Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WWDC Sells Out in 2 Hours, Leaving Many Devs Ticketless — And Outraged

WWDC Sells Out in 2 Hours, Leaving Many Devs Ticketless — And Outraged:

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, better known as WWDC, is an annual must-attend event for serious iOS and Mac developers. Tickets are coveted, command a hefty price tag, and sell out quickly.
But this year, tickets sold so rapidly, and so early in the day, that many West Coast developers were left ticketless — and feeling alienated by Apple.
Each year, Apple puts 5,000 WWDC tickets on sale. And as with all Apple announcements, secrecy drives intrigue and excitement, so the date and time of the ticket release is unknown beforehand. In 2010, it took eight days for tickets to sell out. Last year, tickets sold out in less than 12 hours.
But demand and anticipation for the five-day 2012 conference, which kicks off June 11, is running sky high. As a result, the $1,600 tickets, which went on sale at 5:30 a.m. Pacific time Wednesday morning, sold out in two hours.
Considering the robust developer scene on the West Coast, particularly in the Bay Area, the decision to release the tickets at such an early hour left many would-be attendees shaking proverbial fists at their MacBooks. Of course, everyone knew tickets would sell out quickly. Colin Barrett, a San Francisco-based developer, told Wired, “I wasn’t really surprised tickets sold out in two hours. Honestly, I thought they would sell out quicker.”
‬”There are a lot of annoyed engineers. My Twitter stream is filled with outrage.” — Zac Bowling‪
‬Nonetheless, why would Apple deliberately release the tickets at a time when those in its own Silicon Valley/San Francisco backyard wouldn’t be able to take advantage? Wired has reached out to Apple for comment on its ticket release time, but has yet to receive a response.
“There are a lot of annoyed engineers,” iOS developer Zac Bowling told Wired. “My Twitter stream is filled with outrage.”
Rick Harrison, an iOS software engineer with San Francisco-based Sincerely, told Wired he was angry when he heard the news this morning. “I had full intentions on going to WWDC this year, and along with most of the dev community, I’ve been anxious about the announcement the past few weeks,” Harrison said. “I was completely appalled when I woke up at 7:45 a.m. this morning and checked Twitter to see that WWDC tickets both had already gone on sale, and sold out.”

It’s also worth noting that Apple released tickets for the conference at a later date than it usually does. In 2011, for example, tickets went on sale on March 28 for the WWDC on June 6.
“I’m guessing it was a conscious decision by Apple to get more participants from outside the west coast,” Zac White, lead iOS developer at Velos Mobile, told Wired. “I realize there’s not a lot Apple can do about the situation, but I was hoping for a solution a little outside the box.”
WWDC provides developers with the rare opportunity to speak one-on-one with Apple engineers. It’s an invaluable venue for talking through problems, and addressing software bugs that might otherwise never be fixed.
It’s also a huge networking opportunity. “If you don’t go, you’re pretty much boned all year,” Bowling said. “There’s nothing that equates to the same kind of one-on-one interaction you get at that conference.”
Bowling set up a script to sound an alarm the moment WWDC tickets went on sale. The script worked perfectly — except Bowling was coding software until the wee hours the night before, and completely slept through his alarm.
“I think the 5:30 a.m. time really wasn’t fair to anyone on the Pacific coast,” Bowling said. “I know iOS devs at Square, Instagram, and a bunch of top apps that didn’t get a ticket simply because they were asleep, and they sold out before they woke up.”
Unfortunately, WWDC have-nots won’t be able to purchase someone else’s passes from eBay or Craigslist, because tickets are non-transferable this year. But one Bay Area developer seems to think he’s found a work-around: He’s so desperately determined to go to WWDC that he’s willing to legally change his name in order to take advantage of someone else’s ticket.
Or maybe our prospective name changer should consider investing in a fake I.D., along with wardrobe from Urban Outfitters or Forever 21: Students age 13 and over still have a chance to grab one of a limited supply of student scholarship tickets.
One thing’s for sure: West coast developers who’ve been faithfully attending WWDC for years aren’t happy, and aren’t looking forward to watching their east coast and international counterparts waltzing into the Moscone Center in June.
“It’s really bumming me out,” Bowling said. “But I guess it’s a victim of its own success in a way.”

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