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24 Conferences for Mac and iOS Professionals in 2015

Historically, Macworld Expo would be receding in the rearview mirror about now, but honestly, early January was a terrible time for a conference, between winter travel and proximity to the holidays. But with Macworld Expo no more, those of us who earn our livings within Apple’s orbit will have to get our conference fixes from smaller, more intimate gatherings. Luckily, there’s no lack of independent conferences both before and after Apple’s WWDC, which usually takes place in June and has far fewer slots than developers who would like to attend.

At the moment, Tonya and I are tentatively planning to be speaking at MacTech Conference in November; we’ll let you know if we or other TidBITS/Take Control writers are asked to speak at any of these other events.

CreateWorld: February 12–13, 2015 — Coming up soon for those in or interested in travelling to Australia is CreateWorld, put on by the Apple University Consortium and hosted at Griffith University in Brisbane. A two-day conference, CreateWorld is targeted at academic and technical staff who work in the digital arts disciplines. Keynotes this year will be given by Professor Cat Hope of Edith Cowan University on “Is There No Digital Art?” and by Dr. Tim Kitchen and Richard Turner-Jones of Adobe on “Creative Candidate: What Industry Is Looking For.”

Registration costs A$545 (US$430), with student rates at A$195 (US$155) and hotel rooms priced at A$199 (US$158).

MacTech Pro: March–September 2015 — A new regional event series from the folks behind MacTech Conference, MacTech Pro is designed for professional Apple techs and consultants. Events are single-track, hotel-based seminars, and the all-day schedule includes lunch. Topics may include Deconstructing iCloud Drive, Time Machine Deep Dive, the Professional Apple Tech’s Toolbox, Using OS Resources to Diagnose Troubles, and more.

Early bird pricing is $299, with pre-registration pricing at $399, and regular pricing at $499. Educational pricing is $199. MacTech Pro events will take place in nine cities throughout the United States:

  • March 4 in Seattle, WA
  • March 25 in San Francisco, CA
  • April 15 in Boston, MA
  • May 6 in Atlanta, GA
  • June 24 in Washington, DC
  • July 22 in Chicago, IL
  • August 12 in New York, NY
  • September 2 in Dallas, TX
  • September 30 in Denver, CO

CocoaConf: March–May 2015 — Focusing on training for iOS and Mac developers, CocoaConf is a touring conference that travels around the United States. Sessions look to be more technical than many of the other conferences.

Currently scheduled dates include:

  • March 27–28 in Chicago, IL
  • April 10–11 in Washington, DC
  • May 8–9 in Portland, OR
  • May 22–23 in Austin, TX

As you might expect from a travelling conference, speakers vary by location, but include a number of stars in the development training field, including Daniel Sternberg, James Dempsey, Mark Dalrymple, and Rob Napier, among many others.

Early-bird registration for CocoaConf events costs $550, or $700 if you want to attend a pre-conference workshop held the day before (also available on its own for $300).

NSConference: March 16–18, 2015 — For Mac and iOS developers in Europe, or anyone looking for a conference further afield, the seventh NSConference will take place March 16th through 18th, in Leicester, UK. It’s located at the Athena conference center, and a variety of lodgings are available within walking distance.

Speakers include Overcast developer Marco Arment, designer and consultant Jessie Char, MarsEdit developer Daniel Jalkut, Rogue Amoeba CEO Paul Kafasis, and Laura Savino of Khan Academy, among many other notable developers and designers. In particular, Daniel Steinberg will be offering a one-day workshop about Apple’s new Swift programming language.

Conference tickets cost £549 (US$825) and include three lunches and two evening meals, with additional banquet tickets priced at £33.33 ($50). The Swift workshop is £99 ($150). Scholarships are available.

Úll: March 30–31, 2015 — Continuing the European focus, the two-day Úll conference takes place in Killarny, Ireland at The Europe hotel and resort. Conference dates are March 30th and 31st, although it’s designed so you can come a day early and stay a day late. Úll is designed for “people who build and love great products… presented through an Apple-shaped lens.” Frankly, it sounds like big fun.

