WWDC 2020 date set: Apple's (online-only) developer conference starts June 22

The iPhone maker's developer event shifts online following cancellations across the tech industry.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read

Apple's WWDC will be rather different as millions shelter in place.

James Martin/CNET

Apple's WWDC 2020, one of its biggest events of the year, is shifting online and will be held on June 22, amid concerns about the novel coronavirus and social distancing measures that continue to be extended throughout Silicon Valley. Apple also said that WWDC will be free for all developers to access via its developer app and website.

Apple earlier announced that the event, which typically takes place in early June and reveals new software for iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, would transition to being online-only as its native San Francisco Bay Area began instituting lockdowns. CNET's global team will cover WWDC, as well as other conferences that have shifted online, just as we always do -- by providing real-time updates, commentary and analysis you can only get here.

Watch this: Apple's Swift coding challenge for students will headline WWDC

Apple is just the latest in a string of companies shifting or canceling events as the coronavirus has spread around the world. The virus, for which there is no approved vaccine or cure, has killed more than 250,000 people worldwide, and infected more than 3.6 million people. Other companies like the internet giants Facebook and Google have also canceled their respective developer events, which were planned for the spring. Large organizations too have scuttled their plans, including the annual SXSW music and tech festival in Texas and the E3  Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Even Disneyland shut down.

Though Apple typically focuses on new software at its WWDC event each year, including updates to its iOS and MacOS operating systems , it does sometimes introduce devices as well. Last year, it unveiled its new $5,999 Mac Pro desktop and $4,999 Apple Pro Display XDR, aimed at professional artists, editors and coders.

Apple typically sponsors over 300 students from around the world to come to California for WWDC, based on a coding contest. This year, it's doing a Swift Student Challenge instead, and the winning students will get WWDC swag.

Apple's been holding WWDC at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center since 2017, which it moved to after outgrowing the space at San Francisco's Moscone West. When the company announced plans to move WWDC online-only in March, it committed $1 million to local San Jose organizations to offset revenue lost from moving to the online-only format this year.