I’m writing these words in a corner of the San Jose airport as I wait to board my plane and head home after spending a satisfying few days at and around Apple Park. I didn’t expect to get invited by Apple to WWDC this year, but happily agreed to when they called.
The Worldwide Developers Conference has had many iterations over the years. I’ve attended it in San Francisco and San Jose. This year, with COVID, they held it at Apple Park itself. Apple Park is an amazing place and I will write a separate post about that, but suffice it to say it is one of the most impressive buildings on the planet. Holding WWDC at Apple Park lent a vibe of Apple letting down its guard for its developers. That, plus so many kind reunions following the worst days of COVID, gave the whole event an emotional charge that I did not expect. I was so happy to see friends that I’ve been unable to see for so long. I wasn’t alone. Moreover, being at Apple Park made so much more of a connection for everyone than downtown San Jose.
Talking to Apple folks, it sounds to me like they aren’t certain what the path forward is for WWDC is, but having attended the Apple Park event, I think there is no question that this week should be the model. This makes the live event smaller, but better, while also allowing Apple to primarily focus on those folks attending remotely. There are 34 Million registered developers. If Apple hosts 1,000 of them at Apple Park, that is 0.00003%. If Apple hosts 5,000 of them at a convention center, that is 0.0001%. Either way, they should be focused on the other 99.999% attending remotely.
I doubt future WWDCs will feel as emotional as this one did. Indeed, since that was a result of us surviving a global pandemic, I hope there will never be one so emotional. Those that do attend any future WWDC at Apple Park, however, will have a great time.