The speaker list is weighted heavily toward writers and podcasters, including familiar names like Jason Snell of Six Colors; Jim Dalrymple of The Loop; analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco; Serenity Caldwell, Georgia Dow, and Rene Ritchie of iMore; Lauren Goode of Re/Code; Medium advisor Anil Dash; and John Gruber of Daring Fireball. Similarly well-known developers and designers on the ticket include James Thomson of PCalc fame, Dave Wiskus of Vesper, and Napkin developer Guy English.

Úll tickets will be available starting 27 January 2015, and will cost either €645 (about US$735; rooms are an additional €250/$285 per night) for just conference admission or €1,999/$2,275 for the Eagrán ticket for Úll “superfans,” which includes conference admission, transport from Dublin, four nights of hotel accommodation, and dinners on the day before and after. Prices do not include VAT.

NSNorth: April 10–12, 2015 — Perhaps closer to home, the Canadian NSNorth conference once again focuses on developers and designers who specialize on the Mac and iOS platforms. This year, NSNorth features rustic elegance at the Château Montebello, a five-star resort along the Ottawa River, mid-way between Ottawa and Montreal. The three-day conference kicks off with an opening reception and keynote on April 10th and winds to a close on April 12th.

Speakers include Canadian journalists Jim Dalrymple of The Loop and Georgia Dow of iMore, but more importantly, numerous developers and designers, such as Gordon Fontenot of thoughtbot, Matt Klosterman of Infofission, Ash Lindquist of Storybird, Chris Liscio of SuperMegaUltraGroovy, Vanessa Logan of Sago Mini, Christa Mrgan of Rogue Amoeba, Ashley Nelson-Hornstein of Dropbox, Mark Pavlidis of Flixel Photos, and JP Simard of Realm.

Tickets cost C$699 (about US$565) and include all food and drinks for the weekend. Companion tickets for spouses or children (6–12) who want to eat and participate in group activities cost C$299/US$240 for adults or C$149/US$120 for kids. Hotel rooms start at C$179/US$145 per night, and a two-night stay is required. A limited number of scholarships waive conference admission fees for students.

Yosemite by CocoaConf: April 20–23, 2015 — Put on by the same people who organize the touring CocoaConf events, Yosemite is billed as “the Apple conference with a view,” largely because it will be held in the heart of Yosemite Park in National Park, CA. Although a session list isn’t yet available, it’s aimed at Apple developers, designers, and enthusiasts, and will likely be less technical than a classic CocoaConf event (though that’s worth double-checking with the organizers if you’re worried). It will also include guided hikes, a photo walk with TED photographer James Duncan Davidson, and a Breakpoint Jam with
James Dempsey. The four-day conference takes place from April 20th through 23rd.

The speaker list includes 17 stalwarts of the conference circuit, such as the inimitable Andy Ihnatko, Brent Simmons of The Omni Group, Serenity Caldwell of iMore, Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, Neven Mrgan of Panic, Christa Mrgan of Rogue Amoeba, Laura Savino of Khan Academy, Jason Snell of Six Colors, Andrew Stone of Stone Design, and oodles more.

Not surprisingly, given the location and the length of the conference, registration is a bit higher than most other conferences. Admission costs $1,299 per person, with a companion ticket for group activities and meals priced at $599. Rooms at the Yosemite Lodge are about $230 per night, though you can instead opt for a heated tent for a mere $134 per night.

UIKonf: May 17–20, 2015 — Billed as “Berlin’s independent conference for serious iOS developers,” UIKonf is still lining up speakers, but currently features Facebook tester Graham Lee, independent developer Mike Lee (with experience at Delicious Monster, Tapulous, and Black Pixel), SwiftKey iOS keyboard developer Maxim Cramer, and Swift enthusiast and iOS engineer Natasha (the Robot) Murashev. The conference will end with a hackathon.

Early-bird registration costs €400 (US$455) and includes social events on the first day of the conference and drinks and lunch throughout, but not the 19 percent VAT. A limited number of free scholarships will be made available.

ACEs Conference: May 20–21, 2015 — A completely new conference organized by Apple consultants and technologists Justin Esgar and Luis Giraldo, ACEs Conference promises to be “for consultants, by consultants.” Focusing on topics of interest to Apple consultants, topics may include brand coaching, business workshops, and even meditation for dealing with high-stress situations the job entails. It’s scheduled for May 20th and 21st at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, LA.

