Apple has announced dates for its 2017 Worldwide Developer’s Conference — June 5th through 9th — along with a surprise: a return to the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. San Jose hosted WWDC until 2003, when Apple moved it to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The new location may account for why Apple unveiled WWDC’s dates so early — that usually happens in April.
Daring Fireball’s John Gruber was briefed by Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, who provided additional information. As in recent years, Apple will distribute tickets via lottery, which will open on 27 March 2017.
The move back to San Jose has some benefits. Apart from the hotels closest to the McEnery Convention Center, rooms in San Jose are generally cheaper than in the notoriously expensive San Francisco. Also, the McEnery Convention Center is only minutes from Apple’s new campus, so more Apple employees will be able to participate more easily. In contrast, Moscone is at least an hour drive from Apple’s headquarters, depending on traffic, and parking nearby can often be difficult and expensive.
The question is if the smaller and sleepier San Jose will work as well as San Francisco for evening social gatherings and post-WWDC networking, especially for those who don’t luck out in the WWDC lottery. The move also means that complementary events, such as AltConf, will have to change their plans.
Gruber speculates that the primary reason for the change is that Apple has no need for additional publicity and would prefer holding WWDC as close to its headquarters as possible. “It feels like WWDC is going home,” Schiller told Gruber.