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WWDC 2012 tickets went on sale this morning... and sold out less than two hours later. Last year it took 12 hours, two years ago it was a week, before that a month, or more.
So next year it will sell out in what, half an hour? This isn't very sustainable.
I think in this digital age the WWDC format isn't really suitable anymore. I hope that Apple is considering other approaches.
Presentation sessions aren't a very effective way to disseminate information. Live demos and Keynote slideshows are interesting and useful, but when most people watch them on the videos later, I think everyone would be better served if Apple posted presentation videos before the conference — like a month or so before, so people have time to watch them and can discuss them at the conference.
That'd be easier for Apple's developers, too — no pressure to get it right on the day, and would enable them to edit and perfect the videos.
Perhaps the main benefits of attending WWDC are the social interaction amongst developers, and the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with Apple developers at labs and elsewhere.
So if WWDC moved the sessions to videos, the conference could be all about such interactions. It could retain fun events like the Bash, the Apple Design Awards, and Stump the Experts, and perhaps add other similar group activities. Plus the Apple developers could be available throughout the week for one-on-one labs and casual meetings.
To address the limited availability, WWDC could move to a model like other conferences and conventions: sell tickets for individual days. For the very keen, there could be multi-day passes, but for many developers, one or two days would be plenty. Plus without sessions taking up all the room, many more people could attend group events like the awards etc, or find a space for smaller meetups.
Different days could focus on different areas, too — perhaps Monday for the keynote and awards shows, Tuesday & Wednesday for iOS, and Thursday & Friday for Mac. Though without the sessions, the few remaining events and labs could be spread out so more people have a chance to attend the areas that interest them.
I think this would be much better all round, and would enable WWDC to better serve and cope with the ever expanding developer community.