5 Tips for a Better WWDC Experience

Last week I was at Apple’s WWDC for the first time ever, it was a great experience for sure, and I would like to share some of the tips that could be helpful for any one planning to attend WWDC in the future.

I arrived late Sunday night to San Jose and I couldn’t get my badge that day. Badges and Registrations was open that Sunday from the morning till 7pm, so I thought its not a big deal and I can still get my badge and register the next morning. So my official WWDC journey started on Monday June 4th, by me arriving to the San Jose Convention Center around 6am to find out that there few hundred people ahead of me!

Line for Registration and Badges

 

There were two lines, one for the keynote, yes already, and another one for registration and badges. And I unfortunately had to stand in the registration line to get my badge, and then stand in the other line for the keynote. Long story short, after 45 minutes, I got my badge, and my free swag, and stood at the end of the super long line to the keynote. BTW, This year like the years before, all attendees got a WWDC jacket and few pins. Those jackets run small, so when they ask you what size you want, ask for a size or two larger than what you normally wear, but don’t worry, you can exchange it later if you want.

Tips for now: #1 Get your badge the day before the keynote, and #2 get there as early as you can. 

line to the keynote
Line before we got in to the building

 

You will start to notice as soon as you make your way inside the building that the lines start to get a little messy. In other words, no order. There were four lines when we got into the convention center, the volunteers guided us to throughout the building to the second floor which turned out to be sort of a waiting area before the keynote and a line of a breakfast. So a lot of people left the keynote line to get breakfast and then got back into a new line for the keynote, so basically they lost their spot in line. I kind of realized what was going on right away so i skipped the breakfast line, you probably want to do that same for now, and stood in the keynote line. More people were still coming in and standing in line, which then turned into four parallel lines. As a result of that people who got in later than me got to be the first in the new lines that were forming.

I mentioned that i skipped the breakfast, and that was not a bad decision, because once you stand in line you will get a chance to leave it to go to the bathroom or grab breakfast and then come back, especially if you can make some connections and meet some other developers around you, which is what i did. Also, don’t forget to bring a bottle of water, you will be standing in line for a while and you will get thirsty, but don’t worry if you run out, there are water fountains and cooler around you so you can fill it up before you get to the keynote.

Tips for now: #3 Ignore the breakfast line, and #4 Bring a water bottle. 

Line inside

 

Its almost 9:45am, and the line finally started to move, we’re getting in to the keynote! Here is what the unexpected happened; almost nobody stayed in their line, it was a total chaos. People were running to find a spot at the front while the volunteers were trying to guide people to some open seats in the back. When I saw what was going on I tried myself to find a spot too, but was asked by one of the volunteers to sit somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t a bad area, as you can see from the picture below, but it was towards the back, and i think I could’ve gotten a better spot if I got there earlier, or if knew what was going to happen ahead of time, and/or if there was more order when we were getting in.

Tip for now: #5 Ignore the line and run for a spot. 

The view from where I was sitting

Before the keynote started I got a chance to walk around and get some close up photos of the stage. I was hoping to see some familiar faces, and you can see below I got a chance to get close up photo of Eddy Cue, the senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

Before the keynote
Eddy Cue

 

Keynote started, and as you probably saw, a lot of new and exciting features were announced. I watched the keynote again on TV after I got home and the in person experience is definitely better. But you might miss a few things here and there when you are in person because of the excitement, and especially if you are busy taking photos and tweeting about what is going on.

Mr. Tim Cook
From the keynote
From the keynote

 

After the keynote ended everybody headed outside to enjoy some sun and snacks. The food in general was OK, good variety, usually a beef/chicken/fish option, a vegetarian option, and another 3rd option. Coffee, juice, and refreshments are always available, and in the afternoon there have fruits and some snacks.

Inside the convention center, after the keynote.
Gathering/Common Area

 

As you know, WWDC is not only about sessions, there were labs too. Which is a great opportunity to get a 1-1 session with the Apple engineers who worked on the frameworks you use in your apps. Below are some photos of the labs at WWDC this year. There were some open hours that you can join, but there is also the chance to book an appointment with a certain engineering area/framework to talk about something specific. If you are planning to attend WWDC, prepare ahead of time and plan for multiple ideas or frameworks that you want to discuss with the Apple engineers, also try to book your appointments as soon as possible. And don’t worry about the sessions, they are always recorded and can be streamed online later on.

Labs at WWDC
Labs at WWDC
Labs at WWDC

 

Lastly, I want to talk about the Apple Store. Apple had its WWDC store at the convention center where they were selling some clothes and Apple swag. The line to the store was crazy long, and most of the good stuff were sold out on the first day. So if you are a fan-boy, and willing to spend couple hours in line, you want to get in line as early as you can to get what you want. This year’s most popular item was the WWDC backpack according to the volunteers working there whom I spoke to. And oh, before I forget, in addition to the line outside, there was another line inside the store too!

Apple WWDC Store – The line inside the store.

 

To recap, the trip was great overall, and here are my 5 tips for you again:

  1. Get your badge the day before the keynote.
  2. On the keynote day, get there as early as you can.
  3. Ignore the breakfast line once you’re inside the building, and stick to the keynote line.
  4. Bring a water bottle, you’ll need it.
  5. Once you’re into the keynote room, ignore the line and run for a good spot. 

 

Bonus Tip: Sign up for the AltConf too. It is basically a conference for those who didn’t get a ticket for WWDC. There is a free ticket that you can get, and you can check and attend their sessions if there is nothing interesting going on at WWDC at a certain time. Plus you will get some free T-Shirts from the sponsors there!

 

Hope you liked this post, if you have any comments or questions about WWDC please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!

 

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