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Archives for : wwdc

Aimless and Impractical WWDC 2016 Wish-List

Only another week for everyone to get in their wish lists and predictions for WWDC 2016. I’m not going out to SF this year, and will be following along at home. Safe travels to everyone who’s headed out there, of course!

Now, a couple things I’d love to see…

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AV WWDC, part 2: Fair Is Pretty Foul

Next up on our tour of WWDC 2015 media sessions is the innocently-titled Content Protection for HTTP Live Streaming. Sounds harmless, but I think there’s reason for worry.

For content protections, HLS has always had a story: transport segments get a one-time AES encryption, and can be served from a dumb http server (at CocoaConf a few years back, I demo’ed serving HLS from Dropbox, before it was https:-always). You’re responsible for guarding the keys and delivering them only to authenticated users. AV Foundation can get the keys, decrypt the segments, and play them with no client-side effort beyond handling the authentication. It’s a neat system, because it’s easy to deploy on content delivery networks, as you’re largely just dropping off a bunch of flat files, and the part you protect on your own server is tiny.

So what’s “FairPlay Streaming”, then?

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AV WWDC, part 1: Hot Dog… The AVMovie

I attended WWDC for the first time since 2011, thanks largely to the fact that working for Rev means I need to go out to the office in San Francisco every 6 weeks anyways, so why not make it that week and put my name in the ticket lottery. I probably won’t make a habit of returning to WWDC, and the short supply of tickets makes that a given anyways, but it was nice to be back just this once.

Being there for work, my first priority was making use of unique-to-attendee resources, like the one-on-one UI design reviews and the developers in the labs. The latter can be hit-or-miss based on your problem… we didn’t get any silver bullet for our graphics code, but scored a crucial answer in Core Audio. We’ve found we have to fall back to the software encoder because the hardware encoder (kAppleHardwareAudioCodecManufacturer) would cause ExtAudioFileWrite() to sometimes fail with OSStatus -66570 (kExtAudioFileError_AsyncWriteBufferOverflow). So I asked about that and was told “oh yeah, we don’t support hardware encoding anymore… the new devices don’t need it and the property is just ignored”. I Slacked this to my boss and his reaction was “would be nice if that were in the documentation!” True enough, but at least that’s one wall we can stop banging our head against.

Speaking of media, now that everyone’s had their fill of “Crusty” and the Protocol-Oriented Programming session, I’m going to post a few blogs about media-related sessions.

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Dub Dub Disclosure Conference

Interesting development coming out of WWDC this year. When we all logged into the dev center to get the new iOS 8 / Mac OS X 10.10 / Xcode 6 bits, there was a new developer agreement to acknowledge. One of the few people to actually read it, Ole Begemann, noticed that it has a surprising new provision:

Further, Apple agrees that You will not be bound by the foregoing confidentiality terms with regard to technical information about pre-release Apple Software and services disclosed by Apple at WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference), except that You may not post screen shots, write public reviews or redistribute any pre-release Apple Software or services

In the past, all of us developers have had to tip-toe around the new SDKs, APIs, and tools until they’re officially released, which leads to embarrassing situations like WWDC recap sessions at CocoaHeads where we say “well, if they were going to put an Obj-C wrapper around Core Audio, they might…”. This new change in policy would seem to indicate that we’re no longer compelled to engage in such silly antics.

Fry: Not sure if NDA is still on, or if I just broke it

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New Skepticism About the Old iOS Inter-App Communication Problem

WWDC is next week, and hope springs eternal that the walls between apps will come down, or at least they’ll be a little more permeable. Typifying this long-running wish is the rumor that iPads will offer a side-by-side mode, ala Windows 8.1, allowing more direct data sharing between two apps running concurrently.

As always, I’m skeptical. And I guess what’s driving that skepticism is the sense that few iOS developers are using the data-sharing APIs we already have.

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Dub Dub Don’t Care

So, yesterday was the big random drawing for the privilege of buying WWDC 2014 tickets. I’ve argued this is the second time that Apple handled it as a lottery, only last year, the drawing was administered by the load balancer sitting in front of apple.com, or the traffic routing going into it.

Last year was also the year that a substantial part of the OS X / iOS community started to become disenchanted with WWDC in its current form… when even developers with the “if you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to get a ticket” bravado were finally crunched by the numerical reality of far too much demand for far too few seats. Daniel Jalkut moved past the Twitter mob butt-hurt to make a clear-eyed case to End WWDC.

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AV Foundation and the void

Yesterday I streamed some WWDC sessions while driving to meet with a client. At a stop, I posted this pissy little tweet:

It got enough quizzical replies (and a couple favorites), I figured I should elaborate as best I can, while staying away from all things NDA.

Part of what I’m reacting to comes from a habit of mine of deliberately seeking the unseen, which I picked up either from Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, or Bastiat’s essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (“What is Seen and What is Unseen”), because of course with me it’s going to either be samurai or economics, right? Anyways, the idea is to seek truth not in what you encounter, but what is obvious by its absence. It’s something I try to do when editing: don’t focus only on what’s there in the document, also figure out if anything should be there, and isn’t.

And when I look at AV Foundation on iOS and especially on OS X, I feel like there are a lot of things missing.

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The Case Against an Apple TV SDK

It seems just last year we were on the verge of WWDC, wondering whether Apple might release an Apple TV SDK. Oh, that’s right, it was last year that we were talking about this. And there’s still no SDK, but hope springs annual.

Playing a bit with the Roku SDK has me reconsidering if and why an Apple TV SDK makes sense, and I think it boils down to one simple question:

What can you do better on an Apple TV than you can do with the iPhone or iPad you’re already using?

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Never Mind the WWDC, Here’s the CocoaConfs

So now CocoaConf Alt isn’t happening. A story at Loop Insight lays the blame more clearly at Apple’s feet for pressuring the Intercontinental hotel, which apparently has some contractural relationship with Apple during WWDC (it’s not said what… possibly housing Apple employees or off-site partner meetings?), and that this contract forbids the hotel from hosting a “competing” event.

I’ve spoken at nearly all the CocoaConf conferences, and I have no reason to doubt Dave’s version of these events. Indeed, while some commenters would like to portray this as a spat solely between the Intercontinental and CocoaConf – and leave Apple out of it – that position doesn’t square with the facts. If the Intercontinental knew they were contracturally prohibited from hosting CocoaConf Alt, they wouldn’t have signed a contract with CocoaConf in the first place, right? Daniel Jalkut makes the best case for letting Apple off the hook, suggesting that someone at either the Intercontiental or Apple got a trigger finger and killed the event when they didn’t necessarily need to. That the Intercontinental realized it was in a conflict-of-interest scenario after the fact is possible, but it’s no more plausible than the idea that Apple doesn’t like anyone riding on their coattails and sent the hotel management a nastygram.

For what it’s worth, that latter scenario is the one that rings true to me. (Or, to haul out a tag I haven’t used in a while, nefarious skullduggery!).

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Article: A Tour of the iOS Media Frameworks

Pearson asked for an article they could post on InformIT during WWDC week, to promote the Learning Core Audio book (buy it from the publisher, Amazon, iBooks, whatever), and I felt a useful Core Audio article would easily blow past their 1,500-2,000 word guideline.

So instead, A Tour of the iOS Media Frameworks offers a high-level view of the different ways to play, record, and manipulate media on iOS, with a particular focus on determining which framework suits a particular purpose. So, hopefully, it’s approachable for all readers, and will guide you to where you might want to dig in further.