Top 10 iOS Conferences in 2013

Ray Wenderlich
Learn about the best iOS conferences in 2013!

Learn about the best iOS conferences in 2013!

This is a blog post by site administrator Ray Wenderlich, an independent software developer and gamer.

Now that 2013 has arrived, it’s that time again – time to choose which iOS conferences to attend this year!

Once again, it’s a great time to be an iOS developer. There are a ton of great conferences from all around the world – actually too many to attend them all!

So I wanted to make a list of the top 10 conferences of the year (IMHO), and also point out which ones the raywenderlich.com team will be attending or speaking at – we’d love to meet you!

Get ready for the list of conferences – plus a handy flowchart to help you choose which to attend!

The Conferences

Without further ado, here’s the list! Note they are not in any particular order.1) WWDC

WWDCWWDC is Apple’s development conference, and the most important of them all! Here are some of the great things about the conference:

  • Announcements! The conference usually includes some exciting announcements, such as new hardware or new versions of iOS.
  • Talks! The conference includes some must-watch talks on iOS development, in Apple’s high quality style.
  • Engineer Time! One of the most unique things about the conference is you have an opportunity to meet with Apple engineers to ask questions, get advice, etc. Come with questions ready!
  • Socializing! This is the biggest iOS conference of them all – with over 4,000 attendees! There is tons of socializing, parties, etc – so is a great way to meet up with fellow developers you might know from online.

That said – it can be quite difficult to get a ticket! Last year tickets sold out in under two hours, and this year it will be even quicker.

If you don’t manage to get a ticket, don’t worry – there are two great options:

  • Go to San Fransisco anyway for “showcializing”. Since tickets sell out so quickly, it’s becoming quite popular for developers to go to San Fransisco anyway so they can still enjoy the social benefits. You can meet your friends who are attending WWDC (and press), go to the parties, and there are usually great places to hang out (like last year’s Amsterdam WWDC HQ).
  • Watch the videos and attend a different conference.. IMHO, you can get a similar experience (for less money) by watching the videos and attending another conference for the socializing aspect. See this post about my thoughts from WWDC 2012.

Best of luck with everyone who is aiming to get tickets this year! :]

 

2) 360iDev

360idev conference

Vicki and I have made it no secret that 360iDev is our favorite iOS conference – primarily because of the amazing group of developers that attends. We’ve made some great friends at 360iDev and enjoy meeting up with you each year!

Here are some more thoughts on WWDC from our friends:

“360iDev is a great a place to meet people, learn new things, discuss old ones and generally have an all-round balanced conference experience. Organisers, speakers and attendees contribute to a friendly atmosphere… a great place to start if you’ve not been to a conference before.”Gareth Jenkins

“360idev is the conference that kickstarted by career in iOS Development. An indie focused event, there are many attendees who have been in the trenches for quite a while and offer sound advice. 360idev always has something for everyone, and is also quite community focused. I love how John Wilker, the organizer, tries to pick fresh faces from the pool of submissions so that others can have the same kickstart to being in the community as I have.”Saul Mora

3) iOS Euro Conference

Update 4/15/13: Due to lack of communication from the conference organizer over several months, the tutorial team and I will no longer be speaking at this conference (if it’s even still going on). My recommendation is to avoid this conference at this point.

Update 2/21/13: I have not heard from the conference organizer about this conference in over a month now – I am not sure if this is still going on. As such, I do not currently recommend signing up for this conference until I hear confirmation that this is still happening!

iOS Euro Conference

This is a brand new conference in lovely Verona Italy! The cool thing about this conference is most of the material will be presented by the Tutorial Team!

We’ve arranged an amazing schedule for you guys – it’s every developer’s dream :] With talks from Core Animation to OpenGL to Core Audio and more – we’ve got some amazing material for you!

And the best part is the conference has two tracks – one oriented towards hands-on workshops and one in a more standard style, so you can pick what’s best for your learning style. We hope to see you there!

 

4) Game Developer’s Conference (GDC)

GDC Conference

Although GDC isn’t iOS specific, if you are an iOS game developer this is the conference for you – especially if you are an indie!

Here are some more thoughts on WWDC from our friends:

“It’s expensive to go, not necessarily convenient for all and can be intimidating to those just starting out… but it’s absolutely worth every penny to game developers of all types. Content quality is second to none, networking and social opportunities are excellent and you will absolutely come away enthused, excited and full of new stuff.”Gareth Jenkins

“I fully agree with Gareth’s summary – GDC more and more turns into the must-attend conference for me and the others I communicate with.”Markus Nigrin

 

5) NSConference

NSConference

NSConference is one of the most popular (and long-running) conferences in Europe – started in 2009 (known as MacDev at that time). Check out what our friends have to say about it:

“NSConference is the gold standard in Cocoa, Mac and iOS developer Conferences. With participation from a truly world wide audience, if you are unable to make it to WWDC, NSConference is definitely the next best conference to attend.

Scotty, Dave and Claire do an amazing job organizing a flawless event. The presenters are top notch with great topics. While the presenters are always outstanding, many of the attendees are also rockstars. Nearly every time I turned around over there I was meeting developers whom I admire and respect.

It’s great to have the opportunity to meet these developers, to learn from and to be inspired by. And that’s the thing, every time I leave NSConference, I feel a new energy of inspiration, which to me, is what makes this conference a must attend every year.”Saul Mora

 

6) CocoaConf

CocoaConf

The great thing about CocoaConf is that it happens more frequently than any other conference, and travels all around the US! This makes it a super convenient way to attend without having to spend a lot of money on flights and hotel reservations. Here’s what our friends have to say about CocoaConf:

“Cocoaconf is a newcomer to the conference scene with a different model. Rather than you traveling across the country to attend an event, the conference comes to you, or at least pretty close. This keeps Cocoaconf small, but small can be a good thing in that faces become familiar much more quickly when you attend an event.

