Apple has announced its annual Worldwide Developers Conference will not be go ahead as an event in San Jose but rather in an online format for customers, developers and the media.
And the company has also closed all Apple Stores across the globe outside greater China to help stem the coronavirus outbreak.
The 2020 WWDC online event will still include the keynote which will outline the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.
And developers will also still have the opportunity to engage with Apple engineers online and test the code of their new apps which is the main reason a selection of millions of developers from around the world attend the event in the first place.
“We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world.
“We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead.”
There are more than 23 million registered developers around the world from more than 155 countries and regions.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is the company’s largest annual event in terms of attendees.
It is so popular, developers must enter a ballot and hope to have their name selected to allow them to buy a ticket to attend the event at a cost of around $US1,600.
“With all of the new products and technologies we’ve been working on, WWDC 2020 is going to be big,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
“I look forward to our developers getting their hands on the new code and interacting in entirely new ways with the Apple engineers building the technologies and frameworks that will shape the future across all Apple platforms.”
The cancellation of the WWDC event in San Jose will hit local businesses, restaurants and hotels but Apple is offering $1m to local organisations to offset the loss.
Apple has also decided to close all of its stores worldwide outside China until March 27
“As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement.
“We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers.
“Our online stores are open at www.apple.com, or you can download the Apple Store app on the App Store.
“For service and support, customers can visit support.apple.com. I want to thank our extraordinary Retail teams for their dedication to enriching our customers’ lives. We are all so grateful to you.”
The closure of Apple Stores follows news of serious iPhone shortages across Australia.
Telco stores were reporting virtually no iPhone stock with most of the incoming inventory being directed to Apple Stores.
But now Apple Stores are also closed so customers can only order products online for home delivery.
A quick look at the Apple websites showed anyone ordering an iPhone today would not receive it until March 31 at the earliest.