Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Apple likely to hold virtual WWDC as other big conventions cancel in-person events

A number of high-profile conventions this week announced in-person gatherings scheduled for spring and summer have been pushed back or cancelled completely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting Apple will do the same for its Worldwide Developers Conference.

San Diego Comic-Con, E3, and Anime Expo — all California events — this week officially cancelled plans to hold in-person gatherings out of public safety concerns, reports The Verge. If held, the typically large gatherings that attract hundreds of thousands of people could quickly become coronavirus superspreader events.

The three conventions are expected to field alternatives to physical events into summer, while one, Comic-Con, is planning a three-day in-person event for November. Other conferences currently slated for fall are taking a wait-and-see approach, likely in hopes of a successful vaccine rollout.

While it has yet to announce intent for WWDC 2021, Apple will likely follow the lead of fellow convention organizers and hold a virtual event as it did in 2020. Last year, the company invited developers to participate in an "online experience" that included an online keynote, informational sessions, technical labs and one-one-one guidance with Apple engineers.

A highly refined production, WWDC 2020 has since served as a template for Apple's famous product unveilings, from iPhone 12 to Apple Silicon Macs. Without an audience to accommodate, Apple is able to showcase its technologies in cohesive video presentations featuring company leaders speaking in rarely seen offices around Apple Park.

Apple is expected to announce WWDC 2021 in the coming weeks. The 2020 online experience was made public in March, with event details following in May ahead of the June conference.