Top 10 iOS Conferences in 2017

Cesare Rocchi

conferences-2017-featureAttending an iOS conference is a great way to learn new things and make new friends.

Also – as Ray said in one of his recent talks – good conferences give you a spark of motivation that burns even brighter even after you return home. Did you ever notice that upbeat attitude the days right after a conference?

There’s plenty of great iOS conferences out there, so choosing which one to attend can be difficult. This post will help you find the best matches for you in 2017.

Picking the top 10 is a hard task. This is why I reached out to the raywenderlich.com team and the entire iOS community to ask for their feedback in developing this list.

I’d love to hear from you too – please add a comment below if you think there’s an interesting conference missing in this list.

The Top 10 iOS Conferences

Let’s dive into the list!

Note: The conferences are listed in no particular order.

1) WWDC

wwdc

WWDC is Apple’s official conference. Tickets are usually sold using a lottery system, so getting one – even if you can afford it – is a matter of luck.

The content is top notch, and if you want to keep up with new APIs and frameworks watching the key sessions is a must.

However, in recent years Apple started releasing videos publicly a few hours after the presentations. So why should you attend if you can watch the same content on your comfy couch?

In my opinion, despite the availability of the videos, there’s still two good reasons to attend WWDC:

  • The labs: In the WWDC labs, you get a chance to talk to Apple engineers and ask them questions. The line can be long sometimes, but if you have a specific question about the use of an APIs or a framework you have a chance to talk to its authors. I suggest you ask questions as specific as possible, and prepare a sample project to help the discussion.
  • Meeting people: You won’t find such a high concentration of iOS developers anywhere else! This is a great way to meet people face to face and have a chat that is not limited to 140 characters.
Note: If the above two items are not critical to you, you can save time and money by watching the videos and attending some of the other conferences on this list instead.

“It was amazing, met so many great people , got more from speaking to people after the sessions than I did from the main contents . Everyone is in the same boat as all the content is new. Totally set me up for the next year of development.”Russ Freeman

“WWDC is a deeply rewarding experience. Not only do you get to chat with the engineers who make your favorite (or least favorite) frameworks, but you get awesome lunch time talks. The year I went I saw talks from JJ Abrahams and Levar Burton. These are incredibly rewarding experiences. This is the toughest conference to get into and once you’ve been, you see why.”Ish

2) AltConf

AltConf logoIn case you didn’t manage to buy a ticket for WWDC, you don’t necessarily have to stay at home!

During WWDC week, San Francisco is full of events related to the Apple ecosystem. Check out WWDCParties to have an idea.

The main event is AltConf, organized by the community for the community. While most of the presentations are focused on Apple’s ecosystem the topics are very diverse and include design, business, marketing and team management. Here’s the list of videos from the last edition.

“Free stuff can be hit or miss. When something is expensive, you kind of figure, it must be good, or else they couldn’t get away with charging so darn much for it. But when it comes to conferences, AltConf is the standout exception.”Scott Gardner

“AltConf demonstrates the best of our community. Good people volunteer their time and skills to provide an inclusive, accessible event to everyone who wishes to take part in the frenzy that is WWDC week, but can’t get or afford a ticket to Apple’s event. One can only hope that Apple appreciates how much more enthusiasm and goodwill spreads throughout San Francisco every June because of AltConf’s continued presence.”Joe Cieplinski

3) 360iDev

360iDevWhile WWDC has the highest concentration of iOS developers, 360 has the highest concentration of indie developers. 360iDev has been around for seven years and it’s very well organized.

To get an idea of the topics, here’s the videos from the previous edition.

“360iDev is my favorite large Apple conference. The community is fantastic. They are extremely welcoming and friendly. Every year I meet great new friends and see friends from previous years. I’ve learned so much from 360iDev. It has had a profound impact on my career.”Ryan Poolos

“360iDev is probably my favorite iOS conference and the one I’ve reliably attended the past years. The organizers do a great job cultivating a great set of talks with a mix of well-known community leaders and those you may not have ever heard of. Everyone is super-approachable and the entire event is a lot of fun.”Aaron Douglas

4) RWDevCon

RWDevCon-featureFor transparency: RWDevCon is a conference organized by our team. Expect some bias :]

RWDevCon is different form other conferences on this list, in that the focus is on hands-on tutorials. The idea is rather than just watching someone speak, you code along with them.

The speakers put a huge effort in preparing the presentations, which are edited and rehearsed multiple times to get a superb quality. To give you an idea, the next conference is this March and the speakers started preparing the presentations in November.

Developers seem to like the tutorial format of the conference, given than last two editions were sold out!

“We wanted to see what a live version of our favorite tutorials would be like. The conference led to several positive transformations in our lives, and we’ve never met so many interesting people at one event before.”The Catterwauls

“RWDevCon was my first iOS Conference, and if I had to define it in one word I’d choose “Inspirational”. It’s so cool to travel 1,883 miles (Mexico City – Washington D.C.) to meet new and old friends, with excellent tutorial sessions, a great party and my favorites: the Inspirational Talks.”Rich Zertuche

5) try! Swift

trySwift logotry! Swift is a fairly new series of conferences, started by Natasha the Robot just last year.

The first edition was in Japan, a country with a big community but with very few international events. Thanks to the help of the community, the first event was so successful that next year there will be three conferences: in Tokyo, New York and Bangalore.

