On his most recent podcast, John Gruber of Daring Fireball pointed out perhaps his biggest takeaway from Apple’s developer conference earlier this month:
“I really got a sense talking to people at Apple last week at WWDC that they’re happy,” Gruber said. “Happy in a way they haven’t been. In fact, one friend literally said the words ‘it’s fun again,’ which i thought was pretty interesting.”
Gruber’s special guest Guy English said he also met many Apple employees that told him the same thing: “I’m having a lot of fun.”
In recent years, Apple has shifted its internal focus from (literally) working in silos to collaborating on products between the departments. Based on comments from developers, Gruber doesn’t believe Apple employees are “taking it easy and relaxing” because they have managed to strike a balance where they’re “tackling interesting problems and having a good time doing it.”
Apple has been trying to take collaboration at the company “to another level,” its senior executives told Bloomberg Businessweek in late 2013.
You can see collaboration in everything the company has done recently: Apple had its iOS people working on the release of OS X Yosemite this year, whereas last year the OS X team helped prepare iOS 7 for its own launch. Apple introduced the new “Continuity” and “Handoff” features earlier this month, which promise even more seamless integration between the desktop and mobile ecosystems. And the company is literally rebuilding its headquarters from the ground up with a focus on “collaboration and fluidity,” according to outgoing CFO Peter Oppenheimer.
Gruber believes as a result of this collaboration — where the OS groups are now led by a singular voice — developers across both platforms are reaping the benefits. Apple CEO Tim Cook promised “the mother of all releases for developers” earlier this month, and the company followed through with massive technical changes like extensibility, a new programming language, 4,000 new application programming interfaces for home electronics, Touch ID, iCloud, cameras, games, and more.
So Apple developers are happy, and its employees are, too. Now if only we knew exactly what its employees were so excited about.