Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

Summary: Attendance to Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference sold out in 10 hours. Last year it took eight days. Why, it's almost as if Apple wanted the event to sell out quickly. As if doing so might, oh, I dunno, generate buzz about how popular it is to develop for Apple.

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On Monday Apple announced the dates for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and began to sell $1,599 tickets. Within 10 hours tickets for the event were gone. Now Apple faces criticism that WWDC is somehow broken for selling out so fast, and that Apple should somehow fix it. I couldn't disagree more.

WWDC is Apple's annual opportunity to connect with the people who write software for its platforms. The keynote presentation on the first day of WWDC is a huge press event - especially for the Apple blogosphere - but from then on it's session after session in the Moscone West conference facility in San Francisco, Calif. - and it's labs populated by hundreds of Apple engineers who help Mac and iOS developers to write better code.

WWDC sells out, and it's been selling out faster and faster for the past couple of years. Last year it took eight days. This year, less than half a day. Really, that ought not to surprise too many people: the number of registered Apple developers has increased dramatically over the past few years, thanks in part to the huge success of iOS and the App Store, and thanks also to a steadily growing base of Mac users. It's also helped that Apple has dropped the price of membership. Just last year, it could cost up to $3,499 to become a Mac developer - now it's just $99.

Of course, it's one thing to be an Apple developer. It's another thing to commit a week to your life to going to San Francisco and hone your skills as one. And it can be complicated to get the time off of work, to make travel arrangements through your employer or foot the travel bill yourself.

Still, with such a large global pool to draw from, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise that Apple sold out of its 5,000 tickets within hours.

So, now come the complaints that Apple is somehow underserving the development community because WWDC sold out so quickly. People who feel that way would do well to remember that last year's Google I/O event sold out in 90 minutes, at least according to comments made by Google's vice president of Engineering, Vic Gundotra. Ten hours seems almost glacial by comparison.

Why, it's almost as if Apple (or Google) wanted their event to sell out quickly. As if doing so might, oh, I dunno, generate buzz about how popular it is.

Popular events sell out quickly, and as a result a secondary market for tickets has already appeared - WWDC 2011 tickets have sprung up on eBay. That's something I hope to see Apple put an end to very quickly. It's bad enough that people have been profiteering on iPad 2 scarcity; scalping WWDC tickets is ridiculous.

While developers who weren't fast enough on the draw to get a ticket to this year's WWDC won't be able to get in the door, and those legions of developers who won't be in San Francisco aren't able to benefit directly from the hands-on labs Apple does and some of the social networking and other opportunities that Apple facilitates, unfortunately.

But that doesn't mean that Apple is keeping them on the sidelines. The company has become much better about posting videos from WWDC sessions quickly afterwards, rather than waiting until weeks later.

But what's the ultimate solution? Should Apple expand WWDC to a much larger venue? Possibly, but where? Even spreading it out to the actual Moscone Center - right next door to Moscone West - would give Apple a little more breathing room. Should Apple make WWDC events seasonal? Biannual?

In the end, I'm willing to bet that no matter how big the venue Apple picks, it'll get filled. Apple's platforms and hardware have simply become too important for developers to ignore.

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Topics: Software Development, Apple

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21 comments
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  • I first attended a WWDC in 1992

    It was a blast. Apple now criticized for selling out too fast. Funny;-)
    Richard Flude
    • Not critisized for selling out to fast, but critisized for

      @Richard Flude
      being "underserving".
      The complaint is that since you lowered the price of "memebership" from $3,499 to $99, you better have extra seats provided because someone's going to be left out with more people having access to the event.

      I'm sure that as being a "CIO" that if the exclusive golf course you belong to decided to go public, you'd be upset that you could no longer secure a tee time every Satarday. ;)
      John Zern
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

        @John Zern <br>So they are criticized for lowering "memebership" price. Oh I see. Thanks for the correction.
        anono
      • Sorry John

        As far as I know you don't have to be a ADC member (or newer) to go to the WWDC. Previously some levels of ADC membership included a ticket. The lowest level of ADC was free anyway.<br><br>The compliant is too few seats. Hopefully they'll get the videos up much faster as a result.<br><br>What have you heard about my clubs going public? I'll call them now, it must never happen;-)
        Richard Flude
      • anono, I fail to see where Mr. Zern said that they were

        @John Zern
        being critisized for lowering the price. My understanding is that since the level of entry is now affordable to many more, many more can now attend the event.
        Yes the entry price is the same, yet many more are now qualified to attend as they are, for the price of 99 dollars, now "Apple developers".

