AltConf 2020 canceled due to coronavirus concerns

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altconf2019 logo
AltConf won't offer a live stream event either.
Photo: Alt Conference

AltConf, the best Apple-focused conference not created by Apple, has been completely canceled for 2020 due to concerns about the current coronavirus pandemic.

Serving as an alternative to Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, AltConf gave developers and Apple fans the chance to mingle and learn from each other without paying for a pricey WWDC ticket.

Breakout! Inside an Apple escape room [Cult of Mac Magazine No. 296]

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An unusual Apple-themed escape room is set to inject some fun into this year's AltConf during WWDC.
An unusual Apple-themed escape room is set to inject some fun into this year's AltConf during WWDC.
Cover: Martin Cortinas/Cult of Mac

Imagine yourself in a nightmare scenario. You’re tasked with making an Apple keynote run smoothly, but Murphy’s law is in full effect. Everything that can go wrong does. Tim Cook is not pleased. And you must wield your Apple knowledge to make things right.

That’s what you’ll experience if you dare to go “Backstage at the Keynote” during WWDC 2019. Find out all about this unusual Apple-themed escape room, which should spice things up at AltConf next month, in this week’s free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine for iOS.

Or read on to get the rest of the week’s best Apple news, reviews and how-tos in your browser, including our scoop on what’s up with that mysterious rainbow stage spotted inside Apple Park.

Why WWDC is totally terrifying for indie developers

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Apple's product events always make Josh Michaels nervous. He's never sure if he'll still be in business at the end.
Apple's product events always make Josh Michaels nervous. He's never sure if he'll still be in business at the end.
Photo: Leander Kahney

SAN FRANCISCO — If you watched the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote earlier this week, you’d think it was a big love fest. But there’s a section of the audience sitting there in a cold, cold sweat.

Attendees are mostly software developers, and some of them are very nervous that Apple will announce something that will ruin their business overnight.

“The WWDC keynote is terrifying for developers,” said Josh Michaels, an independent software developer from Portland, Oregon, who runs Jetson Creative. “The uncertainty is the worst part.”

Take ReplayKit in iOS 9, a new feature that records games and app videos without the need for any external cameras or hardware.

Sounds great, unless you are Everyplay or Kamkord, a pair of young companies that raised millions of dollars to record games and app videos in iOS.

“They’re f**ked!” said a game developer at WWDC who asked not to be named.

#ProTip: The best book on marketing for app developers

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AltConf profile
Matt Ronge and Giovanni Donelli, the indie devs behind Astropad, a hit app that turns an iPad into a graphics tablet.
Photo:

We’re down here at WWDC, fishing for ProTips. It’s rich hunting ground. WWDC is the world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers, the alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.

Astro HQ is a two-person indie software company that launched its first app in February.

Run by two ex-Apple engineers — Matt Ronge and Giovanni Donelli — their app was successful. They’re now making their livelihoods from their software. They’re living the dream! Independent app developers!

They’re as rare as unicorns.

Only 0.01 percent of app developers are financially successful, according to a depressing survey by Gartner.

Ronge and Donelli did a lot of things right, including their own app marketing, which they say was key to their successful launch.

They did the app marketing themselves, with no prior experience, and a lot of what they learned was thanks to one book.

My awful life inspired Law & Order, Gamergate dev says

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Game developer Brianna Wu
Brianna Wu, a female game developer whose life was turned upside down by Gamergate.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Game developer Brianna Wu’s life became the inspiration for an episode of the hit cop show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

While she was kinda flattered, she wasn’t entirely pleased. To get Law & Order: SVU‘s attention, your life has to be messed up one way or the other.

“There’s no good way to be on Law and Order,” she joked.

AltConf makes WWDC look like a stuffy college lecture

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Jeff Kelley AltConf 2014
There really is a good reason that AltConf 2014 looked like Jurassic Park.
Photo: AltConf

You’ve probably heard — repeatedly, from us — that Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is happening in San Francisco next week. But that’s not the only show in town. The Alternative Developer Conference, aka AltConf, is running at the same time, right around the corner from the Moscone Center at the AMC Metreon.

It’s a more open and accessible convention than Apple’s, and that’s not just because it’s free.

“Alt has great information, but it has a lot more community feel where it’s not getting talked down to from the lectern and Apple, you’re getting talked to by your peers,” Jeff Kelley, iOS developer for Detroit Labs and author of Developing for Apple Watch, told Cult of Mac. “And everybody there is kind of on the same foot. Especially because it’s free. You can pay to get a reserved ticket this year, but you don’t have to pay to get in. Everybody is there because they love this stuff.”

Apple lawyers ban AltConf from streaming WWDC keynote

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It's beginning to look a lot like WWDC at Moscone Center in San Francisco.
It's beginning to look a lot like WWDC at Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Ahead of WWDC 2015, Apple’s lawyers have demanded AltConf organizers refrain from streaming or displaying any video or display any video content from WWDC. As a result, the conference has decided to cancel its annual viewing of the Keynote and State of the Union stream on Monday that has been a staple of the event for the past few years.

In a letter to AltConf, Apple’s lawyers maintain that the company has the right to “exercises control over not only the content of its messaging, but also the manner in which those messages are packaged, distributed and delivered,” and that the AltConf’s big party of developers watching the keynote together “would strip Apple of exclusive control over one of the most anticipated events of the year, and could deprive Apple of potential revenue generated from its exclusive rights.”

AltConf returns for this year’s WWDC rejects

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App developers meet with tech journalists in the hope of gleaming a few tips on how to get their apps noticed at the AltConf Journalist Pitch Lab in San Francisco, CA, June 3, 2014. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Journalists teach devs how to make their apps get noticed at last year's AltConf. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is the hottest ticket in town when June rolls around. Before a lottery system was introduced for distributing passes last year, the week-long event sold out in a little over a minute.

For those who aren’t lucky enough to get into Apple’s main event, there is AltConf. Created by developers for developers, the indie conference will run alongside WWDC again this year — and it’s expected to be bigger than ever.