Apple’s WWDC 2017 in Review


There are two parts of WWDC that I’m going to write about. The first will be the audio related talks and the impact the new audio developments will have on AudioKit. The second is about the AudioKit people I met at the conference.

There were two audio related talks. What’s New in Audio was especially important because the new additions will have immediate impact on AudioKit.

The first thing that we’re excited about is AVAudioPlayerNode now has a proper completion handler callback. Previously, the completion handler was called when an audio file completed loading, but now you can specify a callback to occur when a sound has completed playing! We actually built this feature into our AKSamplePlayer node, but now we’ll have it with AKAudioPlayer as well.

The major new feature of AVAudioEngine is offline rendering. While AudioKit does use offline rendering already, for its test engine, we had to jump through a lot of hoops to make it work. It also only worked in iOS, not macOS, so our solution was limited. Now, it should be trivial for you to use AudioKit processing to affect files at blazingly fast speeds.

A related feature that at first seems almost uninteresting is realtime manual rendering. But, what that should allow us to do is take audio from other sources and process them with AudioKit. One exciting development is that this means we should be able to process streamed audio! We shoud also be able to be able to incorporate other sources of audio through this mechanism as well, which should allow integration with any other audio libraries you may have. Perhaps a speech synthesis engine for example?

The Designing Sound talk was definitely entertaining and it was great to see an engaging talk about audio at the conference. Unfortunately, the talk still conveyed this sense that audio is too special to be handled by just anyone. Audio that was highlighted were recordings, much like Foley sounds. Someday, I hope Apple will have a similar talk about the expressiveness of generated, custom audio, that still sounds amazing, but offers much more embedded information.

Of course, the best part of any good conference is meeting people. AudioKit faithful gathered at Gordon Biersch, including Ryan McLeod, the creator of Blackbox, Marcus Hobbs, AudioKit’s resident microtonality expert, Paul Batchelor, creator of Soundpipe and Sporth which are central to AudioKit, Mark Jeschke, creator of DrumKick, and Yaron Karasik, creator of Jam Looper

I want to specifically highlight Ryan. This year, Ryan won the coveted Apple Design Award for Blackbox. He and I have been collaborating on the most recent version of Blackbox for a few months, but this was the first time we met in person. I’m sure he would have won the award without using AudioKit, but its nice to be part of his software arsenal.

In conclusion, it’s a great time to be alive and be bonded together over this little audio engine called AudioKit. I’m feeling very blessed to have such awesome friends, and really in many ways, you’re all a part of my family and I’m thankful for you all. I hope to meet you all again in 2018 with even more AudioKit users at WWDC!

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