WWDC: AltConf announces London, San Jose alternative developer conferences

Developers will be able to meet and talk about WWDC at the first AltConf event in London, as a popular alternative developer conference opens up in Europe.

Apple, iOS, macOS, iPhone, WWDC, AltConf, London, San Jose

Apple developers will already be familiar with the developer community-driven AltConf conference that takes place at the same time as WWDC. For the first time this year, it will open up in both London, U.K., and near Apple Park in San Jose, California.

Are you (not) going to San Jose?

Now in its seventh year, AltConf is one of the biggest independent Apple developer events in the world and is extending its show to include a one-night event in London on keynote day (June 4).

The event takes place at the San Jose Marriott slap bang beside the WWDC venue. Nine hundred attendees will be able to watch the Apple event keynote and State of the Union, and then spend three days of intense developer-focused content, presentations, and debate. The event is free.

That’s the U.S. In addition, for the first time this year, AltConf will also host a free evening event for European developers in London, U.K., at the Royal Horticultural Halls (doors at 5 p.m., U.K. time). The WWDC keynote will be screened on a giant LED screen, followed by a panel discussion in which developers, executives, and experts from across the industry will look deeply into Apple’s announcements. This event is also free. You can find out more about it here.

I spoke with AltConf organizer Rob Elkin, who said: “Part of our mission is to bring the Apple developer community together around WWDC and to offer an alternative to those that can't make it to the main conference.”

WWDC speculation intensifies

There’s plenty of speculation around what Apple will reveal at WWDC. New OS iterations for Apple’s mobile products, Mac, TV, and Watch seem inevitable. Whispers claim we may see a new iPhone SE, AirPower, and announcement of future enhancements to the TV and Music apps. It also seems inevitable we’ll see a much smarter Siri and key enhancements to Apple Maps.

Many of these improvements will have big consequences on Apple’s developer community, enabling new business opportunities.

What does Elkin expect from Apple’s event? “This year, as usual, everyone is getting pretty excited in general for what’s coming out,” he said.

“Apple is typically tight-lipped, but I’m very much hoping to see more advancements in their AR and machine learning plays, and of course some announcements that we don’t even know about.”

After the London event, the panel discussion may have some focus around digital health, given at least two participants create apps in this space.

Elkin observes: “I do think that health is an area that has been a massive focus for Apple and will continue to be so across the industry. The potential to use the incredibly powerful devices that are in our pockets not just for distraction, but also to enrich our lives, is unprecedented. It’s amazing to see developers take advantage of that to make everyone healthier.”

This global village

Does it make sense to offer a WWDC-focused event on different continent than the main show? I think it does.

Apple is an international company, and WWDC has become such a big event that people who need to get to the show have no guarantee of getting a ticket.

That’s a shame, as WWDC isn’t just a place to learn what’s new and find answers to the challenges developers face; it’s also a brain-storming and networking opportunity.

Apple’s most recent financial results show us that the company’s global business is hugely important to the company. Apple is investing deeply in its developer community, including a major initiative in which it is offering intensive free training to 400 developers each year at the Apple Developer Academy in Naples, Italy.

Elkin puts it like this: “Even when you look at the demographics that make up the developer community, the majority of them are outside the U.S., which says a lot about the pervasiveness of the Apple ecosystem, and technology in general, outside the U.S. and the impact that it is making to the whole world.”

Are you going to San Jose?

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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