My First WWDC

Published on June 24, 2016

2016 marks my first Apple WWDC!

For the last 8 years, all I do is to watch the event online, and get excited thousands of miles away. Not this time!

This is a long post on lessons I learnt - the parties, sessions and labs.


First lesson learnt: Book hotels, with free cancellation, even before you ballot for the ticket.

Hotels get booked very quickly, and price go up fast for San Francisco.

I chose a cheap hostel for $100 SGD a night, located at 6th street, which is 10 min walk to either Bill Graham Auditorium or Moscone Centre. That’s a good location.

It is actually better than expected for a 2-star hostel. The shared bathrooms are clean (though small), and there are 2 showers and 2 bathrooms, so plenty for everyone on the same level.

Queuing for Keynote

The opening Keynote is on Monday 10am.

Apple fanboys will queue for it.

It is my first time, and I thought let’s join the crazy ones to queue, at 3am.

My fellow friends from Singapore and I are around the first 100 in the queue. But even so, we are seated at 20 rows away, because the first block of seats were reserved for the media.

It wasn’t actually near enough to the stage, so it wasn’t worth a queue if the sole goal is to be near the stage.

Yet, I think the queuing is a great experience (do try once!). The time spent let us make new friends. And you get the excitement all the time.

The Parties

Watch out for parties, and register for it, as they are as HOT.

I made the newbie mistake and didn’t sign up for the popular parties quick enough. I still managed to fill my evenings with great parties, but I could have more choices.

Parties are fun to go, a good time to meet more fellow developers, and chat, and have food and drinks.

And I didn’t have to pay for a single dinner from Mon-Thu :)

The offical WWDC bash is on Thu, since by Fri many developers will be heading home.

Of course, you should never miss the bash, with lots of food and a concert.

There are also pre-event meetups too. I joined the WWDC Hike, which is a good route to hike, but what’s bad is that the event didn’t clearly state the meetup point, and many many developers (like me) were not with the main group.


Watching the sessions live is actually pretty much the same as watching them online.


  • I get to clap too
  • I dozed off a few times (too tired!)

And so I skipped quite a lot of sessions, and prefer to download with my Swift script and watch at my leisure.

Lunch Talk

The only “sessions” that cannot be downloaded are the lunch time talks, around 45 min every day. They can be downloaded for WWDC 2016.

The Marvel talk on Friday was very enlightening. The Marvel stories and superheroes is something that we watched/read about so much, yet there are good reasons for why they are created.

With great power comes great responsibilites

Comic creators have the responsibility to give it’s reader a meaningful and inspiring stories.

So do developers.


Labs are especially important, and the value of the conference is in meeting Apple’s engineers and managers privately.

Some more popular labs require booking, at 7am.

The most popular lab would be UI Design Lab - which you get 30 min with a designer to advise you on your UI/UX.

I didn’t know how hot it was until Thu 7am. To my horror the slots were filled at 7.01am.

On Fri, I got smarter.

  • Refresh at 7am
  • Do NOT pick preferred time slots, just choose “Any”
  • Do NOT enter remarks
  • Press submit button ASAP

I got the slot, and it was actually quite good.

Not ground breaking, but good. While I already knew most of the design patterns Apple prefers, it is still good to have affirmations, and an expert to pinpoint what he/she sees is weak.

During WWDC, the App Store team also released their App Review Guideline comic book, along with their newly designed guidelines, which shorten reviews to within 48 hours. As always, follow the changes.