Boston Leopard Tech Talk

January 22nd, 2007

We in New England and points north were treated to a Leopard Tech Talk from Apple today, held in glamorous Dedham, MA. I was very shocked and pleased to observe a huge crowd of attendees, and when I asked a member of Apple’s staff, he suggested that the number of registered attendees was around 400 people!

I never knew I was surrounded by so many Mac nerds.

Overall I had a great time, in spite of the fact that I woke up at an hour normally reserved for long-distance air travel. I started up my mostly-neglected car at 7:30AM, waited for it to warm up, and putted through the light snow to arrive in Dedham shortly after 8:00AM.

They reminded us early on that everything we would learn was subject to NDA. Well, not everything. Some of it is already public knowledge, or serves no purpose is staying secret, so I’ll share these vague observations:

  1. Apple is delivering a kick-ass collection of developer-happy features in Leopard. Developers who see the set of features thus far revealed are inclined to ask: “Can I make my app 10.5 only?”
  2. Sal Soghoian, who has graced this blog with comments, is stellar speaker. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing him perform before, and he’s got great style and grace, while making it look effortless. A real diamond for Apple.
  3. Apple remembers the HIG, and may find time to prove it to us one of these days. They also understand the need to “violate” the HIG. Duh, that’s why it’s a guideline, and not a rule.
  4. Apple has a magic quality that few other companies have. No, I don’t think this is just because I drank the Kool-Aid. Apple cares about quality. And they care about the user. This is evidenced by the raised eyebrows and the strained passionate voices of their employees as they explain the importance of various system improvements that will cause a better user experience.

I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of the Leopard Tech Talk Tour is, but I’m guessing it’s mainly to connect with developers and plant the message that Leopard is awesome. And if it’s important to plant that message, then they must realize that they need us. The goal of the talks is to excite my little developer brain, encourage me to renew my ADC membership, cause me to download and experiment with nifty new APIs, and pledge to remain a dedicated Mac platform developer. And, to feed me some cookies.

Mission accomplished.

22 Responses to “Boston Leopard Tech Talk”

  1. Richard Neal Says:

    Urgh, I had signed up and was planning to go to that. If you had posted that you’d be going to it beforehand, I’d definitely have remembered. Ah well, there’s always Lynx.

  2. Joe Goh Says:

    Wow, the Singapore Leopard Tech Talk has a completely different feel. Although I did come away with lots of useful information (that further threatens to turn my app Leopard-only), I did glean it mainly from reading the slides and not really from listening to the speakers. The speakers were clearly not speaking their native language and maybe because of that or maybe other reasons, their passion for Mac OS X did not come through at all. Their job seems to be mainly reading the slides.

    I don’t know about the Boston tech talk, but it seems that most of the people attending the Singapore tech talk were mainly either students curious about Mac development (but have yet to write any Mac program yet) or developers from the scientific community here. As the talks got more technical throughout the day, the number of attendees dropped substantially. At the end of the talk, less than half of the initial number of attendees were left. I have a feeling most of the attendees were here just to see Leopard in action, and as they found out that this is going to be a developer-centric talk with lots of code on screen, they tuned out. And the speakers knowing this, skipped past the slides with code on screen really quickly, causing me to jot down as quickly as I can the stuff that i’m interested in.

    Its really dissapointing that this is happening, as after each session, I had a whole list of questions that I would like to ask, but the engineers that were speaking didn’t seem to know too much about the technologies they were speaking about either.

    As i’ve said before, I did learn alot from the tech talk, but with the presentations done so poorly over here, I could have just waited for the slides to be available for download and just read it at home.

    I did get to meet one fellow Singaporean Mac developer and had a great conversation, and the lunch provided was pretty good, so I guess there are a few bright sides. :-)

  3. Simone Manganelli Says:

    Reading this post about the Leopard Tech Talk is kind of funny, because the first two of your points are pretty much identical observations that I made in my own weblog post. It sounds like a lot of developers had similar experiences with regards to the Leopard Tech Talk; it was great to have an opportunity to get a sneak peek at all the new developer APIs and to get to hear it from the experts.

  4. Blake C. Says:

    Nice plug, Simone. And keep owning that info just because Apple hit your street before they hit Dan’s. ;)

    Great read, Daniel- keep up the good work.

  5. Conor Says:

    I have got to move back to Boston, I feel left out. Living vicariously through Daniel, unfortunately he can’t give me the good parts; I am off to buy a cookie and pretend I was there.

  6. taybin Says:

    I’m going to the NYC one tomorrow. Then we can pass NDA’d notes to each other.

  7. Vineet Bhatia Says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I was lucky enough to attend the Tiger Tech Talk last time around. The Leopard tech talks are a huge improvement – sample code, presentations on ADC iTunes (altho I haven’t been able to download them yet)

    The reason for the high number of attendees is simple – Mac OS X rocks and developers are realizing that. Also this time around they were announced a lot earlier and registration was open for much longer.

    I didn’t get a chance to goto Sal’s presentation but you should send feedback about his presentation he just might get a raise :-)
    I thought all the other evangelists did a great job – Mathiew Formica, Allan Schaffer and the guy who did Cocoa side of the Core Animation presentation.

    - vineet (Cocoa newbie)

  8. Scott Stevenson Says:

    I think the purpose is basically to hold a mini WWDC for the people that can’t make it to the big one. Obviously, they want developers to adopt Leopard for a bunch of different reasons.

