When it comes to packing for WWDC, it's all about patterns.
I've been in San Francisco for five WWDCs since 2011: One in-town experience, and four cross-country packing journeys.
Each WWDC has required slightly different tools and bag needs. In part, that's because the technology scene has changed so rapidly: Where once I would have needed a 15-inch MacBook Pro, weighty charger, and battery cases galore for my iPhone, I now carry iPads, keyboard cases, watch chargers and wristbands, audiovisual equipment, and... let's be honest: Battery cases galore.
As I approach my fifth time covering this whirlwind of a show, I've got a good handle on what I need, what I definitely don't, and what I can experiment with this year. Here's what I'm bringing!
Osprey Pixel Daypack: There are many, many bags out there for your travel needs, especially when technology is involved. But the Osprey remains my all-time favorite for flying cross country, two years running. (That's no easy feat, given my love for all things tech bags, and how frequently I try new ones.)
When it comes to my tech conference needs, the Osprey delivers every time. It's rugged but stylish, and built like a hiking backpack with all the right vents to keep air flowing through your back as you wear it. It also sports a cavernous main section and more hidden pockets than a TARDIS, including a TSA-friendly side-slot for your laptop and a padded pouch perfect for a 9.7-inch iPad.
But perhaps my favorite feature of the bag is its buckled front flap: I can stash a sweater or blanket in it, bedroll style, for easy access on the plane.
Moose and Pine messenger bag: The Osprey is great for traveling cross-country or toting around a portable office, but when it comes to lighter-duty outings, I want a small, sleeker option. This trip, it's a messenger bag I got off Etsy years ago from MooseAndPine. It's built to hold an 11-inch MacBook Air and a few books, but works just as well carrying my iPad Pro and accessories. And best of all: It's made with cotton canvas and wool, easily foldable into my larger travel accoutrements.
12.9-inch iPad Pro: My 12.9-inch iPad made its liveblogging debut at Apple's last event, and while covering an event sans laptop isn't perfect — I'm lucky that Daniel Bader is taking our photography, as there's currently no tethering workflow for the iPad — it'll serve my typing fingers well enough. And, quite honestly, there's something to be said for having an LTE option if the conference Wi-Fi explodes.
Logitech Create Keyboard Case: It may be bulky and heavy, but the Create is pretty much fused to my 12.9-inch iPad at this point. It gives me a great keyboard, protection when tossing the tablet into bags, and access to all of iOS 9's wonderful keyboard shortcuts.
9.7-inch iPad Pro: I know what you're thinking: Why, Serenity, do you need both your 12.9 inch iPad Pro and a 9.7 inch model? That feels like too many iPads.
And you would be right, dear reader — save for the fact that WWDC heralds new software, and beta versions of that new software. And much as I love having the cool goodies on my devices as soon as possible, I am not quite so foolhardy as to put an iOS beta on the device I'm using to work all week. Instead, I'm bringing the 9.7-inch iPad along for all things beta-testing.
Apple Pencil: I don't go anywhere without it, if I'm bringing my iPad. This week, my goal is to do a sketch each day of WWDC. The Apple Pencil will help make that happen.
Waterfield Atelier Gear Case: This lovely little leather case holds all the iPad adapters a girl could need, including my Apple Pencil, and it doubles as a beautiful leather clutch in the evenings.
iPhone 6s: This has been my daily driver for the last few months — with an Apple Smart Battery Case, natch — and it's going to be great at WWDC. I love the size of the 6s too much to consider switching back to the 6s Plus for the conference. But that said...
iPhone 6s Plus: Yes, I'm still bringing it. Like the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the 6s Plus is coming along as a dumb pipe for iOS betas. Also, you can never have too much iPhone battery life during a conference.
Gold Apple Watch Sport: I can't go anywhere without my trusty Apple Watch. It not only helps me keep track of San Francisco's strange weather patterns and pay for things, it also allows me to stay in the loop while walking the city streets without ever having to take out and stare at my iPhone.
Time Porter: Twelve South's portable Apple Watch charger and band storage is the best thing I've found for charging my smartwatch on the go, and it gets extra marks for being able to hold my many, many bands.
Many, many Apple Watch bands: Normally, I bring 2-4 options, but this trip I've lugged my entire band collection. For super-secret reasons that may or may not involve a photo shoot on Sunday with Rene and the other iMore crew.
Bose QuietComfort 25: How did I ever fly without these wonderful headphones? I picked them up before last my work trip with Tesla Central, and they've already become one of my favorite airplane gadgets. AND they come in white gold. (I only wish I had waited an extra three weeks to buy Bose's new QC35 wireless model, however. I'm missing the joy of wireless Bluetooth headphones.)
Joby GorillaPod: I don't expect to be doing much videography in San Francisco this week with Bader and Mikah on the case, but better safe than sorry. And my trusty GorillaPod mini-tripod is so small, it can easily hide in my bag until it's needed.
Apogee MiC 96K: WWDC is usually the week dubbed "Most likely for Serenity to lose her voice," for good reason: We're constantly talking. Usually in large environments. And often, on podcasts. The Apogee MiC is my current favorite portable condenser microphone: It works with my iPhone and iPad via Lightning, sounds excellent, and it's portable enough to fit inside a day pack.
Anker Multi-port USB charger: When you're traveling, every extra USB cord and wall plug takes up space in your bag — and adds to the stress of tech-packing. Anker lets me centralize my device charging with a single power brick that can charge a USB-C gadget (or an iPad Pro with a Lightning to USB-C cord), two iPhones, another iPad, and my Apple Watch. It's a wonder and a joy.
Fugoo Bluetooth Speaker: I started bringing a small Bluetooth speaker around to conferences two years ago, and have never regretted it since. You never know when you need to amplify sound.
Hand sanitizer: Because no one wants to get sick during WWDC.
Miscellaneous cords: I always carry at least three Lightning cords, along with many micro-USB. You never know when you might need one.
Water bottle: I never drink enough water at conferences, but having a water bottle handy allows me to at least guilt-trip myself about it.
Previously, on Gear Bags
- Read: What's in Rene's gear bag
- Read: What's in Lory's gear bag
- Read: What's in Mikah's gear bag
- Read: What's in Daniel's gear bag