All-virtual WWDC 2021 will kick off June 7

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WWDC 2021
WWDC goes virtual again this year. Does that mean no April product launch event?
Photo: Apple

Apple will kick off this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7. And, for the second year running, this will be an all-virtual event, the company said Tuesday.

The WWDC festivities will run through that week, offering what Apple calls “unique insight into the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.”

WWDC21

“We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineers,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s VP of worldwide developer relations and enterprise and education marketing, in a statement. “We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet, and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple’s annual developers conference became one of the hottest tickets in the tech world. Developers entered a lottery to win a chance to buy one of the pricey tickets. At the event, Apple typically serves up a road map for macOS, iOS and its other platforms. Attendees also gain access to Apple staffers for priceless insight into what Cupertino’s future holds.

In 2020, WWDC went virtual due to health concerns and travel restrictions related to the pandemic. Things went well, and Apple subsequently held multiple virtual product launch events in 2020.

Now, WWDC 2021 will attempt to replicate last year’s successes.

“This year’s conference will include announcements from the keynote and State of the Union stages, online sessions, 1:1 labs offering technical guidance, and new ways for developers to interact with Apple engineers and designers to learn about the latest frameworks and technologies,” Apple said in its press release Tuesday.

Swift Student Challenge

Apple also said it will hold a Swift Student Challenge this year, which lets young devs to show off their coding skills in Apple’s programming language. Winners will receive WWDC21 outerwear and a pin set. Submissions for the Swift Student Challenge run through April 18.

In addition, Apple said it will commit $1 million to SJ Aspires, an education and equity initiative in San Jose, California. This is part of the company’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.

Additional details about WWDC21 will be made available via the Apple Developer app and elsewhere.

So no Apple April event then?

Apple’s announcement of WWDC21 is certainly welcome. But it’s also not the Apple event many expected Apple to announce this week. The company was heavily rumored to be hosting a March event this year. So sure of this was Apple tipster Jon Prosser that he promised to shave his eyebrows if it didn’t come to pass.

It didn’t. Prosser then suggested the event would take place in April — although, wisely, didn’t put any more body hair on the line.

Apple could still hold a virtual product launch next month, but announcing a virtual WWDC prior to an April event seems a strange way to do it. Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman poured cold water on the idea of a Q1 event for Apple this year. Last year, Apple reportedly pulled the plug on a planned March event at a late date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: Apple