iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 4

As expected, Apple today released its fourth Beta version of the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0. As mentioned before I can’t mention the new features/changes due to the NDA. You can find them pretty easily if you just Google. My prediction is one more beta prior to this year’s WWDC 2010 and launch sometime in mid/late June.

Future of Flash!

Flash here to stay or not? If Apple and Microsoft had their way, Flash will certainly be on its way out. After all, do we really need Flash anymore? For any new piece of technology to be successful, there needs to be a real problem that it can solve. That is exactly what Macromedia (remember them, before Adobe bought them out) did back in 1996 (yes!) when they launched FutureSplash Animator, quickly followed by Flash 1. Back then browsers (IE & Netscape) could just about manage pictures, let alone animation and sound. In 1996, Internet Explorer was at its infancy and Netscape wasn’t that much ahead, while we all had to use really slow modems! Browser rendering engines were limited to basic text & image positioning. Modems couldn’t cope with large amounts of data and scripting languages didn’t exist.

Macromedia had an idea, “what if we could make things move, interact and make sounds but still download quickly?”. And that is exactly what they achieved by building a client rendering engine (Flash Player) that could work inside browsers, yet at the same minimise data transfers by using a proprietary compressed binary file format. It was great, the web became alive. Suddenly we could all play games and watch movies. The arrival of course of home-made videos, YouTube and the cheap availability of fast broadband connections meant that Flash was more in demand than ever.

It wasn’t though only the connections and hardware that became better in all these years of Flash domination, the browsers became exceptionally sophisticated and capable at managing pretty much any type of content. New kids on the block (such as WebKit) made sure that browsers could really and truly tap in to the power of modern operating systems and their graphics stacks. This meant that suddenly there is no need for smaller downloads, nor the need for an extra layer (Flash Player) to achieve something that your browser can do pretty much better and straight out of the box.

As I said in the beginning, any new piece of technology is successful if it solves a real problem. Flash did just that for over a decade. Now that problem that does not exist anymore as browsers have natively taken over, therefore I think it is time for Flash to respectfully leave the party on a high!

WWDC 2010 – Sold Out!

>In only 8 days, this year’s WWDC in San Francisco has been sold out! This is the third year in a row that the conference is a sell out. This year though it was in only 8 days and not in a month like last year. I think this clearly demonstrates that the iPhone OS platform is a very serious platform and that more and more developers are seeing its potential. In only 2 years, Apple has fundamentally changed the developer world. Only a small percentage of developers would have ever considered developing apps for the Mac platform using Xcode and Objective-C, but 2 years on, that is not the case anymore. Developers are realising the potential and power of this new platform, and are flocking by the thousands to events like the WWDC.

This of course fundamentally changes the potential of developing not just for the iPhone OS platform but ultimately for the Mac OS platform. Could this be a repeat of what happened to Apple after it launched the first iPod? Before Apple launched the iPod and iTunes, the company was pretty much bankrupt. Users started liking the iPod and eventually thought, and rightly so, that “if their iPod is this good – then their computers must be too”. Apple very cleverly lured people away from PCs & Windows to the simplicity of the Mac. Could this be happening now for developers?

I couldn’t help but wonder, could this really be a time of major shift in developers? Could we see more and more developers shifting to the Mac/Objective-C platform? After all, “if it is this easy to develop for the iPhone OS – then it must be easy to develop for the Mac platform”. It is not easy for any developer to switch to Objective-C, but it is easy enough for a developer with the right foundations. Anyone with good understanding of object-oriented concepts and C could do the jump quite easily. The rest is simply just syntax! A good creative author that writes novels in English can write equally good novels in French, they would just need to learn French.

It is certainly an exciting time for all of us. I think that people who choose to ignore the Mac and iPhone OS platforms are doing so at their own peril.

See you all 5,000 developers in San Francisco in exactly one month from now!

WWDC 2010 Keynote Predictions

Right well, one moth to go till WWDC 2010 and as promised I will be covering the event from San Francisco, via this blog, Twitter and Facebook. Here’s my predictions for it:

  1. iPhone 4th Generation (Well we know about that already), new A4 processor, more RAM, possibly more storage space, front camera, iChat and better camera. I still think that Apple will pull something our of their sleeves regarding this though. Maybe wireless syncing!
  2. iPhone OS 4 release (and possibly beta for iPad)
  3. iTunes 9.2 (possibly iTunes X!!!)
  4. Updated Mac Pro systems
  5. Mac OS X 10.7 Preview

The bets are on – lets see what actually happens.

If any of you are actually attending this year’s WWDC drop me a line and say hi when in SF. I will be loitering around Moscone West, Third Street & Montgomery Street (my favourite). I am also thinking of taking a trip down to Cupertino and visit the real Apple Campus Visitor Store!