WWDC 2012

I just returned last week from Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference and wow, what a trip. I started to write this post while I was at the conference but didn’t get the time to finish it! So after recovering from jet lag and getting back into work I figured I should take time on the weekend to change all the present tense to past, add some sweet photos of Tim Cook and share it.

This was the second WWDC I’ve attended. Last year it was both daunting and exciting but I’m happy to say that the daunting feeling this year was replaced with a sense of familiarity. I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship from the AUC and was there representing the Mobile Innovation Lab where I’m undertaking my phd.

The keynote was great, no mention of Jobs but Tim Cook did a good job of carrying the torch and you could tell he was channelling him a bit.  The Macbook Pro Retina was a beautiful machine, even if the asymmetrical fans got a little too much air time (they do blow me away a little bit though…). No word of the iPhone 5 but I guess Apple doesn’t want to reveal everything this year just yet. The event itself was great, an excellent range of sessions and the Apple Engineers were very helpful and friendly.

The best non-WWDC event I attended would have been the indie game devs party hosted by toucharcade.com. I don’t think I’ve seen a bigger gathering of indie developers together in one bar before. It was there that I met the one and only Rusty Moyher, creator of Box Cat, which I hadn’t played before that night but which now graces my iPhone (amazing 8-bit graphics by the way). He was an inspiring chap who represented what indie developers strive to be – living off their own games while creating new ones.

I am very, very thankful for the sponsorship from AUC for attending the event. The AUC provide Australian university students with by far the best learning opportunities for students who want to develop for iOS and Mac OSX. Without the support from the AUC attending WWDC would neve have been possible. The process was a little more difficult this year, with Apple requiring us to apply for a student scholarship to WWDC on top of the scholarship we had to apply for from AUC. For those of you who are university staff or students make sure to watch the AUC website for updates on the annual /dev/world conference they hold each year in Australia – it’s a great opportunity for learning more about dev for Apple products.

A little late for this year but for all of you planning to attend WWDC next year check out make sure to check out Jeff Le Marche’s WWDC tips. They cover a lot and are seriously helpful for any of you who haven’t attended before. Based on my last two trips to WWDC here are a couple of my own tips:

  • You don’t actually need to wake up too early for the keynote – it’s definitely a lot of fun getting up early and waiting with everyone but this year I decided not to line up until about 5:30am and still managed to get in to the front section of the keynote.
  • The sessions are great – but you can download and watch them later so make sure to go to the labs and ask questions about the new features and your own projects. Make sure to prepare questions before the event, the Apple Engineers are awesome and super helpful.
  • Make sure to go to as many relevant  parties and international mixers. You’ll be tired but the contacts you make will be totally worth it. SF and the surrounding areas are really the place for startups – as Siri said she found 396 Venture Capitalists in the bay area alone. 🙂
  • Try and get some decent sleep. It will be hard as you’ll likely be going to bed late and waking early but
  • Book accommodation early… Air BNB is always a good backup in case the hotels are booked because WWDC tickets haven’t been released until later.
  • Bring business cards, make them stand out as well – there are a lot exchanging hands.
  • Lines are getting longer.
  • Go to the lunch events. They are usually inspirational and awesome. Bonus! Lunches are now at the lunch event! This makes so much sense.
  • Don’t lose your badge. Seriously. The lanyards were a little dodgy this year, and some delegates reinforced them to stop them from falling off and to stop people from stealing them.
  • Attend stump the experts. This is seriously one of the highlights of the event and is really hilarious. If you can come up with a question for the experts they’ll present you with a stump tee. My favourite this year was from Judit, who was from our AUC group, who had earrings made from an Apple device that she presented to the experts so they could work out what they were. She almost stumped the experts.
  • For those travelling internationally a US phone can save a lot of time and money. You can get a prepaid AT & T sim card for $25 for 200 minutes of calls and unlimited texts and then add 1GB data for another $25. Although they say you can’t use the data on your iPhone you actually can by visiting http://unlockit.co.nz on your iPhone.

Travelling to WWDC was truly an amazing and inspiring experience and provided a worthwhile break from the PhD that I needed. Even if you can’t make it to WWDC next year, or if it’s not your thing, make sure to check out other conferences (Google I/O, GDC etc.) as well as research conferences if you’re undertaking research. Travelling and meeting new people will give a fantastic perspective on the work you do. I seriously can’t wait until next year.

ps. Of course there were some sad moments as well, like when they were pulling down the giant Apple logo from Moscone…

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