Here’s the story of my first time at WWDC and the beautiful city of San Francisco.
All five thousand tickets sold out in a record 72 seconds but, thanks to my multitasking wife and a bucket full o’ luck, I secured a golden ticket. After I calmed down, I immediately booked my hotel and flights and my trip to WWDC was all organised in 30 minutes.
Unfortunately some of my friends were not so lucky but, this year, Apple released the session videos immediately after each of them. This was great as it gave everyone equal opportunity to see what’s new in iOS7 and Mavericks.
I arrived in San Francisco late Saturday evening before the conference. This gave me ample time to settle in and get the lie of the land. Since it was my first time in the city, I wanted to do a bit of exploration and Sunday was to be my pre-WWDC exploration day.
First Things First – Registration.
I was determined to get into the Keynote. To make the task easier it’s advised to register the day before. So Sunday morning I joined an ever increasing group of WWDC attendees outside Moscone West at 8:50. We entered at 9am sharp to a round of applause from the Apple employees who were waiting inside to greet the excited horde.
Registration was well staffed and it only took about 10 minutes (including queueing time) to register. I got my attendee lanyard and a WWDC13 jacket – great for 4am Keynote queueing.
Don’t Believe Maps.
Once registration was completed, it was time to plan my day. First on the cards was Coit Tower. Apple Maps said it was about 28 minutes walk from Moscone West, “piece of cake”, I thought. Coit Tower is all up hill from Moscone West. So 28 minutes turned into 48 minutes; don’t believe Maps. Once at Coit Tower I turned to face Lombard street and my touristic adventure continued…
A few beers with fellow WWDCers in the Chieftain rounded off Sunday night.
Sleep deprived, I jumped into the shower at 3am and was queueing at 4am. We got water, coffee and a few nibbles while waiting. The queue is a great place to meet people, which is what WWDC is all about. As the queue progressed, I met more and more people from all over the world, some of whom I had seen at Úll in Dublin the previous year.
My queue buddy and I managed to get two great seats inside the room, the excitement was building. Then, at 10am, Tim Cook took to the stage to a deafening round of applause and cheering; this is a feeling you can’t get from watching the keynote from your sofa holding a mug of tea (how I watched it last year).
The Sessions & Labs.
The conference consists of five days of sessions and labs. The sessions are talks which give developers an introduction into the new OS features and how these features can be used to their maximum potential. Apple were very busy and they had some amazing stuff to show. There was a large amount of things to take in, luckily the session videos are available for a recap.
After attending a number of sessions you quickly become a queuing specialist. A lot of the more popular sessions had long queues, no big deal as this gave you the opportunity to chat to the person standing next to you. Everything that went on inside these rooms is covered under NDA, so that’s all the details I can give.
It was possible to schedule time in a Lab to chat one-on-one with an Apple engineer; there was one Apple engineer to every five WWDC attendees.
Oh, I bumped into Craig Federighi at one of the sessions.
There was a plethora of non Apple parties to choose from after the evening sessions. Spotify threw a great beer and pizza event where they also gave a few tech talks.
Tuesday night was “Beard Bash” night. The 4th floor of the Westin hotel was taken over by Jim Dalrymple from the Loop. He knows how to play loud!
Apple had their own party on Thursday night where Vampire Weekend took to the stage.
When you factor in all the costs such as flights, accommodation, food, drink and not forgetting the WWDC ticket itself, as an indie developer you have to ask “is it worth it?”.
My answer is yes and here’s why.
Meeting and talking to fellow developers and exchanging ideas and knowledge with them are key elements of the experience. I chatted to really talented people who I hope I can meet up with again soon.
WWDC13 inspired me and this inspiration is continuing to fuel me today!