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Jobs to Developers: 'A Problem or an Opportunity?'

by Daniel H. Steinberg and Derrick Story
05/22/2001

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is a master of keeping his message simple. Certainly this was the case at Monday's fireside chat that kicked off Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2001).

Jobs clear message to developers was this: That in the new Apple marketplace, "Impatience for Mac OS X apps will take precedence over brand loyalty; will take precedence over the learning they've invested [in Classic apps]. This will be a problem for some and an opportunity for others."

In other words, if you're a developer and you're not working on Carbon or Cocoa applications, then you may find yourself with a shrinking customer base. On the other hand, developers who are willing to get Mac OS X applications out in the marketplace quickly have a new opportunity -- one that they haven't seen in years.

Steve Jobs explained that Apple is doing its part by:

  • Showing complete commitment to Mac OS X. In fact, they're betting their future on it.

  • Apple will continue to improve the new operating system.

  • As of this week, Apple is preinstalling Mac OS X on all new machines that are shipping -- nearly two months ahead of what had been scheduled.

  • Developers can look to Apple for support as they work toward "Carbonizing" their existing applications, or writing new ones in Cocoa.

The fireside chat was clearly a call to arms for developers. He exhorted developers to start working on native apps now because, "The train has left the station."

Comment on this articleAs a developer of Mac applications, what's your response to Steve Jobs' charge to create Carbon and Cocoa apps now?
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More Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Coverage:

Cocoa Vs. Carbon?

Java Plays Prominent Role at WWDC 2001

Mac Technologies Enabled for Java

Related Books:

Learning Cocoa

Learning Carbon

As an interesting footnote to the immensity of this endeavor, Jobs went on to say that, "By the end of the year, Apple will be the largest supplier of Unix."

So the new battle cry is, "The power of Unix and the simplicity of a Mac." The power of Mac OS X is this:

  • Protected memory
  • Continuous virtual memory
  • Preemptive multitasking
  • Multithreading
  • Symmetric multiprocessing
  • BSD Unix services -- APIs and tools
  • Open source for the core operating system

As for the "simplicity of a Mac," aspect of the charge, much of that will depend on developer ingenuity. At first look, Mac OS X isn't as simple as what Mac users are traditionally used to. The developers who can capture that old magic in their new Cocoa and Carbon apps will certainly have an advantage in the new Apple marketplace.

Daniel H. Steinberg is the editor for the new series of Mac Developer titles for the Pragmatic Programmers. He writes feature articles for Apple's ADC web site and is a regular contributor to Mac Devcenter. He has presented at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, MacWorld, MacHack and other Mac developer conferences.

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.


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