Off-Road WWDC: Day Two

Following up on yesterday's Day 1 blog, here's Day 2 of my "off-road" observations of WWDC events and related topics:

Tuesday 11:00 AM

It's clear that iPhone gaming is popular. The line waiting to get into the "Game Development for iPhone" session wrapped around most of the floor. Good thing it is being held in the same large hall that hosted the Keynote yesterday.

One thing I've learned from several sessions here is that memory leaks are an especially common and potentially serious problem with iPhones (probably because they don't have that much memory to begin with). To avoid such leaks (and related errors): remember to release any object that you previously allocated and make sure you don't have any pointers still active to an object that has been released. I am confident that most programmers already know this and such knowledge is not considered a secret protected by Apple's NDA. Regardless, now you know. And I have now covered most of what I know about Objective-C.

There's a cool new feature in iPhone OS 3.0 that has not been discussed much: Automatic Wi-Fi login. You know how, when you want to get onto the Internet at some hotspots, such as Starbucks, you have to log in even if the access is free? This can be a pain, especially if you are trying to get your email and have to shift to Safari to authenticate. This new iPhone OS 3.0 feature streamlines the process. In fact, after doing it the first time, the process should be completely seamless.

WWDC attendees can get a WWDC iPhone app. It shows the entire schedule and will highlight the ones you specifically selected as "favorites." It even updates you with the latest news about what's happening. The app is not available in the App Store however. You have to download it, via a link only for attendees, together with a provisioning file. You then "manually" install it. This is similar to how developers get their iPhone apps onto a device for testing.

I've been thinking more about the new iPhone OS 3.0 feature that allows hardware accessories to work together with third-party software. By itself, this will not allow for a portable physical keyboard to work with the iPhone across all apps. This is because an accessory must be linked to a specific app and will only work with that app. At least that's how I understand it. However, I can imagine some developer coming out with a text processing app that works with a matched keyboard accessory. You could then use copy/paste or sharing (such as send via email) to get your text to its desired destination. It could even send a copy of a document to a matching application on your Mac. It won't be the ideal solution for those wanting the option of a physical keyboard for the iPhone, but it's a significant move in the right direction — unless Apple decides to prohibit such a setup.

Tonight, there will the presentation of the Apple Design Awards and the annual Stump the Experts session. In Stump the Experts, attendees compete against Apple engineers in their "knowledge of Apple history, trivia and facts." I'll report back later with how this "entertaining event" went.