    Apple has a magic quality that few other companies have

    Jonathan Ive’s quote from 1999 captures it really well:

    “The first time I used a Mac,” he says, “it was so clear that somebody had paid attention to details that nobody else would have noticed. I remember thinking, ‘That’s remarkable. Why did they care so much?’”

  9. Mike Says:

    “Developers who see the set of features thus far revealed are inclined to ask: “Can I make my app 10.5 only?”

    Now, if only they could include something that would make consumers feel this excited as well. A better backup system and the ability to put a desert island backdrop behind my picture in iChat don’t quite do it for me at this point.

  10. Justin Miller Says:

    I’ll also be at NYC tomorrow. Since I was unable to make WWDC, I’m really looking forward to it. I’m ADC Select, so I’ve been playing with Leopard already, but I can’t wait to sit on some sessions.

    Thanks for the wrap-up, Daniel.

    Everyone else, drop me a line if you want to meet up tomorrow!

  11. Jon Trainer Says:

    Yesterday’s talks were definitely worth the time. The presentations were excellent and inspiring.

    I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to chat with other Mac developers. Like you, I really had no idea there were so many of us in the New England area.

  12. jon deal Says:

    Sal is indeed awesome.

    I saw him at a Seybold conference a million years ago. I was totally hooked on AppleScript by the end of his talk.

  13. Deric Horn Says:

    It’s great to see so many developers excited about Leopard, and see the whole developer community really getting closer, getting a chance to meet one another, and growing.

    It was great catching up with you again.
    - the guy who did Cocoa side of the Core Animation presentation (-;

  14. Bob Peterson Says:

    Sal managed to convince me to support AppleScript and Automator, if not actually use them yet. The NDA prevents me from saying more here, but I will file a Radar report as I now know they are serious about them.

  15. orta Says:

    The UK Leopard Tech Talk had about 15 people, it went alright but I didn’t feel like I learnt too much. It was also rushed due to traffic.

  16. Kell Brown Says:

    I went to the one in Toronto. It was packed. Some good information about Leopard and some nice demos. Just from the point of seeing where they are with Leopard it was good. Since I don’t have a copy of Leopard it was nice to try out some of the features I’ve been waiting for especially core animation, time machine and spaces.

    Snacks were good and plentiful. Advice and technical assistance to developer was similar but there was absolutely no swag. No even a t-shirt or a stress ball and definitely no Leopard Headstart kit.

  17. l0ne Says:

    Stay tuned: Milan Tech Talk coming tomorrow, I’ll report (what I can, of course: NDAs will be respected :D).

  18. Jacob Rus Says:

    I had signed up to go, but then didn’t really plan much ahead, what with being out of town on vacation, then for macworld, etc. I realized the day before the event that the hotel where they held it is miles from the nearest bus stop, and the only way I’d have been able to get there was by $60 taxi ride. Oh well. :(

  19. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Jacob – it’s a shame you couldn’t make it. Actually it seems like many people were under the impression that there wasn’t public transit, but the Franklin commuter train apparently stops about 7 minutes walk from the hotel.

  20. David Hoerl Says:

    I was at the NYC meeting, even though I was at last year’s WWDC. It was worth the day to hear topics again, and this time they sunk in a bit more. Deric Horn did a great job on the two presentations of his I saw (very knowledgeable, very passionate!)

    I was happy to actually spent about 30 minutes with John Geleynse – an Apple Evangelist and GUI expert. Anyone attending WWDC knows John is normally surrounded by a huge crowd of people trying to get a slice of time, so this was an unheard of opportunity!

    I too had to get up at 5 something AM to get into NYC by 8AM – what a long day – but it was well worth it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

    My personal belief is that Apple is spending the time and effort on forge a union with the developers to get the user base to move up to Leopard by any means necessary (carrot, stick, or both). When developers enhance apps for out of date OSs, they often hinder their use of new features and in essence create reasons for the user base to stay on the old release. That said, I understand the realities of the world only too well.

    In the future, anyone who has an opportunity to get a free one-day mini WWDC should grab it as quickly and tightly as possible!

  21. l0ne Says:

    Just got back from WWDC Milan. Had lots of fun, and saw Leopard in action for free (!) and got to look at all that NDA’d goodness that I can’t talk about here :p suffice to say I’m positively impressed with the under-the-hood new machinery (especially Core Animation). The speakers were nice and spoke clearly (which for a non-native speaker can really be the difference between a great experience and 10 hours wasted sitting on a chair).

    Only bad thing: no details on code injection (mach_inject) issues which my users are reporting (Leopard is even stricter than x86 Tiger in that respect). Probably not yet finalized; I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished product :p

  22. Allan Schaffer Says:

    Hi all,
    Glad you enjoyed the tech talks and hope you were able to get a lot of useful content out of them. And as you guessed, much of our purpose in doing these events is to bring developers up to speed on Leopard features & to help so you all can write apps that will really make the most of what’s coming in Leopard.
    Our team just did the Atlanta tech talk today and it was another really good event. Meanwhile it sounds like the Milan event went well today also.
    Next week there’s stops in Munich, Hamburg, and Stockholm. Wish I was able to go for those. :-) But I’ll be there for Sydney in Feb, looking forward to meeting graphics developers “down undah”..!
    - Allan, Graphics Evangelist @ Apple

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