AltWWDC offers free alternative to Apple’s developer conference

Lex Friedman
26 April, 2013
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If you missed out on tickets to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) – and since they sold out in three minutes, it’s quite likely you did – you may be soothed by news of a second Apple-centric conference in San Francisco going on at the same time. On Thursday Appsterdam announced AltWWDC, a free conference it will open just a block away from the Moscone Centre where WWDC is held.

Described as “a free and open alternative to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference”, the five-day AltWWDC event will include talks, food and co-working space. Confirmed speakers include former Apple engineer Mike Lee, NetNewsWire creator Brent Simmons, TUAW’s Victor Agreda Jr and developer and occasional Macworld contributor Brett Terpstra. The event is scheduled to run from 10 June to 14 June, just like WWDC.

Via email, Appsterdam COO Judy Chen told Macworld, “AltWWDC was inspired by the sharing spirit of Appsterdam, and Appsterdam was inspired by the feeling of camaraderie that you get while attending a conference.” She described AltWWDC as an opportunity “for app makers to get together socially, share knowledge, improve their skills and increase their network”.

For many developers within the Apple ecosystem, getting the opportunity to socialise and trade tips with their colleagues proves just as appealing as Apple’s conference itself. Numerous smaller, Apple-centric conferences continue to pop up around the globe, as developers seek out more ways to interact with each other in person. AltWWDC, however, appears to be the first such event intentionally scheduled as counter-programming for the same time as Apple’s flagship developer event.

Among the currently scheduled events is a keynote breakfast on 10 June, during which attendees at AltWWDC can watch live streams of the WWDC keynote expected for that day. Presumably, new versions of OS X and iOS will be previewed then.

In recent years, more members of the Apple development community have travelled to San Francisco during WWDC week, even when they don’t have tickets to the event. Tickets to WWDC cost US$1599 – and that’s only if you can buy them before they sell out. Chen noted that a year ago, “Many of our colleagues were extremely disappointed that they couldn’t attend WWDC” because it sold out quickly. “We saw our community was in need.”

And AltWWDC really is free. “It’s expensive enough to stay in a hotel for a week in San Francisco,” Chen said. “We didn’t want the cost of our event to be a barrier to keep people from attending.”

by Lex Friedman, Macworld

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