Back in March, Apple joined a rapidly growing number of companies announcing an online-only model for their annual tech events. At the time, SVP Phil Schiller promised the event would be “an innovative way to reach millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience,” as planners across the world scrambled to adapt to the newfound realities of a growing viral pandemic.
This morning, Apple is offering up more information about what WWDC will look like amid social distancing and stay at home requirements. The annual developer conference is now set to begin June 22. As previously noted, the event will consist of online sessions focused on iOS, iPadOS and MacOS developers. Access to the conference will be made available for free to all developers through the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website.
That manner of access opens the event in ways Apple hasn’t for the previous 30 years, owing to — among other things — the limits of physical space. The San Jose McEnery Convention Center certainly pales in comparison to access available through Apple’s sites.
In a release, Schiller once again set a positive note about launching the new format during an uncertain time. “WWDC20 will be our biggest yet, bringing together our global developer community of more than 23 million in an unprecedented way for a week in June to learn about the future of Apple platforms,” the executive said. “We can’t wait to meet online in June with the global developer community and share with them all of the new tools we’ve been working on to help them create even more incredible apps and services. We look forward to sharing more details about WWDC20 with everyone as we get closer to this exciting event.”
More information will likely be available in the month and a half before the event is set to kick off. Meantime, Apple is also hosting a Swift Student Challenge, through May 17, for a chance to win some WWDC swag. As with innumerable other events that have been rejiggered for the COVID-19 era, there are likely to be some kinks to work out — even from a company as large as Apple. Even so, it will be fascinating to see whether online-first conferences become more rule than exception, even after the threat of the virus has died down.