The speaker pool is filled with knowledge and experience and are eager to see you and your apps succeed. Cocoaconf is a highly technical event, which is difference from most other Cocoa focused events.”Saul Mora

“Cocoaconf is my favorite iOS conference. Cocoaconf’s size offers a unique opportunity to get to know attendees and speakers in a very low pressure environment. Sessions are always wide ranging while the small class size leaves plenty of room for questions and impromptu discussions. I think Cocoaconf makes an excellent first or hundredth conference for any iOS developer.”Ryan Poolos

 

7) Mdevcon

Mdevcon

The cool thing about MDevCon is it’s about more than just iOS – it also covers Android, Windows phone, and other platforms. Here’s what our friends have to say about MDevCon:

“Last year’s MDevCon was a great opening act for a multi-mobile platform developer conference. Amazingly, having Windows Phone, Andriod, iOS and even a lone Blackberry developer in the room together did not end in a brawl. It was great to see things other platforms struggle with, or succeed in. Some ideas transcend platforms. MDevcon does a great job of bringing these technologies together in a friendly environment.

Speaking of environment, it’s almost worth attending MDevcon to spend a day (or two this coming MDevcon) in the Tuschinski. This 1920’s art deco theater amazing inside and out, and right in the middle of Amsterdam.”Saul Mora

“Mdevcon was great. The line up of speakers was good, including Matt Gemmell, Nathan de Vries (now working at Apple), and Jeff LaMarche. The trick of mdevcon is to be close to NSConference, so people flying from US will probably stop by.
I really liked the conference and the way it was organized.”
Cesare Rocchi

 

8) iOSDevUK

iOSDevUK Conference

iOSDevUK is a smaller conference but has a unique vibe to it. Check out what our friends have to say about iOSDevUK:

Update 2-25-13: Conference organizer Chris Price pointed out that the main difference between NSConference and iOSDevUK is not size (attendance is about the same), but area of interest. NSConference often has a good bit of Mac stuff, but iOSDevUK is purely iOS based.

“iOSDevUK, held on the not-always-so-sunny Welsh coast is coming up fast behind 360iDev as good all-rounder. Session quality can be more variable and the setting isn’t particularly glamorous (it’s held in Aberystwyth University buildings, with accommodation in the student halls) but it’s cheap, improving year on year and, much like 360iDev, really makes everyone feel a part of the thing.”Gareth Jenkins

“To get away from it all, and still attend a conference with quality information, attendees and presenters, iOSDevUK is a terrific event. Aberystwyth is miles away from London, and any other sign of civilization, but the university is surrounded by a neat sea-side village on the west coast of England. While the sun doesn’t shine very much, the content and atmosphere of iOSdevUK is rather pleasant.

As an American, I was one of the few who braved the travel from so far to attend and speck at iOSDevUK, but I had such a good time that I would gladly attend again if my schedule allows it. The accommodations at the university are small dorms, so you can relive your college experience all over again. The pubs in Aberystwyth are also quite interesting, and English, which makes for some good times for an after conference drink!”Saul Mora

 

9) Unite 2013 (conference site)

Unite Conference

Unite is the Unity game framework‘s annual conference. Again, this conference is not iOS specific, but if you are a Unity developer on iOS this conference is second to none! Here’s what our friends have to say about Unite:

“Unite is a fantastic conference if you’re a Unity fan. There are presentations targeted at every level of user, so whether you’re just getting started with Unity or you’ve been using it for a while, you’ll have plenty to watch and do. One of my favourite things about Unite is that it’s held in a different country every year, so each one is a truly unique experience.”Matt Rix

 

10) Swipe Conference

Swipe conference

If you’re from (or near) Australia, Swipe Conference may be the iOS conference for you! Check out what our friends have to say about Swipe:

“If you’re from Australia, Swipe Conference shows that you don’t have to get on a plane for 16 hours to experience top quality iOS talks. If you are coming from overseas, it’s also well worth the trip! The conference has a great mix of international speakers as well as local talent on a wide variety of topics.

Also, a feature less common at other iOS conferences is the fact that designers are taken care of as well as developers with many talks throughout the two days focused solely on design rather than development.”Ben Trengrove

“Swipeconf was great as well. It was nice to see there was more balance between design and development topics, and I really appreciated that. The only issue was probably that the 95% of the people were from Australia, but I am sure that is due to the location, because it is far from both US and EU. On a side note I should mention the organisers are not conference organisers by profession but developers like us, running cocoahead throughout the year and organizing this conference once a year.”Cesare Rocchi

Which Should I Choose?!

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

Best iPhone and iOS Conferences in 2013

Best iPhone and iOS Conferences in 2013

Please note this is only my personal opinion based on those that I have attended and what I have heard from others, so don’t flame me too bad if you disagree ;]

And that’s it! Huge thanks to our friends who gave their input about these conferences and made this article possible: Gareth Jenkins, Saul Mora, Markus Nigrin, and Matt Rix. These guys rule! :]

If any of you have any further thoughts on any of these conferences (or would like to recommend any I haven’t listed), please join in the forum discussion below.

On behalf of the raywenderlich.com team, we hope to see some of you at an iOS conference this year! :]


This is a blog post by site administrator Ray Wenderlich, an independent software developer and gamer.

Ray Wenderlich

Ray is part of a great team - the raywenderlich.com team, a group of over 100 developers and editors from across the world. He and the rest of the team are passionate both about making apps and teaching others the techniques to make them.

When Ray’s not programming, he’s probably playing video games, role playing games, or board games.

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