WWDC from the eyes of a first-time attendee

Dear Mert Dümenci,
You’ve been chosen to attend WWDC 2013 on a student scholarship.

I started jumping around at 6 AM after I got this email from Apple on a school day.

I was boarding a plane for a journey that will take 15 hours a month after. I wanted to attend WWDC forever, and the fact that I would finally attend it as a ‘scholarship winner’ got me very excited.

(I have a video of my scholarship app on YouTube if you’re curious)

Golden Gate Bridge

WWDC is where thousands of Apple developers meet every year, partly about learning newly announced technologies but most importantly to hang out with friends from all around the world for a week.

WWDC is not very much about the sessions. It has a very special spirit that 5000 developers get to experience.

I arrived in San Francisco two days before WWDC. After having breakfast with @stroughtonsmith, @b3ll and @adamkmccarthy on Sunday, we agreed on going in the keynote line at 1 AM after getting our badges.

The keynote starts at 10 AM. 9 hours, waiting outside in a cold San Francisco night. Crazy, right?

9 hours felt like nothing in the line. We were taken in at around 7:30 AM, going upstairs to wait 1.30 hours sitting on the floors of Moscone West, waiting for Apple to open up Presidio, the keynote hall.

Keynote queue, 6AM

The queue is a must if you’re there with friends. You meet a ton of people, and 9 hours don’t feel that long in the queue, believe me. Just one thing : make sure you have a jacket with you. Coming from sunny Istanbul, I wore double jackets and I was still shaking. I have strong evidence that San Francisco isn’t actually California.

iPhones up! (photo by Steven Troughton-Smith)

I learned that they had overflow rooms for the keynote in previous years, so if you didn’t come early to secure yourself a seat, you couldn’t watch it live. This year, they had a ton of space in Presidio, making sure everybody got seats in the main hall.

Designed by Apple in California

The keynote started with Tim Cook talking about stats, following a beautiful video.

64% of WWDC 2013 attendees were first-time attendees. This is an interesting fact, because I heard ‘this is my 5th WWDC’ a lot.

Blurry Tim Cook talking about stats (photo by Steven Troughton-Smith)

The crowd’s response to iOS 7 was… interesting. I thought it was a joke when they first showed it. Now I have it installed on both of my iOS devices, including my main phone. I like it, a lot.

After the keynote, we slowly went 3 floors down to the ‘food court’ of Moscone West where they have food, labs and 1 Gbit ethernet connection hooked to the tables.

The developer center servers were down, and we had to wait ~40 minutes to actually download and install the new stuff. 5000 developers just in that hall trying to download gigabytes of files from your server at the same time. That should be hard to manage.

Lots of people in Presidio (photo by Steven Troughton-Smith)

I switched back to iOS 6 after a day with iOS 7. Then I updated to iOS 7 again. (I like restoring my phone from a backup. Not.)

Most of our time in Moscone West was spent attending a lot of sessions regarding the new iOS 7 APIs with @stroughtonsmith and @b3ll, but I can’t talk about those since they’re under NDA. iOS 7 has lots of very cool stuff, can’t wait Apple to lift the NDA.

The Bash
Myself, Adam McCarthy and Mark Gurman at the Bash.(photo by Steven Troughton-Smith)

Bash is a cool ‘WWDC party’ basically where developers get drunk.

This year, Vampire Weekend was performing, and I really like them, so that was cool.

Bash is all about meeting people and having fun. @saurik, @chpwn, @b3ll and @mxweas offered a ‘challenge’ where you go and meet people, and talk about all the cool people you met afterwards. I’m not the type of person who would normally do this, but @saurik wanted me to go with him, and I had a really great time. We met the whole TIME magazine iOS crew. That’s cool, ha? Don’t be shy about saying hi.

Mark Gurman and Steven Troughton-Smith at the Bash.

WWDC has a fun spirit created by thousands of ambitious people who share interests, and I don’t think you would find this spirit in any other conference.

Thanks to Apple for letting me experience this awesome event, I’m hoping to make it again next year.

iOS 7 opened a new, wide road ahead of developers. I’d think there’ll be some exciting new apps in the following months.

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