Will coronavirus impact Apple Worldwide Developers Conference?

In the past, Apple has typically unveiled details about WWDC in March

The status of Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference was in doubt Tuesday after officials in Santa Clara County, California, enacted a ban on mass gathering to contain the spread of coronavirus.

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While Apple has yet to officially announce details for WWDC in 2020, the event typically occurs in June at the San Jose Convention Center, a venue that falls within Santa Clara County. Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, is also in Santa Clara County.

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“This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County. The strong measures we are taking today are designed to slow the spread of disease,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County health officer.

Santa Clara County’s ban on mass gatherings takes effect at midnight local time March 11 and will remain in place for at least three weeks. The action applies to events of 1,000 or more people. WWDC typically draws 5,000 to 6,000 attendees.

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Apple executives often unveil new products or major updates at WWDC. The event has run annually for the last three decades.

An Apple representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook speaks at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, June 4, 2018. (REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage)

At present, it’s unclear if Apple would consider postponing or relocating the event. An online-only version of the conference is also possible, according to 9 to 5 Mac, a prominent Apple news blog.

In the past, Apple has typically unveiled details about WWDC in March.

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Several other tech companies have already postponed or canceled planned conferences due to the coronavirus outbreak. Canceled events include South By Southwest, Facebook’s F8 developers’ conference and Google I/O. All three conferences are expected to proceed with online-only events.

Apple previously advised employees at its Cupertino headquarters to work remotely for the time being.

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