At WWDC22, It’s All About the Ecosystem

I’m writing this sitting on a couch in an apartment in San Jose that I rented for the week with everyone’s favorite Widgetmaker, David Smith. He’s hard at work doing … developer things … as I catch up on sessions, blog posts and more.

I was fortunate enough to get an invite to attend the Keynote on Monday, joining about 1,000 developers and a bunch of press people at Apple Park.

I’ve been traveling for WWDC since 2013, but this was my second time to be at the Keynote itself. 2019 — the last in-person WWDC keynote — was my first to attend in person.

As I’ve absorbed the news Apple announced and played with betas of iPadOS and iOS 16 as well as macOS Ventura, I’ve also gotten to spend time with friends who I haven’t seen in three years. Sitting here now, I can’t help but notice the thread running through all of it:

It’s all about the ecosystem.

For Apple, that means pushing new features to the iPhone, iPad and Mac at the same time … for the most part. Hopefully, the days of the iPhone leading the way with cool new features for the other platforms to pick up a year or two later are behind us.

This gets everyone a little closer to Apple’s ideal world of users seamlessly — and often — moving between their devices, picking up an iPhone or opening a MacBook Air just as their needs change, moment to moment.

For Mac enthusiasts, it brings great relief. Not that long ago, many in the Mac community feared their beloved platform was being slowly forgotten about within Apple, left to wither as the iPhone and iPad bloomed in the light of the company’s attention.

While I do think Apple took its eye off the ball when it came to the Mac for a little while, I think fear of its demise was overblown. Apple has certainly shown its love for the Mac in terms of Apple silicon, but also in macOS releases that keep it lock-step with the iPhone and iPad.

The other side of the software coin is all the people that make it possible. From developers, to members of the media, to folks at Apple, everyone I spoke to this week remarked at how nice it was to see folks again.

For many of us, WWDC22 marked the first time we’ve traveled for work in a long time, and while there certainly are still risks with COVID, I feel like Apple did a good job at reducing those risks while having so many people together in one place.

I hope that Apple uses this format for WWDC moving forward. It seems to strike a good balance between reaching its nearly 40 million developers while still giving in-person access to a small group. Things like virtual labs should continue, while the new Developer Center let Apple do more in-person, year-round. I really think WWDC will come out of the pandemic better than it was before, and that’s pretty exciting.