Apple WWDC 2016 Tips

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco is the ultimate gathering for iOS and Mac OS X developers every year. Five thousand like-minded individuals passionate about the topics all under the roof of Moscone West. If you haven’t been before, or haven’t been in a while, here are some tips.

  • Venue – WWDC is at Mosone WEST at 747 Howard Street. If you leave out the WEST, you’ll end up a block away… San Francisco is a large city and has the same problems as any other city that size.  Be aware of the areas that you walk through, a block or two can make a very large difference in your safety.  Ask the people at your hotel and they should be able to direct you.
  • Apple Company Store in Cupertino – The only place in the world that sells Apple logo t-shirts, caps and accessories. They normally set up a small version of the store at the conference, but if you want the full selection of Apple swag, the Company Store is the only place to get it, and they have special hours on Sunday before WWDC. There is an organized bus trip from San Francisco, you can sign up at the Pilgrimage 2012 website.
  • Travel – BART heavy rail system has a stop (Powell St) two blocks from Moscone (with one of its exits going right to the Apple Store on Market). Since BART goes to the airport, you can save a lot of money over a cab or shuttle bus. WWDC has a luggage check on Friday, so you can check out of your hotel, leave your suitcase at Moscone West, pick it up Friday afternoon and head to BART. After dark travel in groups or take cabs.
  • Badge – Don’t lose it. They won’t replace it. If you arrive on Sunday, pick up your badge on Sunday, you’ll save alot of time vs trying to do it Monday morning
  • Internet Access – WiFi at WWDC is remarkably good. You do not need to bring your own MiFi, and if you do, you are likely to make life more difficult for the people sitting near you. New SDKs, OS X builds and other materials released during WWDC are hosted on a proxy server INSIDE Moscone, so you are MUCH better off downloading them over the conference networks. If you need to download something big, find the wired ethernet drops. They have crazy bandwidth, although be careful or you’ll get hooked and want something that fast when you get back to the office.
  • Network – WWDC bring together the best of our community. Introduce your self to people at lunch. Tell people what you do. Go to some of the evening events. Don’t forget your business cards! WWDC is one of the only places you can meet Apple Engineers, make the most of it. If you are from Michigan or have a Michigan connection, come to theMTAM/Arbormoon Michigan Networking Events
  • Food – Your WWDC ticket price includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Lunches are usually a boxed lunch that you can take with you to lunch time speakers, or for a Michigan lunch gathering in Yerba Buena Gardens across the street from Moscone West. Occasional snacks are placed in the common areas, but they don’t usually last long, so if you see something you want, grab it while you can… The Westfield shopping center has two upscale food courts for a quick bite if you tire of Moscone West fare. Easiest entry is through Bloomingdale’s on Mission (just NW of Moscone garage)
  • Notes – Apple has begun releasing conference videos very quickly after the conference, which has lessened the need to take notes. However, there is a group of people who do real-time collaborative note taking with Coda/Sub Etha Edit.
  • Labs – Apple brings in a very large number of engineers to staff the labs. If you have a technical issue which has been effecting your project, find a lab, and bring code and get an engineer to work with you on the problem. Before you sit down with an engineer, just make sure you are prepared to go straight to the question and not spend a bunch of time setting things up… Labs for popular technologies will probably have a line. Get in it early to ensure you get time with an engineer. You can also make reservations for UI review with Apple designers.
  • Attire – WWDC is a casual conference. Feel free to wear shorts and a t-shirt, or jeans and a t-shirt if you get cold with AC blowing on you. Wear something to promote your company/product or to start up a conversation. Do not wear a tie…
  • Weather – There’s a saying (misattributed to Mark Twain) that “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. WWDC temperatures are usually in the 50s and 60s (though they can go into the 70s), so pack a jacket and slacks/jeans/skirts.
  • Schedule Changes – WWDC always has events that get added to the schedule after the keynote, and sometimes even a little later. Watch for updates via the iOS app, or emails, or postings near the registration desk.
  • Packing List – iOS charging cable, business cards, jacket, laptop power cable, ethernet cable, consider a 3 way adapter as outlets are sometimes busy.
  • Confidentiality – After the Keynotes, most WWDC content is confidential. Be mindful of that when tweeting or blogging about the conference.

Finally, pace yourself, it’s a long conference. Get some rest, eat well, and party in moderation.

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