WWDC24 5 min read


Photos from Apple Park and some words on what was easily one of my favorite editions of Apple’s Developer Conference.

WWDC24 Post image


My first time going was in 2009. I walked to Moscone Conference Center in San Francisco around 3:30 AM to line up — yes, you had to line up — for the keynote with a badge I borrowed from someone who was more sensible than me. It cost $1500 or so to attend. In my defense, there was no live stream back then! Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and iPhone OS 3.0.

Things have changed a lot — for the better. If you’d told me years ago that Apple would host WWDC at their campus, and it’d be free and fantastic, I wouldn’t have believed you. I probably would’ve put pretty good money on betting against it. And yet, in 2022 this new Apple Park WWDC format kicked off, and I love it.

This year was probably the best one yet (perhaps slightly after 2022, because we won the Apple Design Award). Not just of the Apple Park WWDCs — of all the ones I have attended.

There’s certainly things we lost when WWDC went from being a ‘classical’ conference in a conference center in the middle of a city to being hosted by Apple on their campus. For one, since attendance is limited, there’s always a big crowd of people in town for the secondary events and socializing.

In a city, that means you can still meet everyone right outside the conference center and in the hotels, bars and venues around it. Not so much with Apple Park, which is very insular. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous, lovely venue — much nicer than any conference center — but socializing with everyone is a lot harder. I do miss that a bit.

But this week, lots of other events were happening around town. Online, the community seemed super energized and chatty. There was so much announced, and none of it hardware: it was all about APIs and software. A true developer’s developer conference.

There’s still a sort of funny jet lag from the days that WWDC was a full week. Everyone seemingly kind of expects it to be a week, still. Occasionally you’ll stand chatting and someone goes ‘OK so what’s happening the rest of the week again?’ — as if it’s not just a single day event at Apple Park. That being said, this time unofficial (read: non-Apple) events did run the whole week, sessions drop daily, and even media briefings and secondary labs happened on the 2nd or 3rd day of the week.

Event-changes-wise, these were super positive changes that stuck out:

On that final note: It was kind of nice that those sessions were really live back in the day, and Stump The Experts is very missed, but the current format of pre-recorded videos that release online is exceptional in both quality, usability and accessibility. (I’ll be sharing my pick of favorite videos in this weekend’s newsletter)

It’s tremendous. For developers, I don’t think anything really comes close to how nice it is. Even labs are available online.

Apple does a fantastic job with this stuff and opening it up to people with fewer resources and less ticket lottery luck, something I always really longed for when I was living in the Netherlands as an upstart designer. Resources like new icon templates and design resources and documentation drop the same day.

Apple Design Awards on display at Infinite Loop

One small minus I’d like to voice: Apple Design Awards are a unique beacon of light in the world of software design. Our Oscars. It was super neat that WWDC24 kicked off with a reception at Apple’s old Infinite Loop campus, and that winners got to both showcase their apps, awards and chat with the attendees. But it just ain’t right that the ceremony was canned. A prestigious award needs a ceremony where winners are handed their prize instead of an online announcement. Come on, Apple. Bring it back!

I am grateful for the immensely hard working and kind people from Apple who put all this together. The developer evangelism and relations team, the engineers and designers that came out for labs and everyone else who made it happen. You can absolutely tell how much work goes into this.

A big thank you to everyone, attendees and employees — I’m left not just grateful for the week and events, but also stoked that I get to be part of such a fantastically vibrant and supportive community.

See y'all next year!

For more photos, see my Photography post.


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