It looks more likely that Apple will cancel WWDC : Due to the coronavirus outbreak, numerous tech events were canceled (or went virtual) in 2020, including MWC, Facebook’s F8, Google I/O and SXSW.
Now, it’s getting increasingly likely that Apple’s WWDC 2020 conference isn’t going to happen — at least not at its usual time, or in its regular format.
The Santa Clara Public Health Department issued an order on Monday (via Appleinsider) banning mass gatherings with more than 1,000 people due to the increasing rates of the coronavirus.
“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 Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody in a statement.
Since the WWDC typically takes place in San Jose, which is in Santa Clara County, with an attendance of 5,000 or more, it would be forbidden under the terms of the ban, which goes into effect on March 11.
This does not automatically mean the WWDC won’t take place this year. The event hasn’t even officially been announced yet, but it typically takes place in early June, and the mass gatherings ban will initially remain in place for three weeks.
However, should the coronavirus outbreak worsen, it’s safe to assume the mass gatherings ban will remain in place longer, and even if the ban doesn’t last until June, Apple surely won’t wait that long to announce it (the company typically announces WWDC dates in mid-March).
Still, there are several possibilities in play for Apple. The company could postpone WWDC for a later date, which is unlikely, or it could turn it into an online-only event, similar to what Google and Facebook have done with I/O and F8, respectively.
The coronavirus has so far killed more than 4,000 and infected more than 113,000 people. The outbreak has been worsening in the U.S. in recent weeks, with 423 total confirmed cases and 19 deaths.