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Apple Moves WWDC 2003 to June in San Francisco

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."

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To accommodate the change, Apple has extended the WWDC Early Bird registration discount to 23-May-03 (full refunds are also offered through 23-May-03 for those who had already registered but can’t make the new dates). Cancelling hotel reservations shouldn’t be a major problem for attendees, and it appears Apple will be helping those who already purchased non-refundable plane tickets. If that includes you, 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. Dave Polaschek has been reporting his rescheduling efforts on his weblog; he’s found that Apple is trying to be accommodating, both in terms of helping developers find hotel rooms in San Francisco (probably easy, given the occupancy rate we saw during Macworld Expo in San Francisco) and in working with airlines.

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The real problem, however, is that the new dates for WWDC bump 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 could 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.


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