No matter how important this year’s WWDC 2020 might be, I don’t see Apple, which strives to be a good corporate citizen, holding its big show in June amid the gathering Coronavirus threat.
This is global warning
We’re in the containment phase at the moment, as governments worldwide seek to slow the spread of the infection in the hope they can find some kind of solution. It’s in everybody’s interest to hold that line for as long as possible.
The problem is that the virus has a long gestation period, a high infection rate, and a far higher fatality rate than the flu. That means it can easily proliferate at public events.
Apple’s giant WWDC is the most important event in the company’s calendar. It’s a fascinating place where business is done, connections made, and Apple opens up a little, sharing its ideas, new operating systems and gently guides partners into what it plans for the months and years ahead. I love to attend when I can.
The show attracts at least 6,000 people from all around the world, which, unfortunately, is a problem in the context of the coronavirus.
Not only can it spread quite rapidly in a crowded room (I’m not certain of its infection rate via air conditioning systems), but all those people at WWDC stay somewhere and interact with local services, hotels, restaurants.
If just a few people are infected at the start of the event, you can rest assured many more will be once it ends. It might be a couple of weeks before they know they’ve been hit, by which time they will have returned home, unknowingly infecting others along the way.
That’s how this particular infection works.
[Also read: Enterprise resilience: iOS, Mac tools for remote collaboration]
This is also why Mobile World Congress, Adobe Summit, Facebook F8, Games Developers Conference, Nvidia GTC, the Geneva Motor Show, and a range of sporting events (including England’s Six Nation’s rugby game) have been cancelled or delayed.
The economic consequences of this activity are being felt across almost every industry – airlines, the hospitality industry, even a relatively digital firm like Google is taking a hit as ad sales in some sectors (tourism, for example) slump.
While the economic consequences are important, the human consequences are profound.
Apple puts humans first
Apple is a user-centric company.
Its user interfaces are built around its acclaimed Human Interface Guidelines. The success of its hardware is based on that human-focused usability; this is also why it has taken a huge chunk of market share in enterprise IT across the last few years.
This stuff doesn’t come easy. Creating great solutions is precisely what those 6,000 people the company invites to its developer’s conference do. Hardware and software designers, developers, engineers – these people are essential.
Apple will not want to put any of these people at any additional risk.
It is clear we are battling a pandemic and while there is some hope the virus will be easier to fight (and the effects less critical), if we can make it into summer, most governments accept that containment has failed.
WWDC 2020: The virtual show
Apple listens to advice and this is why I’m convinced it has already decided to delay the live event part of WWDC. I imagine it may consider streaming some form of event keynote, perhaps something like a State of the Union address and selected developer sessions, while also delivering access to more closed sessions online under extraordinarily strict non-disclosure agreements.
It already does most of those things at WWDC.
The approach does lack the human connection with engineers that means so much, but Apple will absolutely want to protect its key staff. And if the virus does recede in summer, I imagine Apple may be thinking about other options.
It could consider running a larger event in September around the iPhone launch, or simply running WWDC 2020 in late July, or early August. Some expect the virus to peak in June, so running a later show may make sense – though there are no guarantees.
Perhaps there will be a breakthrough
Two weeks ago, I warned that Apple has a limited window to decide on what to do about WWDC this year. Apple still has some time in which to see whether some kind of breakthrough takes place. But it doesn’t have long.
Think about the challenges of assembling the infrastructure for an event of this scope. Doing so takes a great deal of planning, not to mention ensuring resources to support show-goers are locally available. When does it usually order its WWDC jackets, for example?
These logistical considerations mean it will likely take the final decision on the matter in the next couple of weeks, at most. While cancelling or delaying WWDC poses big business and continuity problems for Apple (and everyone else), it feels like it might be for the best. The protection of Apple’s employees, key partners, and local and national communities must come first.
Meanwhile, think global, act local, and work from home.
Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.
Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.
314736 138893Glad to be 1 of several visitors on this awing web site : D. 54414
365993 465298I dont think Ive seen all of the angles of this topic the way youve pointed them out. Youre a true star, a rock star man. Youve got so considerably to say and know so a lot about the subject that I think you should just teach a class about it 933275
813282 168888There is noticeably a bundle comprehend this. I suppose you created specific good points in functions also. 832251
601032 685703You produced some decent points there. I looked on the internet for that problem and located many people will go in addition to with the web website. 488071
504601 518413Thanks so significantly for yet another post. I be able to get that kind of info data. friend, and exactly. 295819
317422 757893You ought to be a part of a contest initial of the most effective blogs online. Let me suggest this blog! 50755
19970 522687I appreciate you taking the time to speak about them with individuals. 950033
365872 697119Considerably, the story is in reality the greatest on this noteworthy subject. I agree along with your conclusions and will eagerly watch forward to your next updates. Saying nice one will not just be sufficient, for the great clarity within your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates! 922768
547144 840479Can I just now say that of a relief to locate somebody who truly knows what theyre speaking about online. You actually know how to bring a difficulty to light and function out it crucial. The diet want to see this and appreciate this side on the story. I cant believe youre no much more popular since you undoubtedly possess the gift. 688308