Following the spate of tech event cancellations and postponements in the wake of the ongoing international coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, Apple last week announced that its annual WWDC or Worldwide Developers Conference this year will not be held in the same manner as previous years.

The event which serves as a platform for Apple engineers to interact with developers from around the world and gather in one place to witness Apple's software and hardware launches, will now be an online-only event, allowing the millions of Apple developers from across the globe to connect safely from the safety of their home as a measure to safeguard and cut down on the contagion.

Apple WWDC 2020 event goes online

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China on July 30, 2017.
Reuters

This year's edition which also marks the 31st year of Apple's WWDC will kick off in June, albeit online, and according to Apple's press release "will be an opportunity for millions of creative and innovative developers to get early access to the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, and engage with Apple engineers."

"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 in Apple's press release.

Suggesting that the current public health emergency arising out of the coronavirus pandemic is the reason for Apple's decision, the press release says: "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. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead."

Coronavirus impact on tech events

Apple's decision to move its WWDC 2020 event to an online platform comes in the wake of several other major tech events being scaled-down and being relegated to an online affair.

Notably, the Mobile World Congress MWC 2020, and Google I/O annual developers meet and many others big and small tech events have had to resort to going online in order to safeguard the participants from coronavirus contagion.

What to expect from WWDC 2020

The WWDC provides Apple's entire global developer community which has more than 23 million registered developers from more than 155 countries and the next generation of app developers with insights and tools needed to turn their ideas into reality.

Apple is expected to showcases its updated feature for iOS, iPad OS, MacOS, WatchOS and it's tvOS operating systems and possibly even some new hardware at WWDC 2020 event. There are also rumors that Apple could finally unveil the long-awaited iPhone SE 2 aka iPhone 9 at this year's event, but it hasn't been confirmed by Apple.

The Cupertino, California based tech company has so far only confirmed that the digitised conference will be held in June, and that it will consist of online keynote presentations and sessions, and although it says that the members participating online can interact with Apple engineers, it is yet to disclose how it will be making it interactive.

However, Apple has said that it will be sharing more details about the event's programs via email, the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website as the date draws near.

$1 million to organizers to make up for losses

Meanwhile, Apple had also announced that it will commit $1 million to local organisations in San Jose – where the WWDC 2020 event was to take place originally - to offset any revenue losses incurred due to the event being shifted to the new online format.