Mobile World Congress was one of the first major international events canceled this year due to the coronavirus epidemic. Now as the virus continues to spread, more tough decisions are being made like Facebook canceling its F8 Developers Conference that was scheduled for May. With June around the corner and Apple’s developer conference attracting attendees from all around the world, will Apple have to cancel WWDC 2020?
Just today, Facebook announced that it has canceled its F8 developer conference that happens annually in May saying the decision was made to “prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft announced that it is the latest major company pulling out of the 2020 Game Developers Conference slated for next month.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic organizers are also caught in a tough spot and the World Health Organization is currently advising them on the matter. But notably, one member of the International Olympic Committee said that if they do cancel the summer games that are planned for July 24 through August 9, they likely won’t be rescheduled.
Dick Pound, a senior member of the committee and a former Canadian swimming champion, said that if it proves too dangerous to hold the Olympics this summer due to the coronavirus outbreak, organizers are more likely to cancel it altogether than to postpone or move it.
While the spread of coronavirus in Italy and elsewhere globally has grown, CDC officials in the US are warning that it’s likely just a matter of time before a greater spread of the virus will happen in the states (via New York Times).
“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing.
Will Apple have to cancel WWDC 2020?
With all of this swirling, Apple is no doubt in deliberations about what to do with WWDC this year since it normally announces dates for the event in March.
Apple may have some more time to see how coronavirus unfolds before making a decision or could push back the announcement of WWDC dates for this year. But it seems like the odds are pointing to a good possibility of Apple canceling WWDC 2020.
Apple pushing back the early June dates it traditionally holds WWDC probably isn’t an option since it needs to get the new beta software into developers’ hands in time to test and plan for updates before its fall public software and hardware releases. Pushing the conference back a few weeks or a month likely wouldn’t make much of a difference for putting virus concerns to rest (if still an issue heading into summer) and pushing WWDC back further than that would interfere with beta and release plans.
This could give Apple an opportunity to hold a virtual WWDC for this year and if so, could make for a more inclusive experience for all since Apple would be working to offer everything remotely. Apple could even use Group FaceTime calls for some developer sessions. And it could still hold a keynote livestreamed from Steve Jobs Theater to kick everything off.
What do you think? At this point does it seem like canceling WWDC is the safest option for Apple or should it wait things out longer to make a call? Share your thoughts in the comments below!