Chalk up one more exhibit for the case that Apple and its ecosystem refuse to participate in the global economic meltdown.
WWDC sold out Tuesday, the earliest date on record for which the annual conference devoted to Apple’s development community has reached capacity. Tickets went on sale just a month ago, and were no bargain — even the early-bird special was well over $1,000.
Interest in this year’s event is great for a number of reasons. Developers and presumably the audience at the keynote will get the first public glimpse of OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard.” The new OS has been in testing with developers for a while now, but many of the expected user interface changes remain under wraps. WWDC may be the first time anyone gets a real look at those.
Even bigger than Snow Leopard, however is the possibility that Apple could unveil a new version of the iPhone, even a touchscreen netbook or tablet. The rumor mill on all of these ideas has been active for months.
And of course there is the ever present shadow of Steve Jobs. Will he make an appearance, even tough he’s not scheduled to return from his sabbatical until the end of June? Could he possibly bear – health permitting – to let someone else introduce a major OS upgrade and potentially game-changing hardware?
The Jobs factor aside, the real takeaway from WWDC’s full house next month is the clear evidence that interest in Apple’s technology remains very strong. The idea that someone could found a career or hit the jackpot on the strength of learning how to develop applications that work with Apple technology seems to be one of the few – and one of the brightest – lights of hope on the economic horizon.