Apple has announced that its annual developers conference will run June 2-6, and that it's copying Google's method of assigning tickets through a random drawing.
The dates fit with past iterations of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which have been held in June for years.
WWDC will again take place in San Francisco's Moscone Center, the meet's venue for the last 11 years.
Unlike in years past, tickets for WWDC 2014 will not be sold in a first-come-first-served fashion, a practice that had irked developers who missed the very short window of opportunity, but will be allocated after a random drawing on April 7.
Registered Apple developers have from today until Monday, April 7 at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) to apply for tickets. One ticket per customer is allowed.
Apple's change to a random drawing copies the approach taken by Google for its I/O developers conference, which will take place June 25-26, also at the Moscone Center. Developers interested in attending I/O must apply for a ticket between 5 a.m. PT on April 8 and 5 p.m. PT on April 10.
Like Apple, Google changed its ticket sales practice to eliminate the mad rush of the past, when tickets sold out so quickly many developers only heard about their availability after the supply had been exhausted.
Last year, for example, Apple sold out WWDC in under three minutes.
WWDC tickets will cost $1,599, a price maintained since 2010.
Apple will also give away 200 tickets to students, who can apply on Apple's website. Full-time students 13 years old and up are eligible, but must submit a native iOS or OS X app. More information about the free tickets for students can be found on this page ( download PDF).
If Apple follows its usual timetable, it will preview the next editions of iOS and OS X at WWDC, give pre-release code of at least one, most likely iOS, to developers at the conference, then launch the new operating systems in the fall. The last three years Apple has waited until June's WWDC to hand developers an iOS SDK (software development kit), then unveiled new iPhones in September (2012 and 2013) or October (2011).
Rumors of new iPhones have already begun circulating, with most analysts predicting Apple will roll out handsets with larger screens to take advantage of a fast-growing segment of the smartphone market.
OS X 10.9, aka Mavericks, did not ship until October 2013, but reports claimed that the later-than-normal launch had been due to Apple shuffling engineers from OS X to reinforce the iOS team, which was then wrapping up the massive design overhaul of iOS 7. It's possible that Apple would return to a schedule similar to 2012's, when it shipped OS X 10.8, or Mountain Lion, in July of that year.
Last year, Apple switched from naming its OS X editions after large felines to California place names. Mavericks was named after a big-wave surfing spot on the California coast about 35 miles northwest of Apple's Cupertino headquarters.
Apple put a stop to the mad rush for WWDC tickets, saying that this year's $1,599 tickets will be randomly drawn from a pool of developers who apply. (Image: Apple.)
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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