How does Apple fake iOS during WWDC?

SteveJobs2.0

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Mar 9, 2012
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I have been thinking about how Apple makes iOS 11 look so responsive and functional during WWDC presentations. Based on many of our beta tests of iOS 11, there are many hiccups. None of this appear during the live demonstration. Is Apple using a special version of software that looos like the real thing but only uses the basic processes need to demonstrate new features?
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
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Could any sort of custom hardware. Not limited by battery life. They control the code signing.

They would have debug and logging routines turned off.
 

dsjr2006

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Jun 29, 2007
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I would assume they ensure the performance is top notch for the presentations such as not using someones personal phone with tons of apps and junk already.
 

Brookzy

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May 30, 2010
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The demos are live, and they do go wrong. The Messages demo in iOS 10 went awry last year, and they immediately switched to a second set of iPhones.

The chances of things going wrong are also significantly minimised since the demonstration is so rehearsed and repeated in the exact order and timing.

EDIT: I'm more interested in how they upscale the screen mirroring so that it looks so good on the projection...
 

EugW

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Jun 18, 2017
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Dunno what they do with iPhones these days, but back in the day with Macs, they'd have two different streamlined Mac Pros hooked up to the same presentation projector, and they could switch to the backup in an instant if there was a problem with the first.

The machines had no crud on them, but apparently they were actual production spec machines, albeit top of the line. Undoubtedly the software was tailored to make the talks look good, and it was rehearsed many times before the presentation. And in the case of a fail, then they'd flip a switch and go to the second one in an instant. I've seen Jobs do that on stage, and he even acknowledged the importance of a backup machine when the first one hung, to laughter from the audience.

My favourite screwup was with a Canon camera. He couldn't get it to sync so he got pissed off and literally threw it into the crowd. I thought he was going to hit somebody in the head with it, but instead somebody got a free camera.

BTW, off topic, but one giant clue we all missed was a presentation where Jobs typed in a tracking number for a package and showed how he could get the tracking data right in the app he was using at the time. I don't even remember the app, maybe in Dashboard? I dunno.

However, the importance of this little tidbit was that it was actually a package from Intel containing x86 CPUs going to Apple. Nobody picked up on this, and shortly afterwards, Apple announced the switch to Intel.
 
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576316

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May 19, 2011
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They’re very careful about what features they show/make sure those features work very well. I’ve always been intruiged by how they send fake message/emails. They even used Apple Pay on stage last time, how do they do that? Unless it’s a real transaction and they’re basically paying themselves.
 

GreyOS

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Apr 12, 2012
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Probably a combination of lots of valid answers above.

They're probably intimately aware of which paths don't end well and consciously steer around them.
 

MEJHarrison

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Feb 2, 2009
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I've put sales demos together before. I'm not sure how Apple does it, but we totally faked our website. The demo was a series of static HTML pages that by all appearances was a functioning site. But it was really nothing more than a carefully orchestrated slide show. That way they didn't have to worry about getting a good internet connection, having server issues, finding a bug, dealing with slowness, etc. They knew exactly what to expect.
 
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pandi.ruvina

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Mar 17, 2017
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I've put sales demos together before. I'm not sure how Apple does it, but we totally faked our website. The demo was a series of static HTML pages that by all appearances was a functioning site. But it was really nothing more than a carefully orchestrated slide show. That way they didn't have to worry about getting a good internet connection, having server issues, finding a bug, dealing with slowness, etc. They knew exactly what to expect.
That is true! Maybe they use some sort of visualiser during the presentation of the demo, i've seen something like that previously!!
 

Stefan johansson

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Lol...that big screen on WWDC is obviously a video monitor. You can create custom simulation software for a normal laptop,that looks like a new iOS version. And besides,all it show is what functions that's included,withouth really doing anything. My guess is,that it's some kind of gesture controlled software,probably run on a nearby MacBook connected to the screen.
 

Brookzy

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Lol...that big screen on WWDC is obviously a video monitor. You can create custom simulation software for a normal laptop,that looks like a new iOS version. And besides,all it show is what functions that's included,withouth really doing anything. My guess is,that it's some kind of gesture controlled software,probably run on a nearby MacBook connected to the screen.
But when things go wrong, they go wrong on screen too. So it's definitely a live display output from the demo device. Leaving the question: how do they upscale it so well and so fast?
 
