Today, none of my Karelia colleagues or I were able to get WWDC tickets.
I really agree with Daniel Jalkut's analysis, but I have some more thoughts.
The WWDC that I knew and love is gone. With only a tiny fraction of the people I know getting tickets, it means that WWDC will be a conference filled with strangers to me — and to each other.
Sure, there will be some parties, and maybe a chance to run into somebody you know, but the odds are against you.
Maybe the problem is that when Apple Started WWDC, it made sense to have the entire world invited. These days, there are too many Mac and iOS developers in the world.
Seeing that the talks are going to be made available online, it's really the labs and the socializing that we will all be missing. But do all those need to be concentrated in a single week, in a single place?
What if Apple made the sessions be online only, as Daniel suggestions, and come up with a series of regional conferences/labs around the world, based on developer population?
Actually, this kind of thing has happened before. The developer 'tech talks' a couple of years ago. They've also had a few special, small "developer kitchens" in Cupertino, though that was before the masses started growing.
Why not just start up an annual program of "tech talks" which are staffed by DTS engineers and evangelists, touring the world constantly? They could function as mobile versions of WWDC labs — but just as importantly, there could be social aspects to the gatherings, so that fellow developers had a chance to eat, drink, and be merry with fellow developers in their local area.