With only two months notice, Apple has rescheduled its 2003 Worldwide Developers Conference for 23-Jun-03 through 27-Jun-03 in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The WWDC conference was previously slated to take place May 19th through 23rd in San Jose. Apple’s stated rationale is to provide developers with a more complete release of the next version of Mac OS X, code-named Panther, and Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, said that moving WWDC to June “ensures that every developer will leave the event with a copy of Panther in their hands.”
To accommodate the change, Apple has extended the WWDC Early Bird registration discount to 23-May-03. Cancelling hotel reservations shouldn’t be a major problem for attendees, but it’s unclear if Apple will be helping those who already purchased non-refundable plane tickets. Apple does say that people who have already registered for WWDC 2003 can contact the Apple Developer Connection, presumably to register complaints or ask for assistance. There is some precedent for Apple paying ticket change fees; when Apple rescheduled Steve Jobs’s keynote a day earlier at Macworld Expo San Francisco two years ago, they helped press who needed to change tickets and hotel reservations.
The real problem, however, is that the new dates for WWDC butt up against the annual grassroots MacHack developers conference, currently scheduled for 19-Jun-03 through 21-Jun-03 in Detroit, Michigan. Although there’s no actual overlap, attendees have only one day between the two conferences to travel and recuperate from the long hours during MacHack. Worse, it’s unlikely any Apple employees will be able to attend MacHack, since they’ll be busy preparing for WWDC. Other developers may opt out of MacHack due to the amount of time away from work attending both conferences would entail. Since Apple didn’t contact the organizers of MacHack in advance, they’re still discussing what to do. Stay tuned.