With Macworld/iWorld seemingly stuck in mothballs for good (see “Macworld Expo Mothballed after 30 Years,” 14 October 2014), Apple professionals will have to go elsewhere to gather with their peers. Luckily, there’s no lack of independent conferences both before and after Apple’s own Worldwide Developer Conference, which usually takes place in June and has far fewer slots than developers who would like to attend.
The only one of these conferences we’re planning to attend at the moment is MacTech Conference in November, but if regular TidBITS contributors are asked to speak at any others, we’ll be sure to mention that in a future article.
dotSwift: January 29, 2016 -- Billed as “the European Swift Conference,” dotSwift is coming in just a few weeks in Paris, France at the Théâtre des Variétés. The conference features short 20-minute technical talks by well-known names in the Swift community such as Rob Napier, Ayaka Nonaka, Graham Lee, Chris Eidoff, Daniel Haight, and Thomas Visser, and the master of ceremonies will be author Daniel Sternberg. Tickets for the one-day conference, which runs from 1:00 PM to 6:30 PM, cost €169 (US$180).
Mac Admin & Developer Conference UK: February 9–10, 2016 -- Marketed as “the first conference for Mac admins and developers” in the UK, Mac Admin & Developer Conference UK will be held February 9th and 10th in London, England. Tickets are £497 (about US$729), not including VAT, and the two-day conference will feature sessions on Wi-Fi tools, Firefox administration, the Apple management toolchain, Munki, FileVault 2, and more.
MacTech Pro: March–August 2016 -- A 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 and non-profit pricing is $199. MacTech Pro events will take place in seven cities throughout the United States:
- March 16 in San Francisco, CA
- April 6 in Seattle, WA
- April 27 in Washington, DC
- May 11 in Atlanta, GA
- June 8 in Denver, CO
- July 13 in New York, NY
- August 10 in Chicago, IL
try! Swift: March 2–4 2016 -- Taking place at the Shibuya Mark City in Tokyo, Japan March 2nd through the 4th, try! Swift is described as “an immersive community gathering about iOS, watchOS, and tvOS development in Swift.” try! Swift will feature sessions with expert Apple developers from around the world. Early bird ticket pricing is $300 and ends 31 January 2016.
CocoaConf: March–November 2016 -- 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 25–26 in Chicago, IL
- April 15–16 in Austin, TX
- May 6–7 in Seattle, WA
- September 9–10 in Washington, DC
- November 4–5 in San Jose, CA
As you might expect from a travelling conference, speakers vary by location, but include a number of stars in the development training field, including Michael Johnson of Pixar, Jean MacDonald of App Camp for Girls, Neven Mrgan of Panic, Nat Osten of Smile, Daniel Pasco of Black Pixel, and Rich Siegel of Bare Bones Software, 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 $350). Early-bird pricing for the conference and combo package ends on 6 February 2016, while the early-bird pricing for just the pre-conference workshop ends on 24 March 2016.
Yosemite by CocoaConf: March 14–17, 2016 -- 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. It’s aimed at Apple developers, designers, and enthusiasts, and will be less technical than a classic CocoaConf event. It will also include guided hikes, a photo walk with TED photographer James Duncan Davidson, a Breakpoint Jam with James Dempsey, and song summaries from Jonathan “Song a Day” Mann. The four-day conference takes place from March 14th through 17th.
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 costs are higher than most other conferences. Admission costs $1,299 per person, with a companion ticket for group activities and meals priced at $499. Rooms at the Yosemite Lodge are about $159 per night.
Mdevcon: March 17–18 2016 -- Held in Amsterdam, Netherlands on March 17th and 18th for mobile app developers, Mdevcon will offer sessions for both iOS and Android developers. The schedule hasn’t yet been finalized, though you can buy tickets now. Prices are €165 (US$175) for conference-only tickets (sessions on the 18th) or €385 (US$415) to add the tutorial day on the 17th. For a limited time, there are a number of Friends of Mdevcon tickets available for €345 (US$370). Sessions will be held in the historic Tuschinski Theater, considered to be one of the most beautiful cinemas in the world.
App Builders Switzerland: April 25–26, 2016 -- Another conference for mobile app developers, App Builders Switzerland will take place in Zürich, Switzerland on April 25th and 26th. It offers two tracks: one for iOS developers and another for Android developers. Tickets cost 350 CHF (about US$350) and include lunch and snacks, as well as “super shining goodies.”
