Like some sort of corporate Willy Wonka, Apple has thrilled 5,000 eager coders by inviting them to the Worldwide Developers Conference this June. But, like the fictitious candy man, Cupertino also crushed the dreams of thousands of would-be attendees who didn’t snag a golden ticket to the Apple event of the year.
“I’m going to WWDC!!!!” tweeted Kevin Sliech after he got an email Monday saying he had been selected to buy a WWDC ticket. “So incredibly pumped it’s absurd.”
Thanks to a new lottery system, this year’s rush to get WWDC tickets didn’t result in a crippled website that sold out in 71 seconds. Still, the odds of securing a spot at the San Francisco event were probably higher than ever, since developers could register for a chance to buy a ticket without ponying up the $1,600 in advance.
I got a golden ticket to #wwdc!!! Can’t wait to see the Oompa Loompas!
— Matthew Dicembrino (@sixsidedstudio) April 8, 2014
Demand for WWDC tickets has grown to epic levels in recent years. It took a month for tickets to sell out in 2009, but that time frame shrank to two weeks in 2010, 12 hours in 2011 and two hours in 2012 before reaching a ridiculous crescendo with the two-minute WWDC brawl of 2013.
The demand is understandable: At WWDC, Apple’s leaders speak directly to an enthusiastic audience of developers and reveal the company’s latest hardware and software initiatives.
The first wave of ticket notifications for WWDC 2014 were emailed to developers this afternoon, with many winners taking to Twitter to celebrate their good fortune — and loads more losers bemoaning their lousy luck.
Boo no #wwdc ticket. Next lottery google I/O. Never knew being a geek required so much luck.
— Matt Howland (@matthowland) April 8, 2014
The switch to a lottery system was welcomed by many devs as the fairest way for all to get a ticket. While waiting to hear his fate, GPS Tracks developer David Morneault said his experience buying WWDC tickets last year was horrible, but he’s more optimistic about the lotto.
“I think the lottery is somewhat better, though I hope they give priority to developers who have higher-ranking apps,” he told Cult of Mac in an email. “But that is wishful thinking.”
With Apple boasting more than 275,000 registered iOS developers in the United States alone, the statistical odds of getting one of the 5,000 spots available were so slim it had couples fighting over rights to attend.
I AM GOING TO WWDC. OMG. pic.twitter.com/qxEUTwQheg
— Ayaka Nonaka (@ayanonagon) April 8, 2014
Apple wouldn’t tell us the official number of devs who registered for WWDC 2014, but the new lottery system likely made it harder for everyone to secure a ticket by adding more candidates to the pool of possible ticket holders.
Developers who won the lottery have until April 14 to purchase their tickets. There’s no word yet from Apple if a new batch of unclaimed tickets will be made available after that date.
Didn't get selected to buy a WWDC ticket. I thought they could have been more tactful: pic.twitter.com/0irPPHDd8U
— Jesse Hiatt (@MrJesseHiattEsq) April 8, 2014
The lottery system isn’t without its flaws, even though companies like Google are taking a similar approach for their tech conferences. Some developers have suggested charging per day to accommodate more people. Making separate, more-expensive tickets for Labs could be useful for those who actually need one-on-one time with Apple’s 1,000 developers.
All is not lost for those not lucky enough to be numbered among the 5,000 developers who will get tickets to the Apple event of the year, though. Apple plans to make videos of all the developer sessions available online, and developers have other meetup options in San Francisco thanks to the second annual AltConf.
It won’t feature a Tim Cook keynote, but it will be just as geeky.
— salik (@salick) April 8, 2014