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No Ticket to Apple's WWDC? No Problem. Viewing Parties Abound.

AltConference will screen the WWDC 2015 keynote and state of the union after assuring Apple's legal team it wouldn't charge attendees for viewing the live presentations.


Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has become like a major sporting event, inspiring tailgate parties around downtown San Francisco.

Tickets to WWDC are in such high demand, Apple sells them via a lottery system. That leaves plenty of developers sitting at home or at work, watching Chief Executive Tim Cook deliver his keynote via an Internet livestream.

But why watch alone? A number of events have sprung up around the city to provide an opportunity for publicly nerding out over Apple’s announcements (with the added lure of free food and drinks). One event, the AltConference0, initially* ran afoul of Apple’s legal team when it began selling $300 “Hero” tickets for reserved seating at the AMC Metreon, where it plans to host events for 1,000 people across three theaters.

The AltConf organizers released a statement, saying they were forced to cancel the planned screening of the WWDC keynote and state of the union after receiving a threatening letter from Apple’s outside attorneys.

Late Friday, both parties reached an agreement that would allow AltConf to screen Apple’s two major live presentations — so long as it was offered for free to attendees, and “Hero” ticket holders would not receive any special seating or viewing perquisites.

“It’s a testament to the community reaction,” said AltConf organizer Rob Elkin. “Apple started paying attention … Maybe they didn’t realize the affect those actions had on the community.”

The shadow conference also will continue to host sessions for developers who didn’t get one of Apple’s golden tickets — including discussions about the Swift programming language, app design and the iOS mobile operating system.

Elsewhere in the city, companies including Twitter, Thoughtbot, Release Notes and InMobi are hosting their own WWDC livestream gatherings. These are free to developers.

Mobile ad network InMobi has already attracted 300 people with its offer of fresh-cooked waffles, fruit and coffee at its Brannan Street offices. Meanwhile, Twitter will serve up burritos and mimosas at its headquarters and host talks with an iOS engineer for Periscope and a mobile developer advocate.

“We decided to open this up to our developer community so that they can join our engineers and geek out over all things Apple,” said Prashant Sridharan, Twitter’s global head of developer & platform relations.

We have no idea what’s on the menu at Moscone Center, which Apple has dubbed “the epicenter of change.” The keynote begins at 10 am PT Monday.

*Story has been updated at 6 p.m. Friday to reflect new developments.

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