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Futhark

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Jun 12, 2011
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Sometimes these are just animated slides in keynote. In this years WWDC they showed you their fake Toast app running and it was all done in Keynote and something they encouraged designers to give a try
 

Stefan johansson

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But when things go wrong, they go wrong on screen too. So it's definitely a live display output from the demo device. Leaving the question: how do they upscale it so well and so fast?
Did you read what I wrote? It's a simulator of an iOS device,run on a Mac. You don't need a demo device,all you need is a screen simulator program,with gesture control.
 

Brookzy

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Did you read what I wrote? It's a simulator of an iOS device,run on a Mac. You don't need a demo device,all you need is a screen simulator program,with gesture control.
Except that you do need a demo device because we see the presenters interacting with them in every single keynote.

So what are the presenters looking at? A remote screencast put on to the device they are holding? Which then send back gesture and Pencil input information? What is an absurd suggestion which would not aid performance or stability in any way. Not to mention that it would be fundamentally deceptive when the purpose of many of the demonstrations is to show off the potential of the hardware.

What we are seeing is almost certainly a direct display output from the demonstration device which is being upscaled on-the-fly.

No other way would deliver the synchronisation we see between the presenter’s device and what is projected when things go wrong.
 
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Stefan johansson

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Except that you do need a demo device because we see the presenters interacting with them in every single keynote.

So what are the presenters looking at? A remote screencast put on to the device they are holding? Which then send back gesture and Pencil input information? What is an absurd suggestion which would not aid performance or stability in any way. Not to mention that it would be fundamentally deceptive when the purpose of many of the demonstrations is to show off the potential of the hardware.

What we are seeing is almost certainly a direct display output from the demonstration device which is being upscaled on-the-fly.

No other way would deliver the synchronisation we see between the presenter’s device and what is projected when things go wrong.
Demo device? Probably a mockup. I seen a similar demonstration of the cockpit in a non existing fighter jet a few years ago,it was a synchronised mockup with a couple of fake displays,run by a computer. Look and feel was,according to the pilots testing it,exactly like a real plane,so if they can fake a supersonic jet,I guess they can build a simulator program for a coming iOS device too.
 

Floris

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Sep 7, 2007
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I think it's the Matrix, and our future is preprogrammed, and we get buggy versions just to feel alive.
Wait, . . nvm, I am going back to watching blade runner, Hello friday
 

GreyOS

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Apr 12, 2012
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Sorry but I really don't buy that during the demos where they have a device in hand, they are carefully syncing with a video, or using on screen gestures to start fixed animations etc. There's plenty of places where _that_ in itself could go wrong - and it would be more embarrassing than a bug occurring tbh.

Obviously, they have video of certain features on the big screen which are not coming from a live device - Apple don't really hide this. I'm watching through the keynote now and Craig does some demos on device which is mirrored on the big screen and then some just showing videos on the big screen.
 

dsjr2006

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Jun 29, 2007
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The demos are live, and they do go wrong. The Messages demo in iOS 10 went awry last year, and they immediately switched to a second set of iPhones.

The chances of things going wrong are also significantly minimised since the demonstration is so rehearsed and repeated in the exact order and timing.

EDIT: I'm more interested in how they upscale the screen mirroring so that it looks so good on the projection...
If you try AirPlay/HDMI mirroring you'll see that the limit is the TV not the source. Don't forget iOS is 2x or 3x with retina.
 

iMi

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Sep 13, 2014
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BTW, off topic, but one giant clue we all missed was a presentation where Jobs typed in a tracking number for a package and showed how he could get the tracking data right in the app he was using at the time. I don't even remember the app, maybe in Dashboard? I dunno.

However, the importance of this little tidbit was that it was actually a package from Intel containing x86 CPUs going to Apple. Nobody picked up on this, and shortly afterwards, Apple announced the switch to Intel.
That's incredible. Talk about being hidden in plain sight.
 

GreyOS

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Apr 12, 2012
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Demo device? Probably a mockup. I seen a similar demonstration of the cockpit in a non existing fighter jet a few years ago,it was a synchronised mockup with a couple of fake displays,run by a computer. Look and feel was,according to the pilots testing it,exactly like a real plane,so if they can fake a supersonic jet,I guess they can build a simulator program for a coming iOS device too.
Dude you think this is easier than just demoing iOS and making sure to avoid areas which aren't polished? lol