Facebook cancels F8 conference due to coronavirus, putting WWDC 2020 in question


Facebook owns 4 of the top 10 apps of the past decade
Coronavirus killed Facebook's big event.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The coronavirus killed another major tech event today as Facebook revealed the in-person component of its annual F8 developers’ conference is canceled due to concerns around the coronavirus COVID-19.

Facebook’s move comes close to the time when Apple normally announces the dates for its Worldwide Developers Conference. The iPhone-maker revealed WWDC 2019 dates on March 14 last year, but with more and more tech events getting shut down, it could change Apple’s plans for its biggest conference of the year.

The U.S. stock market has been hammered thanks to concerns that a COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. is inevitable. Apple CEO Tim Cook said he’s optimistic that the coronavirus is starting to be contained in China. Facebook isn’t taking any chances, though. The social network said it canceled F8 to prioritize the health of its developer partners, employees and the people that put on the event.

“We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance,” said Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships.

Facebook will replace the in-person part of F8 with a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.

WWDC 2020 cancellation next?

News of F8’s cancellation sparked concerns among Apple developers on Twitter that Apple will follow suit. Apple already makes a video of all of its WWDC sessions available online, so a live-streamed WWDC might not be a horrible Plan B. Especially when you consider only 6,000 developers get to attend WWDC anyway. Everyone else watches from home.

Apple has turned down multiple requests from Cult of Mac for comment on the status of WWDC 2020 in the past week in light of the coronavirus issues.

WWDC 2020 is expected to include some of the biggest announcements from Apple in years. iOS 14, macOS 10.16, tvOS 14 and watchOS 7 are all expected to be revealed at the event. Apple might also reveal details about ARM processors coming to the Mac and we expect to hear a lot more about Project Catalyst.


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