Ulysses Says Hi From WWDC

It’s the same procedure as every year: In June, some members of Ulysses’ development team travel to the US in order to attend Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference. But what is it all about? Götz tells us, live from San Jose.

From left to right: Max, Friedrich, Götz

Götz, you’re at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference for the second time now. Why is it a must go?

For anyone in the Apple universe, WWDC is the event of the year. In its keynote and the Platforms State of the Union event, Apple informs about significant changes and innovations for app developers. On top of this, WWDC is a unique opportunity to socialize and make new contacts. You may finally meet people in person that you’ve only known via email — these great conditions for exchange you’ll find nowhere else.

In its WWDC keynote, Apple revealed its planned hardware and software innovations. Did they manage to surprise you?

Definitely. Some of this year’s announcements have been mind-blowing! The greatest surprise — I think for most developers present – were the last 15 minutes of the keynote. Apple introduced SwiftUI, a new declarative framework for developing user interfaces for Mac and iOS. The announcement to separate iPadOS from iOS was startling, too.

And what is the product or change you’re looking forward to the most?

This would be the new SwiftUI framework, as it will solve many problems and conceptual difficulties. Unfortunately, it will be only supported by iOS 13 onward, not by older versions of the operating system.

Aside from SwiftUI, there are many little changes and improvements I’m looking forward to. As an example, you’ll be able to set your iPhone automatically to “Do Not Disturb” when you arrive at work via a shortcut, so it won’t ring when you forget to mute it. What’s more, you may now set the preferred language individually per app, not only for the whole device. These are two little changes, but they illustrate that Apple continues to work on refinements instead of only shipping new features.

Also, a lot happened in terms of accessibility — take the new Voice Control as an example. We hope to implement this feature into Ulysses soon.

You already mentioned iPadOS, a new dedicated operating system for iPad Apple announced for this fall. To what extent will it change the way we’re using the iPad in our everyday lives?

The iPad got its very own operating system — that’s great! iPadOS contains the new features of iOS 13, plus a lot of additional new features that have long been on the wish list of many users. The ability to show widgets on your home screen is excellent. You’ll also be able to keep multiple windows of an app open. As an example, you could open Ulysses once in full-screen and once in split view with Safari. That’s a useful thing that you can’t do at the moment. Also, it seems that Safari will gain new features that will bring the browser closer to its desktop counterpart. And Apple will improve the support of Apple Pencils, font types, and more, which is certainly of interest for pro users.

I do think that these changes will improve iPad productivity in general and remove many pain points. With the new features of iPadOS, users will be able to make better use of their existing hardware.

You have programmed Ulysses’ iPad editor split view, a critically acclaimed feature that was released shortly before WWDC. As a split view expert: What do you think about the iPad split view Apple has announced for September?

I think it’s excellent! Thanks to the new multitasking features in iPadOS, the functionality exceeds what you can achieve solely with Ulysses’ split view. With Ulysses’ split view, you can have “only” two instances of the app open at a time; with iPadOS you’ll be able to use Ulysses multiple times, alone or in combination with other apps. You can, so to speak, set up spaces with certain apps, as you can now on Mac! It remains to be seen, however, if the new gestures are a little too complicated, i.e., for changing between apps in Slide Over.

We all have an essential impression of the atmosphere at the keynote. How do you spend the rest of your time at WWDC?

We spend it visiting sessions, going to the labs to work out some tricky problems with Apple engineers, hanging out with friends and — of course — going to the big Apple Bash on Thursday.

Rebekka Honeit

Blog-curating writing maniac and public relations person. Loves coffee, chocolate cookies and literature. Finds peace in tweaking press copy.