When a new version of any Apple’s operating system comes out, he stops everything he’s doing and immediately looks for novelties and interesting bits in the code. We speak, of course, about a brasilian developer Guilherme Rambo, whom I have questioned. I follow his work on Twitter for some time now and I admire his ability to quickly and precisely look under the lid of operating systems. Even people from Apple have contacted him with job offers repeatedly. However he accepted the offer from 9to5Mac, for which he now prepares those aforementioned juicy bits from his operation systems testing.
Rambo, do I remember correctly, that you were the first one to reveal the arrival of HomePods in the code? How did you do it?
Correction: Apple inadvertently released the firmware for HomePod on-line after its announcement during WWDC 2017, the firmware appeared in late July. Me and many others decided to download that firmware and unpack it to learn more about how HomePod would work. It was during that process that I discovered the glyph representing what would be announced in September as the iPhone X (we didn’t know the name at the time).
I see… When you install a new version of an operating system, what do you do first? Look for novelties?
My process involves mostly static analysis of the software, so I’m looking for new things even before installing the new version.
What software and hardware do you use anyway?
I have the 2017, 15″ MacBook Pro. I try to use Apple’s standard apps when possible, so I’m using Notes, Reminders, Calendar, Mail and Safari instead of 3rd party alternatives. For analyzing software most of the tools are command-line tools, but there are some apps I use as well such as Hopper for decompilation and Kaleidoscope for diffing.
Do you work only on your MacBook or do you use your iPad too?
All of my work happens on my MacBook Pro, I only use iPad for reading and browsing the web when I’m having breakfast or relaxing. I have tried, but I still can’t be as productive on iOS as I am on my Mac.
You have created many interesting applications. Personally I like using your un-official wwdc.io app. How did you get into programming?
I’ve always liked to create things, but I’ve never been good at drawing or other crafts. When my school offered computer classes, I was the only one who wanted to learn programming (I was doing stupid DOS programs back then). After that I had a course on Pascal and Delphi, then moved into web development, which I did for many years as a freelancer. I think it was around 2012 when I got my first iPhone (an iPhone 3G) and started to make some apps for it (I had already learned how to make Mac apps by myself).
What does your usual day look like? Do you sit behind your Mac and search for novelties?
I do many things, which means every day tends to be a little different from the other. I work at Peixe Urbano / Groupon LATAM, most of the days I go to the office but sometimes I work from home. Most of the work with regards to iOS releases happens right after a new version gets released, I pause my work to have a quick look around, take notes of what I’ve found and go back to work. Then after I leave work (or stop working, if I’m home), I start to analyze my findings in more detail and post the results (on Twitter if it’s something small or 9to5mac if it’s something big).
When I go through your work, I sometimes wonder if you are on Apple’s blacklist at all. You don’t have an ambition to work for Apple one day, do you?
I don’t feel that’s the case. I have a good relationship with many people at Apple and I’ve never received any type of reprehension from Apple. In fact, I’ve been contacted a couple of times about job opportunities, but I’m not interested in working there at the moment.
In all this time, did you come into conflict with someone, who would blame you for looking for errors and novelties?
I have been criticized for „spoiling“ the news and sometimes people contest my findings (which I believe is a healthy thing to do, if done correctly). I don’t get into fights very often tho, I tend to just ignore that and move on. Life is too short for me to be engaging in virtual fights over stupid phones (or computers, or whatever).
How did you get into writing for 9to5Mac?
They had been following me for quite a while and offered me the position to write about the same things I was writing about on Twitter, I accepted.
Whats your assessment of current state of Apple? Are you satisfied with the products and services? Would you change anything?
I feel like they have been working on fixing most of the important issues, especially in the software side of things. I will never be completely satisfied with any product or service, but what Apple offers is what currently works best for me, so I’ll stick with their ecosystem until that’s not true anymore. As a consumer, I’d like if they stopped announcing products a long time before release, like they’ve done with AirPower, which was announced a year ago and is still nowhere to be found. As a developer, I’d love if they could reduce the percentage they take from App Store revenue, because 30% is a lot.
What are your future plans? Are you preparing new applications or some projects?
I’m currently working on a big update for ChibiStudio to be released next month with iOS 12, I’m also working on Sharecuts.app which is a website where people can share their favorite Shortcuts.
Guilherme Rambo is a brasilian iOS developer in Peixe Urbano/Groupon LATAM company, writes for 9to5Mac and works as a host in the Stacktrace podcast.