Monday was the kickoff of Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference and boy was it a doozie. I was one of the lucky ones to get a ticket and am so glad that I did. The conference, as everyone knows, is where Apple announces new tools for developers and this year did not disappoint. Lots of great new tools for developers like thousands of new APIs, a new operating system in iOS8, and extras like HomeKit and HealthKit. In addition to the announcements, there were lots of breakout sessions and Labs to get answers to questions and to interface with Apple’s team of engineers and SMEs. I’ll discuss more on this in another post.
It was pretty awesome to see Tim Cook and hear the charismatic Craig Federighi whom Cook affectionately (and rightfully) dubbed ‘Superman’ announce feature after feature that sent developers in Moscone West into a frenzy. With 5000 developers milling about, I must say that WWDC was incredibly well organized and staffed.
As expected, there were plenty of men at the conference and that was to be expected. As I understand it, Apple made an effort to ensure that there were more first-timers in attendance this year and they were successful in that regard. According to Cook, 78% were first timers. There also seemed to be more of an effort to include women. An Apple-sponsored Women In Technology get together was held on Wednesday afternoon and many men were in attendance. In attendance were women who’d been employees of Apple for years. They spoke of their love for the company, their jobs and the ability to achieve the ever-elusive work-life balance as employees and mothers. Many commented that they fact that there was a line to to the women’s restrooms as a testament to the significant increase in the number of women in attendance this year.
Medium, the blogging platform hosted a Women in Technology luncheon sponsored by WWDC Girls. Of the women who showed up though, not many were actual WWDC attendees. Ev Williams, Medium’s CEO, interviewed a female engineer about diversity at the company. Sadly, many of the women in attendance at the luncheon were not attendees of WWDC. Nonetheless, events like this were a step in the right direction. I look forward to seeing how Apple and other tech companies tackle the diversity issue moving forward.