        With more developers able to participate, should not more "chairs" have been made avaliable?

        It is simple logic.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

        @John Zern
        A very good and informative article indeed . It helps me a lot to enhance my knowledge, I really like the way the writer presented his views.
        <a href="http://www.3cpromotion.com">gadget personalizzati</a> ! thanks
        giacomo Al
  • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

    LOL what a joke why would it be sold out? iphone is a junk phone it so many bugs like DeathGrip, Alarm clock issues and now daylight savings time and also not having year 2011 be changed while phone is on hahaha have to reboot your junk iphone to get right year hahahah

    Thanks to my windows phone 7 it is fast, way better user interface and glad no more ugly apps icons which make it so bloated and also takes so long to find stupid app. Windows phone 7 so awesome. Ck out this video I found youtube.com/thewebmogul why windows phone are still best to use for personal and business use and more realiable. Good luck on your iphone and having the deathgrip to get a signal. Sooner or later you will say "Can you hear me now!" LOL...
    ipadsucks
    • [Hedley Lamarr] Right again, sir.

      [nt]
      olePigeon
    • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

      @ipadsucks
      hahahahahahahahha
      Hasam1991
  • You Just Don't Get It

    Apple is different, you can make money with iOS, that's why people don't mind paying to attend... good luck with Android..
    Hasam1991
  • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

    At $1600 per person Apple is laughing its way to the bank. And what does the attendee get? A canvas bag with Apple's name on it.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

      @Loverock Davidson And five days talking with Apple engineers - access they can't buy the rest of the year. YMMV.
      flargh
    • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

      Microsoft's MIX 2011 is only slight less expensive, and shorter too. All these big ticket conferences are priced in this range. May you get to rub shoulders with some percieved techno-elite, but I'll take the streamed sessions for free, thank you very much.
      njoho
    • You're getting exposure and networking...

      You're getting exposure and networking with the top developers and manufacturers in the world, as well as a hands-on workshops with Apple hardware and software engineers.

      $1,600 is a bargain.
      olePigeon
    • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

      @Loverock Davidson <br>I completely agree. Capitalism totally sucks. We should have the government set prices on everything so Apple doesn't get to rip off developers and consumers by making them like their products.
      anono
    • These are far from money making events.

      @Loverock Davidson

      Do the math and you will find the price does not cover the expenses.
      Bruizer
  • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

    LOL what a joke why would it be sold out? iphone is a junk phone it so many bugs like DeathGrip, Alarm clock issues and now daylight savings time and also not having year 2011 be changed while phone is on hahaha have to reboot your junk iphone to get right year hahahah

    Thanks to my windows phone 7 it is fast, way better user interface and glad no more ugly apps icons which make it so bloated and also takes so long to find stupid app. Windows phone 7 so awesome. Ck out this video I found youtube.com/thewebmogul why windows phone are still best to use for personal and business use and more realiable. Good luck on your iphone and having the deathgrip to get a signal. Sooner or later you will say "Can you hear me now!" LOL...
    ipadsucks
    • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

      @ipadsucks cluck cluck cluck.. Oh what happened to your WP7 phone... Oh looks like there was an update... Enjoy your paper weight!
      browser.
  • RE: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out, already

    the bad thing is developers in larger companies, who couldn't put in a request for funding for the event until it was advertised, but it takes the companies 24 - 48 hours to authorize it... so the developers couldn't ever have a chance to get in the conference unless they pay out of their own pockets. I'm sure next year some will do so and then ask for reimbursement.
    doh123
    • Um, not really. Here's how it works.

      developer: Hey, boss, WDC is coming up next month.
      Boss: Yeah. You're approved. Just let us know the fee when it gets published, fill out your request and put it on my desk. Have fun.
      Developer: You got it.
      fr_gough