Apple have shared initial timings for this year’s WorldWide Developer Conference. In typical in-person years this would be the trigger for various “WWDC attendee tips” posts (don’t forget to drink water! Remember to sleep sometime through the week! Don’t go to the Moscone centre, they’ve moved the conference!) but that has not been the case through the pandemic. Instead WWDC has been fully online, so you just need to get the Developer app and watch the videos.
This year, it’s sort of hybrid, in that it appears the event will be online-first with a watch party of sorts on the first day. This happened at the fully in-person events anyway, at least at the Moscone: the keynote room filled up quickly and attendees were directed to other rooms to watch a stream. Other talks would be streamed to screens around the conference venue: I remember watching Crusty’s guide to protocol-oriented programming at an in-conference sports bar with a couple of good friends.
It’s also a great way to run a hybrid event: it’s much too easy (as those of us who worked remote in the pre-pandemic times will remember) for online attendees to be second-class citizens in the hybrid world. Making it clear that the event is an online event with the ability to engage from an on-site presence removes that distinction.
Some people will stay away, on the basis that travelling all the way to California to watch AppleTV is not a compelling use of resources. Honestly with this pandemic not being over anywhere except the minds of the politicians who need sacrifices to the line, that’s not a bad thing. Except that these people will miss out on networking, which is a bad thing.
Networking is such a big part of WWDC that plenty of people who didn’t have tickets to the for-realsies iterations would go anyway, maybe going to after parties, maybe going to AltConf (another opportunity to watch a stream of WWDC, alongside original talks by community members). But that was for a week of networking, not a day of watching TV.
That’s OK. Hopefully online watch parties, and local watch parties, will spring up, making the networking side of WWDC more accessible. Making WWDC truly world-wide.