What Year Is It?!

Today we’ll take a jog down memory lane starting with the release of Swift 2.0 at WWDC 2015 all the way to the announcement of iPhone OS at Macworld 2007. For some of you, it will inspire a mix of nostalgia and flashbacks, both good and bad. For others, this will be a glimpse into the past it was. There are many moments in this brief history that make me think, “What year is it?!” Although it’s 2015 and Swift 2.0 is new and shiny, I hope that we can look back a year, 2 years, 5 years from now and exclaim, “What year is it?!” because in the future there’s what we can only imagine, and so much more.

Hope you enjoy!


  • Swift 2.0 is released. guard, new error handling, fewer bugs, I love it! Plenty of great content on Apple’s WWDC page.


  • October 5: First commit to Carthage.
  • Swift is announced at the WWDC Keynote. This was the WWDC Keynote I had ever seen in person. I almost fell out of my chair. It was surreal.

Craig Federighi:

Objective-C has served us so well for 20 years. We absolutely love it. But we had to ask ourselves the question: What would it be like if we had Objective-C without the baggage of C? We did more than think about it. We have a new programming language. The language is called Swift, and it totally rules.

If you want to relive this moment, check out the keynote around 104:30.


  • instancetype keyword added to SDK. Before this, something like NSString *string = [NSArray array] would have compiled because NSArray’s +array method returned type id. 😱 What year is it?!
  • LLDB completely replaces GDB, which is no longer available with Xcode 5.0
  • More fun Objective-C things in Advances in Objective-C from WWDC 2013.


  • Properties become @synthesize’d by default. 💮
  • NSNumber, NSArray, NSDictionary literals and subscripting become a part of Objective-C. Remember +dictionaryWithObjectsAndKeys: and +dictionaryWithObjects:keys:count:? (You should listen to how much the audience cheered and clapped when this was announced at WWDC at the talk titled Modern Objective-C.)
  • Feb 26: First commit to ReactiveCocoa.


  • October 5: Steve Jobs passes away.
  • August 7: First commmit to CocoaPods.
  • May 29: First commit to AFNetworking.
  • Delivery of a fully featured version of ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) with iOS 5.

I love this quote by Chris Lattner when he was announcing ARC and saying good bye to manual memory management (WWDC 2011 Developer Tools Kickoff):

I hope you’re not too sad. I mean, maybe you’re attached to them. I can’t really help you out with that. You can choose to not use ARC if you want, but you really should just use it.

  • You can now add ivars in class extensions or directly in the implementation.
  • Natural scrolling is introduced with OS X Lion. I remember when this felt completely backwards. Now I can’t imagine going back.
  • Xcode is now free on the Mac App Store and only 3GB because they split it out into smaller packages! Xcode 4.0 was sold for $4.99 on the Mac App Store to the general public (non-Developer Program members) until 4.1 was released.
  • With Xcode 4.2, LLVM completely replaces GCC. 🐉
  • March 9: Xcode 4 is released, pulling Interface Builder into Xcode instead of having it a separate app. Imagine having to run Xcode, Simulator, and Interface Builder to do development with xibs.


  • June: iPhone OS is rebranded as iOS. 🆒
  • LLDB announced as a replacement for GDB.
  • WWDC tickets are sold out in 8 days. (WWDC 2010 Keynote)
  • iPhone has 28% of US smartphone market share.
  • Release of iPhone 4, which Steve Jobs compares to a “a beautiful, old Leica camera” during the keynote. This is the first iPhone that came with a Retina display, which contained 4x the number of pixels compared to a normal display. I can still remember where and what I saw for the first time in person in Retina. (It was the NYTimes website and Jim’s Steak in Philadelphia.) Can you remember the first time you saw it? ✨


  • Annoucement of iPhone 3GS and the 15" MacBook Pro with an SD card slot! Woooooo. (WWDC 2009)
  • January 18: First commit to three20. This is the first third-party library that I tried to use. The rest is history. Deprecated and archived.


  • July 10: App Store opens. 🎉
  • Steve Jobs introduces Enterprise and Ad Hoc app distribution. Also, the iPhone 3G. (WWDC 2008)
  • Phil Schiller announces MobileMe, as “Exchange, for the rest of us.”


  • January 8: Steve Jobs announces the iPhone OS at Macworld.

An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone. Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device. We are calling it iPhone.

I’ll leave the video here. You should watch it.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it, and if anyone has any other fun bits of history that I missed or reactions, let me know in the comments below. Another fun question: What do you think will be announced next year or even more in the future? 🐥