Comment: Even an online-only WWDC won’t be simple for Apple this year

In February, as the coronavirus pandemic spread further and faster it became clear that Apple was likely going to have to cancel its traditional WWDC plans. That did happen with Apple offering a positive spin last week for an all-new “online experience” that more developers than ever could participate in.

However, just a week later with the pandemic growing, Google has fully called off its I/O developer conference that was also pivoting to an online model and scheduled for May as the state of California has moved to a shelter in place order. So the next question is inevitable, is it feasible for Apple to pull off a web-based WWDC even though it’s not until June?

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With how fast the pandemic is changing, it’s naturally hard to know or plan the next week or even day for business leaders. Google shared this statement as it canceled the online version of its yearly I/O dev conference:

Out of concern for the health and safety of our developers, employees, and local communities — and in line with “shelter in place” requirements by the local Bay Area government — we sadly will not be holding an I/O event in any capacity this year.

Apple is in the same boat as far as the current shelter in place order but it has the benefit of its online WWDC experience being scheduled a month later, or even up to almost two months later than Google’s conference since it didn’t announce the exact days it will host WWDC in June yet.

However, there’s still a lot to consider. If the shelter in place order does continue in the weeks and months ahead, how would Apple pull off WWDC logistically? Steve Troughton-Smith brought up some of the concerns on Twitter.

My colleague Benjamin Mayo offered some counterpoint to finding a solution.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested Apple could still stream a keynote and that things could improve in the coming months.

And another good point, Mark brought up how much more integral WWDC is for Apple and its shipping schedule for software and hardware that I/O is for Google.

9to5Mac’s Take:

With the situation changing day by day, Apple is no-doubt considering all of these factors in how it puts together its first-ever online WWDC. And that’s a big benefit in itself… with there being no norm for how a WWDC via the web will go, Apple gets to write the playbook however it would like (or can). Add in the extra month or two that Apple has compared to Google and I think the situation looks more hopeful.

Even though I can see the big concerns and challenges that Steve mentions from a logistics and even just iOS 14 development standpoint, I agree with Benjamin and Mark in believing that Apple will find a way to deliver WWDC in some capacity in the best way that it can.

What do you think? Will Apple find a way to deliver its online WWDC this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.