Monday, 06. June 2022 was a big day for us. This day was the reason for our trip and certainly one of the highlights of our founder journey so far. We were invited to attend this year’s Apple WWDC keynote and special event in person. As two women who watch WWDC online every year, being able to be there in person was more than exciting. To be fair, Mihri already attended WWDC17 in person 5 years ago, but this year was different.
This year for the first time (and maybe only time?) the event took place inside of Apple Park - Apple’s corporate headquarter located in Cupertino, which is often referred to as the "spaceship" campus due to its unique ring-shaped design. Usually only Apple employees are allowed in there and only a limited number of developers from all over the world and Apple employees were invited to attend the “keynote viewing party”. As participants of the Apple Entrepreneur Camp 2022, we, Mihri and Jana were two of lucky ones.
We arrived at the Apple Park Visitor Center at 7.30 in the morning and were welcomed by very enthusiastic and cheerful Apple Employees shouting “We are so happy you are here. Are you exciteeeed?” - we certainly were. After checking in, showing our Covid tests results and passports we received our batches and swag package consisting of a cap, a water bottle, and a collection of enamel pins.
We then got a tour through the all-new Apple Developer Center, which has been somewhat of a mystery until now:
The Developer Center is for developers to come together with Apple engineers to ideate, test, fix bugs and implement new features for both apps and hardware components. There are different meeting and workshop rooms all named after macOS releases: Panther, Tiger, Leopard, El Capitan, and Mavericks.
One of the highlights is the Big Sur Theater, which feels like a mini version of Steve Jobs Theater — but equally as impressive: A large stage with an impressive audio and visual infrastructure.
Special for us: Going forward, the Apple Entrepreneurship Camp, which we participated in remotely earlier this year, will take place in person in one of the rooms. Logos of eCamp Alumni are showcased there - hopefully our colourful beams logo will be lined up there as well soon 🤩
Afterwards, we were escorted inside Apple Park together with all other participating eCamp Alumni - which already felt like special treatment. When we learned that the first rows infront of the big stage were reserved for us, we were blown away 🤯 But first, we grabbed some first-class breakfast options from the famous Caffè Macs.
Apple's WWDC22 keynote didn't disappoint with several substantial announcements like iOS 16, macOS 13 Ventura and the M2 Silicon chip. One thing that stood our was that Apple seems to aim at making its devices work better together. Words like “fluidity” and “connected” were used several times. Another big theme is about collaboration and sharing features.
The following announcements are directly related to what we build at beams:
- Widgets on the Lock Screen: The new customizable iPhone lock screen will let you personalize your screen with widgets, wallpapers and fonts (felt like Figma for your lock screen). It was also announced that the lock screen with be dynamically changing with your different focus modes. Your work mode for example could always show your upcoming meeting or mails and messages that relevant to your job. This is very close to our ambition and it makes us so happy to see that Apple keeps believing in and pushing the focus topic amongst its products.
- Live Activities: A new section on the lock screen showing the most current status of a current event: Think live ticker of a football game or arrival time of your Uber. We are thinking about exploring it for Beam’s vision of informing the user with the single most important thing at any given time.
- Stage Manager: A new way of multitasking that puts the app you're working on front and center. Guess what, it shall help you “focus on the app you're using without the distractions” - well this sounds familiar to us ;) Stage manager automatically arranges all windows off to the side and puts the app that’s currently being worked on in front and centre.
- Collaboration: Messages and FaceTime can be integrated into apps to collaborate with friends, family and colleagues using apps like Safari, Pages and Keynote.
- M2: chip on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13
- PayLater: can affect ‘post-purchase, installment provider’ type of businesses (Klarna, Seezle, Afterpay)
- Tap to pay on iPhone: can affect ‘card reader for small businesses’ type of companies (sumup, square)
- PassKey: generating and storing credentials securely. can affect ‘password management’ type of companies (1password, HashiCorp)
- CarPlay: car makers will have extended interface with deeper inteegrations with the iPhones apps & capabilities
- A feature that let’s you seamlessly use your iPhone as a webcam on video calls
The keynote was followed by a delicious and healthy lunch options at Caffe Macs.
Platforms State of the Union provides more in-depth technical details on everything announced during Apple's Keynote.
Related to beams:
- Swift Charts: better visualization of the data in the apps, we can use to show some insight to users with a visually appealing view (graphs for meetings, breaks, focus time, information about context switching)
- Automatic Shortcuts: we will explore further for work contexts, launching apps and snoozing notifications
WeatherAPI, Xcode Cloud for CI/CD, Metal 3 for gaming apps, Package Plugins for running commands on runtime/build time (linter check etc)
We joined a tour through Apple Park Hills and learned about its stunning architecture. The structure's open space harmonizes with the scenery so that at any point within Apple Park you can see nature.
There were also several stands where we were able to connect with Apple employees and ask specific questions about our product.
The closing of an overwhelming day at Apple Park was the ceremony of this year’s Apple Design Awards. It was truly inspiring to learn about the stories of all the finalists and see some great products receive the awards. Some familiar apps, some not so familiar - especially for non-gamers. 12 of them received the honourable award.
As if the day couldn’t get any better, we were invited by our Apple Partnership Manager to a dinner with seven other Germany-based app developers and startup founders. What we didn’t know is that amongst them two have received the Apple Design Award this year, two more were nominated and two more have received the award previously. Well and there was us lucky ones - what a cool opportunity to have dinner with them and exchange experiences.
An interesting side note: We were the only women at this dinner table. Mihri’s comment to this fact: “We are already having an impact.”