Would Apple’s momentous WWDC 2014 have happened under Steve Jobs?

“Tim Cook began the WWDC 2014 keynote promising ‘the mother of all releases for developers’ and ‘the biggest release since the launch of the App Store.’ He was not exaggerating,” Matt Drance writes for Apple Outsider. “In a 30 minute span, Apple knocked nearly every item off the community’s list of wishes and complaints. As I said on the Debug podcast last week, it’s as big a Monday as I can remember for developers. And I can remember quite a few.”

“Releases like this don’t come often, because the decisions and effort behind them aren’t applied lightly. The massive technical and political change required and subsequently generated by things like extensibility, third-party keyboards, and a new programming language, bears massive risk both inside and outside of Apple,” Drance writes. “That risk — to security, to battery life, to a consistent experience that customers know and trust — was constantly evaluated when I fought for SDK enhancements as a Technology Evangelist inside Apple. And more often than not, it was decided either that the risks were too high, or that there wasn’t enough time to solve the problem while sufficiently containing those risks.”

“This was my first WWDC since 2011. That keynote was Steve Jobs’ last, and it lacked the excitement needed to counter his visible lack of energy. Responses to the events since (and perhaps even a few prior events) paled in comparison to the response we saw last week from press and developers alike. Apple has needed time to cope not just with losing Steve, but with the idea that Apple wouldn’t be his company anymore,” Drance writes. “That process began some time before October 5, 2011. It ended on June 2, 2014. Josh Topolsky kind of said it, Ben Thompson kind of said it, so let’s just say it: This wouldn’t have happened under Steve Jobs.”

MacDailyNews Take: That statement lacks a full appreciation for all of Steve Jobs’ qualities. Did Intel-based Macs happen under Jobs? Yes, they did. Did Jobs change his mind from thrid-party Web apps-only for iPhone to an App Store and an iOS SDK? Yes, he did. All of this most certainly could have happened under Steve Jobs.

“What we saw at WWDC 2014 was built by thousands of people. The leadership at the top empowered those people to not only proceed, but to succeed,” Drance writes. “The attitude behind WWDC 2014 was one of increased openness and increased confidence — an attitude that managed to depart from the worst of the past while staying true to the best. Apple is undeniably the new company it deserves to be, and Tim Cook’s stewardship is on full display. I’m as excited for the future we haven’t yet seen as I am for the one we were just shown in San Francisco.”

Read more in the full article – recommended except for that bit about what would have happened under Steve Jobs – here.


  1. Remarkable. The hype has gone viral. The WWDC was, as we say in Texas, all hat and no cattle. Since when did ordinary updates to the OS, tweaks to stuff, and “new” features that weren’t asked for nor will they be used. You have go give the hapless Mr. Cook this – his legions of supporters will whoop and holler at nothing at all. Wow.

    1. You’re excused since you’re clearly not a developer. Average Jay will for most part lack the necessary insight into the profound impact of what was presented at wwdc.

    2. The proof of how “doomed” Apple is: split-adjusted share price when Jobs died = $54. Price now = $91. Most companies would be fairly pleased with a 69% increase in less than three years, and no company had as many outstanding shares that went up that much in value.

  2. Developers wanted these things, and now, they have them. These sterling lads and lasses will roll up their sleeves and a year from now we will see a cornucopia of food for the mind and senses emanating from what we once called hardware, but since have become friendly (if nonbiological) personal assistants. I’ve already named my iPhone Kitters.—What?! I’ll have you know, lots of people have pet names for their cars, and boats…

    1. Cars and boats? I had pet names for my special spoons, pens and coffee cups! The sat-nav talks to me and I call her ‘Minnie’. (Sometimes she fights with Siri.. ).

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