Keynotes will come from Jeff Gamet, managing editor of The Mac Observer, and Jason Womack of GetMomentum. Other speakers include well-known names from the Apple IT and enterprise communities, like Sean Costello of BackgroundBackup and Allen Hancock of Watchman Monitoring, and founders of respected Apple consultancies, such as Brian Best of BestMacs, Will O’Neal of Mid-Atlantic Computer Solutions, Nathan Toups of Key The City Concierge, and Michael Volchok of Mike’s Tech Shop. On the business development side, talks will come from IP lawyer David Postolski, brand strategist Pia Silva of Worstofall Design, and product development expert Tony Ubertaccio of Semper Avanti.

Early bird pricing of $399 ends 31 January 2015, after which the pre-registration price is $499. On-site registration costs $699. All meals and activities are included, and rooms at the Hilton Riverside are available for $189 per night with the conference discount.

WWDC and AltConf: June 8–12, 2015 — Apple’s San Francisco-based Worldwide Developers Conference, the preeminent conference for Mac and iOS developers, will be taking place in early June, as usual. With 5,000 developers and 1,000 Apple engineers in attendance, WWDC features a full week of sessions about current and future Apple technologies. Attendance is by lottery only.

AltConf is a free, community-driven event that takes place alongside WWDC, offering additional talks and events for those who weren’t lucky enough to get into WWDC or who want to break free of the Apple Reality Distortion Field briefly.

iOSCon: June 15–17, 2015 — Returning from its inaugural 2014 year, iOSCon takes place in London, England for three days. The first two days offer a pair of tracks on iOS and Swift topics, and the third day features a hackathon. No list of speakers or sessions is available, but the organizers say:

Each track will feature talks by some of the world’s top experts, developers and makers who are helping evolve iOS and Swift technologies and practices. In addition, each track will feature a Park Bench Panel discussion and 5 lightning talks by some of the great engineering teams in our community who use iOS technologies and practices daily and will demo their apps and projects.

Early-bird tickets cost £250 (US$375) through 6 March 2015, and every month after that the prices rise by £100 to the “late-bird” maximum cost of £750 ($1,125). Prices don’t include VAT.

X World: July 2015 — For those who manage Mac and iOS installations in a support, lab manager, network technician, or systems administrator role, the Australian Apple University Consortium puts on the X World conference. No details for 2015 are yet available, but the 2014 conference was in Sydney, Australia in July, so that might be a time to block out on your calendar.

MacAdmins: July 7–10, 2015 — Hosted at Penn State in University Park, PA, the MacAdmins conference offers over 50 technical sessions on Mac and iOS deployment plus networking opportunities for over 400 Apple-focused admins. Pre-conference workshops take place on July 7th, with the conference scheduled for July 8th through 10th. Details about sessions, speakers, and conference fees are not yet set, but rooms at recommended hotels can be found for under $100 per night.

iOSDevCamp: July 10–12, 2015 — A not-for-profit event for iOS developers, iOSDevCamp is a BarCamp-style conference featuring workshop content by participants. It will take place from July 10th through 12th at eBay in San Jose, CA. Although full details aren’t yet available, the focus will be on wearables and the Apple Watch. Early registration is only $75, with regular registration priced at $100 and late registration at $125.

MacIT: July 14–16, 2015 — Aimed at those deploying iOS and OS X in the enterprise, MacIT is a production of IDG World Expo, the company behind Macworld Expo in recent years. MacIT used to be held in conjunction with Macworld Expo, but it has now struck out on its own, with conference dates from July 14th through 16th and a new venue in Santa Clara, CA.

Details about speakers, sessions, and registration will be available in April, according to the conference FAQs.

FileMaker Developer Conference: July 20–23, 2015 — This one’s pretty specific, but since the FileMaker Developer Conference is open to the public and FileMaker is an Apple subsidiary, I’m including it. It takes place from July 20th through 23rd at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV. FileMaker says:

Attendees can choose from a range of sessions on design, mobility, developing for the web, running a FileMaker business, and innovating with big data, social media, barcodes, new hardware and other technologies. They will learn skills, strategies and best practices for building custom solutions, and they can network with FileMaker developers from all over the world.

