With games reaching new importance for the company, perhaps corporate coders are better served by being shut out from WWDC.
It wasn't that
long ago that Apple courted the enterprise IT dollar with rack-mounted servers,
solid and reliable RAID arrays, grid computing and storage networking. Today,
that's just a memory.
continues to maintain and support server software, such as Xgrid and Xsan, the
hardware is history. But after the first-day sellout of this year's Worldwide
Developer Conference, I'm beginning to wonder if Apple holds some kind of
grudge against enterprise developers.
away from enterprise hardware was inevitable as it continues to evolve, from
being a company that made computers, to one that sells gadgets and takes a cut
from the sale of content for those gadgets. Since the enterprise never embraced
Apple's computers, it's hard to fault founder and CEO Steve Jobs and his minions
for returning the favor-if that is indeed what's taking place. I can't blame
Apple for pulling the plug on its server-class hardware. It's hard to make
money in that market in the best of times, and the last few years have been
anything but "the best" for enterprise IT.
contrast to their outright hostility to the Mac platform, business IT leaders
seem to be embracing Apple's mobile devices, especially now that the iPad is
proving its usefulness in corporate settings. Corporate developers, who once
considered the idea of coding for the Mac to be a waste of time, are being
asked to take their skills and apply them to the creation of applications for
in developing iOS applications for the enterprise at an all-time high, one
would think that this year's WWDC would have a lot to offer corporate
developers, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Apple is following the
dollar, and courting game developers instead.
As the blog AppleInsider pointed out shortly after
registrations closed, corporate developers were in all likelihood shut out from
any hope of attending. After all, on the best of days, it usually takes more
than a few hours to get the permission of one's bosses and bean counters to
attend a show where fundamental expenses-registration ($1,599), airfare (for a
round number, let's use $700) and hotel (let's call that $200 per night, for
four or five nights)-can easily exceed $3,000 before one's even left for the
I think it's
interesting that Apple is quite happy to charge corporate developers three
times what "civilian" developers pay for access to the iOS application-development
program, while effectively not inviting the former to Apple's biggest
developer-oriented clambake. Granted, the enterprise developers aren't shackled
by the walled garden that is Apple's iTunes App Store, as the iOS Enterprise
Program is strictly aimed at application development for internal consumption;
that, alone, may be worth the extra coin.
Apple's fickle behavior in years past, the company might actually be doing
enterprise developers another favor in excluding them from WWDC. After all,
when the iPhone debuted, Web-based applications were the new hotness and
developers were told that Apple had no plans to extend Cocoa to mobile devices.
to today. Web applications are yesterday's news, and Cocoa Touch is where
it's at for iOS. It also turns out that those applications that use the
embedded iOS Web viewer can't leverage the performance optimizations that Apple
has built into the mobile version of its Safari Web browser.
It may be that
by skipping WWDC, enterprise developers can resist the lure of Apple's famed
reality-distortion field, and focus on the needs of their internal customers
for the long haul. Given the way RIM and Mozilla have embraced Android, that's
looking like the better bet for mobile enterprise applications with every day
that passes. Nevertheless, it would be nice of Apple to admit that it sees the
enterprise as irrelevant, when so much of its income is derived from games and
P. J. Connolly began writing for IT publications in 1997 and has a lengthy track record in both news and reviews. Since then, he's built two test labs from scratch and earned a reputation as the nicest skeptic you'll ever meet. Before taking up journalism, P. J. was an IT manager and consultant in San Francisco with a knack for networking the Apple Macintosh, and his love for technology is exceeded only by his contempt for the flavor of the month. Speaking of which, you can follow P. J. on Twitter at pjc415, or drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.