NSNorth: April 28–30, 2016 -- The Canadian NSNorth conference once again focuses on developers and designers who specialize on the Mac and iOS platforms. This year, NSNorth moves to stylishly modern trappings at the St. James Cathedral Centre in downtown Toronto. The three-day conference kicks off with an opening reception and keynote on April 28th and winds to a close on April 30th.
Speakers include Nick Arnott of iMore and POSSIBLE Mobile, Janie Clayton of Black Pixel, Rob Segal of Get Set Games, and Pamela Pavliscak of Change Sciences.
Early-bird tickets cost C$799 (about US$575) and include all food and drinks for the weekend. Companion tickets for spouses or children who want to eat and participate in group activities cost C$129/US$95. There will also be free diversity support tickets available for underrepresented groups including women, people of color, LGBT individuals, students, and more. Group rates are available, with a 5 percent discount for groups of five or more, and a 10 percent discount for groups of 10 or more.
ACEs Conference: May 4–5, 2016 --Organized by Apple consultants and technologists Justin Esgar and Luis Giraldo, ACEs Conference is in its second year and promises to be “the place to be to learn about the business side of IT consulting.” 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 4th and 5th at the Hilton Austin in Austin, TX.
This year’s keynote will be delivered by angel investor and NASA adviser Peter Shankman. Other speakers include well-known names from the Apple IT and enterprise communities, like Sean Costello of BackgroundBackup and “Take Control of OS X Server” author Charles Edge, and founders of respected Apple consultancies, such as Brian Best of BestMacs and Marie-Claire Hermans of Ravishingraw.com. On the business development side, talks will come from IP lawyer David Postolski, Rocksauce Studios Marketing Director Michael Manning, and Wheelwrights Managing Partner Shelley Watson.
Early bird pricing of $499 ends 31 March 2016, after which the registration price is $549. The price includes breakfast and lunch both days, and dinner the night of the 4th. Staff at the Hilton Austin are saying that they’re out of rooms, but more may open up later.
UIKonf: May 22–25, 2016 -- Billed as “Berlin’s independent conference for serious iOS developers,” UIKonf is still lining up speakers, but currently features UX coach Jaimee Newberry and consultant Daniel Steinberg. UIKonf will also announce an open call for speaking proposals if you’d like to speak at the conference.
Registration costs €450 (US$489) and includes social events on the first day of the conference, but the organizers are seeking donations for the social events.
WWDC and AltConf: June 2016 -- Apple hasn’t announced dates for the San Francisco-based Worldwide Developers Conference this year, but the preeminent conference for Mac and iOS developers usually takes place in early June. With 5,000 developers and 1,000 Apple engineers in attendance, WWDC features a full week of sessions about current and future Apple technologies. Last year, Apple announced dates in early April and offered $1,599 tickets by lottery to work around registration snafus and give everyone an equal chance to attend (the last WWDC prior to the lottery system sold out within 90 seconds).
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 a break from the Apple Reality Distortion Field. Details will undoubtedly appear once WWDC’s dates are set.
MacDeployment: June 16–17 2016 -- A one-day conference on June 16th at the University of Calgary Canada, MacDeployment is dedicated to the best practices in Mac deployment and maintenance. There’s also a workshop day on June 17th. Registration will begin in April.
MacDevOpsYVR: June 20–21 2016 -- MacDevOpsYVR will take place June 20th and 21st in Vancouver, Canada (on the campus of Simon Fraser University), and will focus on all things related to Mac development and administration. Not many details are currently available, but the speaker list now includes the automation and workflow experts André Aulich of Moosystems and Gretchen Kuwahara of Ansible.
iOSCon: June 23–24, 2016 -- Returning for its third year, iOSCon takes place in London, England for two days. The program isn’t available yet, but organizers say:
iOSCon celebrates the latest developments and the sharpest minds in iOS. This year, we’ll examine Apple Watch, Apple TV, and HomeKit as well as open source and reactive innovations such as ResearchKit over 2 days of talks and unconference sessions.
Early-bird tickets cost £335 (US$491) through 6 February 2016. Prices don’t include VAT.
MacAdmins: June 27–30, 2016 -- Hosted at Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA, the MacAdmins conference offers over 50 technical sessions on Mac and iOS deployment plus networking opportunities for over 400 Apple-focused admins. Details about sessions, speakers, and conference fees are not yet set, but rooms at recommended hotels can be found for around $100 per night. The registration will include workshops, breakout sessions, networking events, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the event.
X World: July 2016 -- 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 2016 are yet available, but the 2015 conference was in Sydney, Australia in July, so that might be a time to block out on your calendar. Last year’s special guest speaker was the peripatetic Charles Edge, author of “Take Control of OS X Server.”