“try! Swift NYC was the best tech conference that I’ve been to… including WWDC. I loved the ability to connect with the speakers, and attendees. The topics were extremely relevant to my everyday work. Both the speakers and attendees were incredibly diverse which was awesome and really enriched the experience.”Ish

“try! Swift captures all the enthusiasm for programming that Natasha obviously has, and packs it into a fun-filled conference, featuring diverse speakers from all around the world. Attendees come away not only with a ton of practical information, but also with new perspectives on the emotional and community aspects of working in our field.”Daniel Jalkut

6) Release Notes

Release Notes logo

Release Notes is focused on the Apple ecosystem but with an interesting twist – it’s more focused on the business of making apps.

The conference features presentations by designers and developers that have a great business sense and are happy to share their experiences in building great products.

“Release Notes in Indie was a blast! I loved every minute of it. The selection of speakers was well thought out and the the lined up talks were excellent and inspiring. I really liked the idea of splitting up into small groups and dining at various restaurants around Indianapolis. That was beneficial for introverts who had nothing to do but network. The conference gave ideas, knowledge and inspiration for doing iOS and macOS app business.”Julia Petryk

“The conference content is focused on the business aspects of app development and has a diverse group of speakers. The quality of the speakers is excellent. The conference is unique in providing time to make connections. I highly recommend Release Notes for both the quality of the content and the quality of conversations between talks and at the social events.”Chris Morrissey

7) Indie DevStock

Indie DevStockIndie DevStock is a new entry. The first edition was held in September and organized by one of our team members: Tammy Coron.

The spirit of the conference is to share, learn and have fun with the people of the indie community.

“I attended Indie DevStock organized by Tammy and Angela in Nashville, TN. Even though this was the first IndieDevStock conference Tammy and Angela have proved that they are veterans in organizing an amazing event. Apart from the unbelievably amazing venue, the speakers were very knowledgeable and passionate about development. The conference had a right balance of inspirational and technical talks. I had an amazing time meeting new people and presenting at IndieDevStock and I am already looking forward for IndieDevStock 2017.”Mohammad Azam

“Indie DevStock was my favorite iOS conference that I have been to this year. These presentations were not just about software development. They were about sharing ideas and experiences that are actionable and inspiring for attendees like me. The conference organizers also did a wonderful job in offering plenty of opportunities to meet and talk to new people at a great venue.”Larry Trutter

8) App Builders

App Builders logoApp Builders is another new entry in this list. It’s a conference held in Switzerland with a focus on mobile technologies in general.

The conference also features an interesting session named Stories, where speakers interact with the audience.

“Top-notch Speakers held amazing talks. App Builders was held in a modern Venue and Zurich itself was great to hang out afterwards. Next year it will move to Lausanne, and I am already looking forward to it!”Stefan Völker

“The first edition of AppBuilders was a blast. Departing from traditional conferences focusing on a single platform, it brought a mix of high quality speakers from both iOS and Android sides of the mobile space. Some of the speakers were uniquely entertaining, and the venue offered ample space to mingle with peers. First announced speakers for the 2017 edition are already shaping it as another major conference in the mobile space.”Florent Pillet

9) Pragma Conference

Pragma logoThe Pragma Conference takes place in Italy and gathers developers from all over the world. Topics are well balanced between design and development, while pre-conference workshops offer the chance to learn hands-on new techniques.

“I’ve really enjoyed Pragma Conference, it was already well done in 2014 but the 2016 edition was amazing, very well organized with a great lineup of speakers. Visiting Italy is always a pleasure, especially with all the great food and wine available.”Krzysztof Zabłocki

“I attended Pragma conference. I love the community around this event, the good organisation and how the organisers create a “relationship” between each talks and how they chosen innovative and interesting topics.”Alessio Roberto

10) CocoaConf

CocoaConf logoCocoaConf is a conference on wheels. They run multiple events in different cities of the USA, so it’s easier for people to attend. Check out which is the closest to you.

“I love going to CocoaConf because it has that small community feel. The conference is well-run, the sessions are high quality, and I always enjoy the conversations with fellow developers.”Ben Scheirman

“Cocoaconf is a small conference dedicated to cocoa development. It happens a few times a year at different cities in the US. The presentations range from intro (including full day tutorials on Swift and iOS) to advanced (covering category theory and machine learning) and each city has a different mix of sessions and attendees. Cocoaconf is a humble conference with great people and is very reasonably priced. It’s two (or three if you go to the tutorials) jam-packed days of Xcode and learning.”Josh Smith

  • When: Many dates, see website
  • Where: Many places, see website
  • Number of Attendees: Depends on the location, usually around 100
  • Number of Tracks: 3
  • Team members planning to attend: Aaron Douglas, Jeff Rames
  • Website: http://cocoaconf.com

Honorable Mentions

Picking 10 conferences to highlight was hard. Here are a few honorable mentions:

  • iOSDevUK: Held in Wales, probably the biggest iOS conference in UK – at a unique university setting.
  • Swift Summit: Specifically focused on the Swift language. The presentations are numerous and quick. Definitely suggested if you want to keep up with the evolution of the language.
  • UIKonf: A single track conference held in Berlin, where the community can vote and provide suggestions about the presentations.
  • Swift Alps: A new conference with an interesting format; a mix of workshop and hackathon.

Which Should I Pick?!

If you’re unsure which to choose, here’s my advice – in a handy flowchart!

conference_diagram_2017

It’s very hard to be neutral about a conference. That’s why we have asked our awesome community to provide quotes and feedback about the conference attended this year. Thank you all!

Did you attend a conference in 2016? Please add a comment below and let us know your experience. It will help others to find the best event.

The team and I hope to see you at some iOS conferences in 2017!

Cesare Rocchi

Cesare Rocchi runs Studio Magnolia, an interactive studio that creates compelling web and mobile applications. He blogs at upbeat.it. He's building Podrover and Affiliator. You can find him on Twitter.

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