Sunday, June 10, 2007, 05:00 pm
Apple WWDC to focus on Leopard, web media, Windows convertsMac OS X Leopard is just one of three primary focuses for the 2007 edition of Apple's developer conference, company officials say. This year's gathering will reportedly stress Internet content more than ever while also catering to a rising niche: Windows switchers.
Most expect the next version of Apple's operating system to take center stage at the San Francisco event, a fact already reflected in the company's promo banners around the Moscone Center. But the Mac maker this year will be reaching out to some new audiences, including those who have never written code for the Mac.
Apple's attention in recent years has largely stuck to its base of loyal developers, and typically only sees outsiders who are new to development or are used to writing for Linux and other open development platforms. During WWDC 2006, however, the company noticed that roughly a third of its entire conference audience consisted of first-time developers coming from closed-source backgrounds -- a pleasant surprise, according to Apple's Worldwide Developer Relations head Ron Okamoto.
"Traditionally, we've seen lots of young people, coming out of college, or perhaps with open source backgrounds, getting introduced to the Mac," he told Paul Thurrott over at the SuperSite for Windows. "But now we're seeing people who have Windows and UNIX coding experience getting on the Mac in ever-bigger numbers."
The unprecedented shift has driven Apple to create session tracks it would never have considered possible until now. While Monday for most Mac developers will have a light schedule -- highlighted primarily by a keynote from Apple CEO Steve Jobs in the morning -- newcomers to Mac development will be consumed with Immersion Monday, a whole-day program built explicitly to help coders that may not grasp even the basics of writing Mac software.
Other sessions during the week will help tackle more specific aspects, with the ultimate aim of laying the groundwork for those who might have been lost in transitioning from .NET or other outside platforms in earlier years. "When [newcomers are] done Friday, they'll have gotten a nice jump start to getting around the Mac," Okamoto claims.
Just as new is an emphasis on the proliferation of online audio and video, according to the SuperSite's report. A new track, named Content and Media, is tailored just to those developers who need to focus on getting their media to the Internet. Though offline production will be covered, most tracks will focus on blending Apple's latest software with the web -- ranging from web-only AJAX and WebObjects code to the mixed-media Dashboard in Mac OS X or even crafting websites made just for the iPhone.
Leopard is set to give these content producers an edge regardless of how much they use the Internet, but the key will be unifying normally separate worlds. This is a specialty for Apple, Okamoto says. "The iTunes Store, and some things we do on our developer Web site, can point the way," he told the SuperSite.
No matter the background of the developer, the goal for this year's WWDC will be to live up to the conference's "worldwide" title by making the Mac's presence felt outside of familiar territory, both figuratively and literally: in addition to coders from rival platforms, Apple hopes to draw in guests from over 44 countries and foster growth beyond the company's American home.
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