Developers are talking, debating and speculating about the exclusion of Mac desktop apps from this year's Apple Design Awards. We contacted some of our friends in Mac development (and several former ADA winners), and gathered their responses for you. Some are outright disappointed, some portend that this belies good things to come, and some are pretty understanding of the way Apple is handling the current drive toward mobile development. Here's the first batch of responses:
Aaron Hillegass, Big Nerd Ranch
"It seems likely that in the future everyone will be using mobile devices to access data in the cloud. At the moment, however, the applications that we use all day, every day are desktop applications. Eliminating the Apple Design Awards for desktop applications in 2010 is premature and an insult to the thousands of programmers who devote their days to making the Mac desktop a fun and productive environment."
Oliver Breidenbach, Boinx Software
"We are very proud that Boinx Software, together with TheCodingMonkeys, won what may turn out to be the last ever Apple Design Award for a Mac application with BoinxTV. Of course it is sad that Apple turns away from Mac desktop developers in what seems like a brutal fashion, but it is understandable that they focus their limited resources on the winning horse. At least, the momentum of the success of iPhone OS seems to fuel a growth in Mac sales, so keeping the momentum going is a smart thing and probably also benefits Mac developers. However, it would be nice if Apple could spend a little of the vast profits on additional staff for the developer relations team so that they could go on supporting the Mac developers as well as they do iPhone developers these days."
Justin Williams, Second Gear Software
"I don't plan on attending WWDC this year. The price increase coupled with the late notice made it cost prohibitive for me. I could make it work, but the lack of Mac love leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. It's not so much that I want them to rehash Mac sessions of old, but the lack of a Mac ADA when there is still great Mac software being made is a bit of a slap in the face. Whether it's intentional or not, Apple is saying that the Mac is not an important platform compared to the iPhone and iPad. With great Mac-only software still being released by many top notch companies, I find it hard to believe that they couldn't find it in the budget to generate a few more of those glowing ADA awards."
Paul Kafasis, Rogue Amoeba
"I find the lack of Mac ADAs disappointing, but not surprising. WWDC has a heavy iPhone slant this year, likely due to Mac OS X 10.7 being slow to gestate. So, not having Mac ADAs fits the general theme of a predominately iPhone-based conference.
That said, it certainly feels like a snub to plenty of Mac developers. We're all continuing to do great work on Mac OS X - it hasn't suddenly become irrelevant, just because there's a hot new platform in Apple's world.
Ultimately, the ADAs have always been about what Apple wants to promote - it's never been like the Oscars, where the categories are stable. Each year, they've focused on their currently favored technologies (see Best Automator Workflow (2006) or Best iPhone Web App (2008)), and the current technologies this year are all about the iPhone OS. Hopefully, 2011 will bring us information about Mac OS X 10.7, along with Mac ADAs, but we'll have to see.
Round two begins:
Niclas Bahn, Gravity Applications
"Yes, Apple is clearly focusing their attention on iPhone and iPad, which is understandable. However, the Mac is also a growing platform, and can be very lucrative for developers even if there are no MacOS Design Awards and 3rd Party Downloads section on Apple.com.
While the iPhone OS has resulted in a serious gold rush, and has attracted most of everyones attention, the Mac remains a great market which is growing steadily and offers great opportunities."
Sherman Dickman, Postbox, Inc
"I may be naive, but I really want to give Apple the benefit of the doubt on this one. Recognizing desktop developers who have worked so hard to raise the bar seems like an easy PR win for Apple. I can't imagine them killing Mac OS X development, so why kill the ADA program?
Perhaps this is simply an oversight, or Apple is developing a Store for Desktop Apps."
Dan Wood, Karelia Software
"The Karelia team will be going [to WWDC]! It is a bit disappointing that Mac development seems be be ignored in the publicity for the conference. But then again, it seemed like that last year as well, and the week turned out to be a wonderful experience for Mac-only developers like us. Looking at the technical sessions scheduled, there will be plenty to keep us busy. Plus, the time we get to spend with fellow indie developers and Apple engineers is invaluable. And, of course, with us being a distributed team, this is really the only time each year that I get to visit with my colleagues Terrence and Mike!"