Super early bird registration costs $1,295 through 31 March 2015, normal early birds can pay $1,595 through 26 May 2015, and the regular rate after that is $2,095. There’s also a $99 training day held on the first day of the conference. Hotel rooms cost $169 per night.

360|iDev: August 16–19, 2015 — Although it’s targeted at iOS developers, 360|iDev organizers John and Nicole Walker focus more on providing a place for the iOS community to come together. Details are still light for the 2015 event, though it’s scheduled for August 16th through 19th in Denver, CO. Conference registration will be $799 and will include hands-on pre-conference training on Sunday, lunch every day, and receptions on Monday and Tuesday. 360|iDev will be held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, where conference-discounted rooms cost $169 per night.

MacSysAdmin: September 2015 — The premier event for Mac and iOS system administrators in Europe, MacSysAdmin generally takes place in September in Göteborg, Sweden. Talks are aimed at system administrators in enterprises, schools, and institutions, along with technical consultants, consulting firms, and distributors. Details for the 2015 event aren’t yet available, but past speakers include “Take Control of OS X Server” author Charles Edge, Arek Dreyer, Andrina Kelly, Ed Marczak, Greg Neagle, and other well-known names in the Apple sysadmin world.

/dev/world: September 2015 — For those in Australasia who are interested in learning more about developing for Apple computers and devices, the Apple University Consortium offers /dev/world. The conference sessions cover a wide range of topics including the iOS SDK, OS X frameworks, Apple and third-party development tools, and open source software. Details for 2015 aren’t yet available, but the 2014 conference was in September in Melbourne, Australia.

iOSDevUK: September 7–10, 2015 — Focused on iOS development topics, the fifth installment of iOSDevUK will take place from September 7th through 10th in Aberystwyth, Wales. No other details are forthcoming, although the organizers say that tickets will go on sale in early April.

CocoaLove: October 2015 — Although details aren’t yet available, the CocoaLove conference for iOS and Mac developers is aiming for dates in October 2015 in Philadelphia, PA. If you’re looking for a conference late in 2015 (alas, Çingleton is no more!), sign up to be notified when CocoaLove’s organizers fix the dates and location for their 2015 event.

Release Notes: October 21–23, 2015 — While most conferences aimed at Mac and iOS developers have some sessions that cover business issues, the Release Notes conference aims squarely at that topic, building in plenty of time for essential networking. Scheduled for October 21st through 23rd in Indianapolis, IN, Release Notes will be held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, built inside the train shed of the old Union Station. The conference sessions will be in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom, located in the head house of Union Station, complete with the massive arches and huge rose windows of the building’s original Romanesque
architecture. Details about speakers, sessions, and registration prices aren’t yet available, but you can sign up to be alerted when they’re decided upon.

NSScotland: October 23–25, 2015 — For Mac and iOS developers in Scotland, or those looking for an excuse to head to Edinburgh in October, check out NSScotland. It’s a great opportunity to hear developers like James Thomson (PCalc), Marius Rackwitz (CocoaPods), and Amy Worrall (Facebook London) speak.

Early registration tickets cost £240 (which includes the 20 percent VAT; that’s about US$365), and regular tickets are £300 ($455). Those who wish to sponsor can pay any amount over £480, and students and the unemployed can pay any amount over £120.

MacTech Conference: November 4–6, 2015 — Whereas the MacTech Pro events fit into a single day and travel around the country, the Los Angeles-based MacTech Conference offers attendees three days of sessions, seminars, and vendor interaction, plus a pair of superlative evening activities. We’ve been several times (see “MacTech Conference 2012 Opens Mental Doors,” 22 October 2012, and “MacTech Conference 2013 Abounds with Networking and Fun,” 11 November 2013) and recommend it to Apple developers and IT professionals
alike. It’s too early for there to be a list of speakers or sessions, but now’s a good time to pencil MacTech Conference onto your calendar for November 4th through 6th.

Others? — If I’ve missed any notable Apple-focused conferences that are open to the public and attract attendees from a broad geographic area, please let me know in the comments and I’ll look into adding them.

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