Apple's most important WWDC milestones

Apple's annual WWDC is geared toward developers, but it is often the place where Apple announces some of its biggest updates. Over the years, WWDC has grown increasingly popular. Tickets to WWDC 2013, for instance, sold out in just a few minutes. As Apple has grown, so has the importance, and again, popularity of WWDC. That said, here is a ranking of the most important WWDC events over the last 11 years.

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During WWDC 2008, Apple finally and thankfully introduced the first iPhone SDK. This is arguably the most significant conference to the extent that it heralded the arrival of the mobile app revolution. Apple also unveiled iOS 2.0, and, last but not least, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 3G. We may take high data speeds for granted now, but the iPhone 3G was a highly welcome update to the original iPhone, which was Edge only.


WWDC 2005 represented a monumental shift in Apple's product roadmap. It was here that Steve Jobs stunned the Mac community when he announced that the Mac lineup would eventually transition from PowerPC to Intel-based processors. Notably, Jobs here also confirmed the existence of the "Marklar" skunkworks project, through which every release of OS X over the previous five years was compiled both for PowerPC and Intel.


During WWDC 2002, Apple announced OS X 10.2 Jaguar, an update which brought a significant level of maturity to Apple's then nascent OS X. Also of note is that WWDC 2002 is where Jobs famously held a mock funeral for OS 9, a significant development which signaled rather loudly and clearly that Apple's future was going to be strictly OS X.


WWDC 2004 was all about OS X 10.4 Tiger, one of Apple's most ambitious OS X upgrades with more than 150 new features. It was with Tiger that the Spotlight search feature and the Dashboard were introduced. In front of a crowd of 3,500 developers, a 7% increase from the previous year, Apple also unveiled three new Cinema displays along with iTunes 4.9, which supported podcasting. "We think it's going to basically take podcasting mainstream, to where anyone can do it."


At WWDC 2012, Apple said goodbye to the 17-inch MacBook Pro while introducing revamped versions of the MacBook Air and the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models. It was at WWDC 2012 that Apple first previewed its homegrown Maps app for iOS, thereby signaling the end of any Google presence on the default iOS homescreen.


Steve Jobs at WWDC introduced the iPhone 4. Of course, the world had already gotten a glimpse of the device, thanks to Gizmodo. The iPhone 4 ushered in FaceTime and, famously, would soon result in "antennagate." iMovie for iOS was also introduced at WWDC 2010.


The 2009 WWDC was notable because Phil Schiller handled presenting duties as Steve Jobs was sick on medical leave. Here, Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS and updated models of the MacBook Pro as well. Apple also previewed Snow Leopard, the version of OS X to drop support for older Power PC processors. Apple here also unveiled the iPhone 3GS. Last, but not least, Apple at WWDC 2009 also demoed iOS 3, which was a notable upgrade insofar as it finally brought features like MMS support and cut-and-paste to the iPhone.


At WWDC 2011, Apple introduced OS X 10.7 Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud. This WWDC was the last developer conference attended by Steve Jobs.


The iPhone SDK was still a year away, and so, Steve Jobs here focused on OS X Leopard and a new Windows version of Safari. This WWDC is also notable because we saw comedian John Hodgman, famous for his PC role opposite Justin Long's Mac in Apple's "I'm a Mac" commercials, do a hilarious "imitation" of Steve Jobs.


At WWDC 2006, Apple poked fun at Windows Vista and spent most of the keynote hyping up OS X 10.5 Leopard, which included such features as Time Machine, Spaces and a rash of other enhancements. Apple here also introduced the Mac Pro as a replacement for the Power Mac G5, which was first released back in 2003.


During WWDC 2003, Apple previewed OS X 10.3 Panther and introduced Safari 1.0. Steve Jobs here also introduced iLife, Keynote and a new line of PowerBooks. Notably, WWDC was held just two months after Apple launched the iTunes Music Store. On that front, Steve Jobs noted that the store had already sold 5 million songs and that Apple was poised to ship its 1 millionth iPod. At the time, Jobs touted more than 6,000 apps for OS X.