthy – thanks Alex!) sessions. I got the chance to improve my code, familiarize myself with new frameworks and language updates, and of course give feedback to the very engineers that built the tools we use every day. We also got an in-depth look at those new development tools; an extra helpful Xcode engineer even helped me with a build configuration problem that would have had me running in circles for the entire afternoon.
Many of us engaged in various “skunkworks” projects, where we took some of Apple’s new frameworks and attempted to bend them to our will in 1Password. While I can’t make any promises that they’ll ever see the light of day, I will say that we were very intrigued by the possibilities created by iMessage apps, Home screen widgets, and watchOS 3. It was also great for us to run the current version of 1Password on the developer preview builds of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. I’m happy to report that it runs well! I also attended awesome talks by Apple engineers about advancements they’ve made in watchOS, the UIKit framework, and the Swift language. I learned more during the conference than I could even process at the time, so I’m glad I took notes throughout the week :)
The other hugely important, exciting, and just plain fun aspect of “Dub Dub” was the chance to meet dozens of people who use the software we write. I had so many people walk up to me and ask about the various 1Password shirts I wore through the week.
Everyone I met was super friendly and had things to say about 1Password that really warmed my heart, like, “I’ve been using 1Password since my very first Mac,” or, “This is the first app I download every time I get a new phone.” Things like that are why my team and I work so hard to make 1Password great. We know that you really rely on it every day, and it was a truly humbling experience to talk to so many of you in person.
All in all, it was an amazing week. From teaching my cough more age-abundant co-workers how to use Snapchat (or in their words, how to “chat the snaps”), to the wonderful people we met, to the great new tools and products that Apple unveiled, it was an incredible experience for the entire 1Password team.