Macstock Conference & Expo: July 16–17, 2016 -- Returning for its second year, Macstock 2016 will be held July 16th and 17th at the Luecht Conference Center in Crystal Lake, IL. The $149 registration fee includes admission to all speaker and roundtable sessions, lunch, dinner, breakfast, a T-shirt, and more. Speakers will include Chuck Joiner of MacVoices, Don McAllister of Screencastsonline, and Allison Sheridan of Nosillacast. Macstock appears to be aimed at involved Mac users who aren’t necessarily developers or sysadmins.
FileMaker Developer Conference: July 18–21, 2016 -- This one’s pretty specific, but since the FileMaker Developer Conference is open to the public and FileMaker is an Apple subsidiary, we’re including it. It takes place from July 18th through 21st at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV. Stay tuned for more information.
iOSDevCamp: July 22–24, 2016 -- 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 22th through 24th in San Jose, CA. Although full details aren’t yet available, the focus will be on wearables and the Apple Watch. Registration isn’t yet open, but last year, tickets cost between $75 and $125.
/dev/world: August 2016 -- 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 2016 aren’t yet available, but the 2015 conference was in late August in Melbourne, Australia.
360|iDev: August 21–24, 2016 -- 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. It’s scheduled for August 21st through 24th at the Grand Hyatt Denver in Denver, CO. Early bird registration will be $599 through 5 February 2016 (there’s also a discount for active and retired members of the military), and you can also opt to add an extra $199, $399, or $799 to fund diversity scholarships for underrepresented groups. The fee includes hands-on pre-conference training, lunch every day, and receptions on the first two days. 360|iDev will be held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, where conference-discounted rooms start at $180 per night.
MacSysAdmin: September 2016 -- 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 2016 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.
iOSDevUK: September 5–8, 2016 -- Focused on iOS development topics, the sixth installment of iOSDevUK will take place from September 5th through 8th in Aberystwyth, Wales. No other details are forthcoming, although the organizers say that tickets will go on sale in early April.
NSSpain: September 14–16, 2016 -- Although few details for 2016 are yet available, in 2015, NSSpain offered four days of technical sessions for Apple developers in Logroño, Spain. The 2016 event will be held from September 14th to the 16th.
Indie DevStock: September 16–17, 2016 -- A new conference for developers at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, Indie DevStock is organized by women and will take place September 16th and 17th. Speakers will include Black Pixel’s Janie Clayton, developer and iMore contributor Tammy Coron, developer Greg Heo, and Vokal Director of iOS Engineering Ellen Shapiro. Sign up for their mailing list to be notified when tickets go on sale.
Release Notes: September 27–29, 2016 -- 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 September 27th through 29th 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. Past speakers include Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, Georgia Dow of iMore, Myke Hurley of Relay FM, Jean MacDonald of App Camp for Girls, and Daniel Pasco of Black Pixel.
iBooks Author Conference: October 5–8, 2016 -- A gathering of the iBooks Author user community in Nashville, Tennessee, the iBooks Author Conference focuses on educators, entrepreneurs, trainers, and of course, authors. The main conference will be on October 6th and 7th, kicking off with a keynote by iMore’s Serenity Caldwell, with optional complementary training on the 5th, 7th, and 8th. Early bird admission is $469 through 31 March 2016.
CocoaLove: October 14–16 2016 -- Although many details aren’t yet available, the CocoaLove conference for iOS and Mac developers will be held October 14th through 16th in Philadelphia, PA. If you’re looking for a conference late in 2016, sign up for CocoaLove’s mailing list to be the first to hear about the itinerary.
Úll: November 1–2, 2016 -- The two-day Úll conference takes place in Killarny, Ireland at The Europe hotel and resort. Úll is designed for “people who build and love great products… presented through an Apple-shaped lens.” Frankly, it sounds like big fun.
The speakers this year are refreshingly new faces; we encourage you to read their bios. Tickets aren’t yet on sale, but they will cost €799 (US$900), with a pair of before and after parties ticketed separately, and hotel rooms cost €250 (US$285) per night.
MacTech Conference: November 16–18, 2016 -- While 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 a number of times (see “MacTech Conference 2012 Opens Mental Doors,” 22 October 2012, “MacTech Conference 2013 Abounds with Networking and Fun,” 11 November 2013, and “Three Highlights from MacTech Conference 2015,” 9 November 2015) 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 16th through 18th, with pre-conference workshops on the 15th.
Others? -- If we’ve missed any notable Apple-focused conferences that are open to the public and attract attendees from a broad geographic area, please let us know in the comments and we’ll look into adding them.