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Apple announces virtual developer conference

Instead of hosting an exclusive event in San Jose, Apple has moved its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to a virtual-only format – open to all.

Apple has announced it will virtually host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year. On 2 June. Now in its 31st year, WWDC 2020 will take on a new online format packed with content for consumers and developers.  

This new online-only format comes as a result of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which had claimed over 25 000 lives in the United States by 15 April. The risk posed by this highly-infectious virus, and rules barring large gatherings, have resulted in most in-person conferences being cancelled at least until the middle of the year. 

“We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world.”  

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said: “With all of the new products and technologies we’ve been working on, WWDC 2020 is going to be big, I look forward to our developers getting their hands on the new code and interacting in entirely new ways with the Apple engineers building the technologies and frameworks that will shape the future across all Apple platforms.”  

The WWDC 2020 program will provide Apple’s global developer community — which now includes more than 23-million registered developers in more than 155 countries  — with insights and tools needed to turn ideas into working apps.  

Apple also announced it will commit $1-million to local San Jose organisations to offset associated revenue loss as a result of WWDC 2020’s new online format.  

The move to digital levels the playing field for developers, because not all those who want to attend can do so. Due to high demand, Apple has previously used a lottery style system to distribute 5,000 tickets for its annual event, which leaves many developers unable to attend, even if they have the means to travel to the event. 

Developers have earned over $155-billion from iOS apps since the App Store launched in 2008, with an active installed base of more than 1.5-billion Apple devices.  WWDC 2020 will allow developers to learn about new technologies and frameworks in areas like augmented reality, machine learning, health and fitness, and home automation.  

Additional program information will be shared in the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website.  

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