Thoughts on WWDC 2017

Trying to be a bit faster this time 🙂

So here goes… I started watching the keynote expecting it to be rather boring and without any really important announcements. When the keynote ended, I acknowledged how wrong I had been. And I even watched the State of the Union presentation later in the night (to US readers, I live in France, 9 hours ahead of Pacific Time). Lots of very cool stuff was announced, here are the ones which were among my interests :

– the iMac Pro : I’m still using my Mac Pro bought in February 2008. Never before had I used the same machine for so long, and it’s still holding up quite well. I could even update it to Sierra thanks to http://dosdude1.com/sierrapatch.html . I was waiting for a new version of the Mac Pro to come up, but that iMac Pro would be a real bargain for me, given the high quality display which would be my photographer needs.

I understood better the renewed interest from Apple to its comatose Pro line when I saw the iOS 11 features for iPad : Drag’n Drop, files, better split screen… this is bringing the iPad even closer to a regular PC. So, PCs (more specifically Macs) need to distinguish themselves more from the iPad, which simply means becoming more powerful. To reuse Steve Jobs’ car/truck metaphor, the Mac needs to become a bigger truck.

About dev tools : finally we have decent refactoring in Xcode. It took long enough, I expected it would happen quickly since Swift was introduced because it’s more strongly-typed than Objective C, and that makes refactoring somewhat easier. But since the feature also works for Objective C, C and C++, I’m probably wrong. I suppose they waited for Swift to be stable enough to go ahead, or the refactoring was part of the full rewrite of the source editor (another good thing).

CoreML and ARKit are just awesome. Like with SceneKit and SpriteKit I’m trying to devise some project that would give me a reason to use them. Although with CoreML I have one already : automated tagging of photos. When photographing concerts, I almost ritually that pictures of stage details like the song list taped on the floor, the pedal boards, or the guitarist’s hand on his guitar neck, or more generally hands over instruments. I sometimes make an effort to add the appropriate tag on these images, but it’s a real chore, and I’m sure an automated tagging tool would be able to automagically do it after being trained on a few images.

About Photos.app : it’s nice that it’s adding new edit tools (curves, here) making it slowly on par with Aperture in that regard, but it’s still not able to serve the needs of even a semi-pro photographer like I am. No metadata handling, library management is basically non-existent… May be they still secretly plan to incrementally add features until it reaches the same level of functionality as Aperture but I doubt that’s even feasible from a usability point of view. It’s still a shame that Mac photographers are stuck with Lightroom’s poor UI.

Finally, this post by Steven Sinofsky is quite insightful about all of Apple’s announcements this year.