Apple isn’t going to let a little thing like a global pandemic stop its 31-year tradition of hosting an annual conference for app developers. But in the midst of COVID-19 related lockdowns and social distancing, there’s one big difference this year: the week-long event is going virtual.
WWDC is typically where Apple reveals its upcoming software updates to the world, giving developers a chance to integrate new features before they launch to the public. This year we’re expecting previews of iOS 14, plus updates for iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.
Though aimed primarily at developers, WWDC has always kicked off with a more accessible keynote speech showing off the most notable new features to the public. From time to time, we see hardware reveals at the event too. Like the iPhone reveals in September, it’s a good watch even if you’re not a developer – though we wonder how Craig Federighi’s jokes will land with no audience present.
This year, every aspect of WWDC will be taken online – that means live streams of every talk, plus some other bits Apple hasn’t announced just yet. Apple marketing exec Phil Schiller:
“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. 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.”
Usually, tickets for WWDC are tough (and expensive) to get hold of, but this year the event will be completely free for registered Apple developers, opening things up wider than ever before. Apple is donating $1 million to San Jose businesses that are likely to lose out on customers as a result of the event going online.
Another huge part of the WWDC experience is Apple’s support of up and coming student coders. In the past, Apple has sponsored entry to the conference for many students, but this year it has instead announced the Swift Student Challenge, “an opportunity for student developers to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground.”
We’re particularly looking forward to seeing what iOS 14 has in store – rest assured we’ll bring you updates on everything you need to know from the event when it kicks off on June 22.