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Apple WWDC 2020: Everything you need to know about the online developers conference

WWDC will be held online for the first time next week, and open to more people. Here's what we know so far.

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Apple's WWDC will move online this year due to the coronavirus. 

James Martin/CNET
This story is part of WWDC 2021. All the latest coverage from Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple's 31st annual Worldwide Developers Conference will kick off next Monday, June 22. The conference will take place entirely online due to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing millions of developers to get early access to upcoming updates for iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, WatchOS and TVOS and learn from Apple engineers.

We've rounded up everything you need to know about WWDC 2020 and its new online form. We'll continue to update this article as we count down the days until the big conference, so check back often. 

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What is WWDC? 

WWDC is Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, typically hosted every June in San Jose, California, in recent years. Developers who attend participate in five days of hands-on labs, presentations and sessions with Apple engineers. 

Apple executives usually kick off the event with a keynote address, often announcing new iOS software and expanded features for iPhones ($600 at Best Buy) and iPads ($356 at eBay), usually released with new smartphones in the fall. Executives also often announce new Mac software and sometimes devices, too. At WWDC 2019, Apple unveiled a new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR ($6,000 at Best Buy), iOS 13 with a dark mode, MacOS Catalina and iPadOS.

When is WWDC 2020? 

WWDC 2020 will take place entirely online, and will run from Monday, June 22 through Friday, June 26. 

What time does the WWDC 2020 keynote start?

The WWDC Special Event Keynote will take place on Monday, June 22, at 10 a.m. PT. The Platforms State of the Union talk will take place at 2 p.m. PT that day.

How can I watch the WWDC 2020 livestream?

If you have an Apple TV, you'll likely be able to use the Apple Events app to watch the keynote. Otherwise, you can can livestream WWDC from the Apple Events section of the company's website. The developer sessions can be accessed via the Apple developer app (on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV ($180 at Best Buy)) or the Apple developer website

Members of the Apple Developer Program and the Apple Developer Enterprise Program, as well as Swift Student Challenge winners, can connect with Apple engineers at the conference if they are signed into their Apple Developer Program account (which costs $99 a year).

What will Apple announce at WWDC?

We don't know exactly what Apple will announce at WWDC 2020. However, based on past events, it's likely that we'll learn about the upcoming iOS 14, and updates to MacOS and other operating systems.

It's also been rumored that Apple will reveal plans for using its own chips in Macs, as it already does for the iPhone and iPad, but Apple has not confirmed that this is true. There's also a rumor out there that Apple will announce a redesigned iMac, but that has also not been confirmed.

How will coronavirus change WWDC? 

WWDC is usually limited to around 5,000 developer attendees, who can buy $1,599 tickets for the five-day event based on random selection. Keynotes and sessions were typically live streamed. This year, millions of developers will be able to participate virtually for free, and engage with Apple engineers as they work on apps. 

Apple's global developer community includes more than 23 million registered developers in more than 155 countries and regions. 

Apple is far from alone on the canceled event front: A number of tech companies, including Facebook and Google, have also canceled their respective developer events planned for this spring. 

Can I attend virtually? 

Yes. The keynote will be streamed for the general public, and sessions will be free for all developers, according to Apple. You can access them on the Apple developer app or the Apple developer website

Do you have to be a professional developer to participate? 

Nope. Apple enthusiasts can sit in on keynotes and sessions to learn more about app development and the latest news from the company. Or they can participate in the Swift Student Challenge, a new coding contest for student developers of any age across the globe to build an interactive scene that can be experienced in three minutes or less (submissions closed in May). The contest winners will get a WWDC20 jacket and pin set, and will be notified by this Tuesday. 

The Swift Student Challenge replaces the annual WWDC Scholars program that Apple awards annually to 350 students, based on their Swift Playgrounds submissions. Winners of that program typically receive free admission to WWDC, as well as travel and accommodations and a one-year membership to the Apple Developer Program. Past scholars have ranged in age from 9 to 82. 

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