WWDC Opening day

Sub-titled: well, that almost sucked. When I registered yesterday, I
was told that the doors would be opening at 7, but that people would
be getting there earlier (for a keynote that started at 10). Then I
went to a reception with people saying they'd be getting there by 3 or
4. There was no way I was doing this, and figured I could turn up
some time shy of 9, be at the back of the queue and still get a seat.
As it was... the queue was still stretching right around the corner,
and with more people still arriving eventually wrapped around a second
corner. We didn't get to move for ages, until almost 10, and when we
finally got to the door some guy actually stopped the queue at me
until his mate said they could keep letting people in. I wound up in
an overflow room, but honestly don't think it made any difference --
last time I was so far up the back that I ended up watching the whole
thing on one of their big screens anyway, and I don't think you miss
You can all read about what was announced, etc (even watch the keynote
if you really want), and I believe I'm under NDA about the rest of the
stuff anyway, so I'll only offer general comments for now. It was
actually a bit depressing to begin with. I've been to this conference
once before, in 2006 which was building Apple hype and optimism but
pre-iphone, and it was great that everyone was happy to talk about
what they were doing, etc and just generally excited. This time
around... I only spoke to a couple of people, and overheard a few more
conversations, but it felt like almost everyone was just pitching
their latest shitty iphone app (I dunno, maybe they were all good, but
it felt a lot more cynical and like gold-rush fever).

One vaguely fun thing worth mentioning: In the main area they had a large display made up of about a 5x5 cinema display grid, which had the icons of the top 20,000 iphone apps from the store.  Every time one of them sold its icon would flash and shake a little.  There was a lot of shaking going on!

The most obvious sign of this was actually in the queue. There were
heaps of people and companies handing out fliers and generally
pitching (almost all involving the iphone). There was a solitary guy
handing out business-card ads for his "iDrinkulator" (I believe it
calculates the calories in what you're drinking), there was a team of
people handing out paper advertising their "paperless business-cards"
(eco-friendly, apparently), there was a team advertising Symbian
development, and most memorably there was a team of girls from
"iPorn", on a horse-drawn carriage and just walking around (it was
quite a cold morning too; wouldn't have been the easiest money they've
ever earned I'm guessing!)
And yes, I think I was the only person in the building without an iphone.

Mark Hepburn 08 June 2009
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