Apple’s WWDC 2020 will have more people watching than ever before

So, what’s Apple going to do with all that attention?

Apple, WWDC, iOS, macOS, Apple Glasses, Apple Car, Apple tags, Tim Cook, JNUC

Developers now know Apple's mighty WWDC show will take place for free online starting on June 22. Apple IT administrators also know another important show, JNUC, will also be held online this year. We’re losing precious opportunities for personal connection, but there’s some big advantages here.

Towards tech democracy

I’ve attended both events in the past. I learn a great deal from doing so, meet fantastic people and get a real sense of where Apple’s technologies are going. I value the time there highly; I think everyone who attends feels the same.

But the fact is that despite the loss of that personal connection this year, many people never get the chance to attend either event. It will never be possible for the company to host an event for all of its 23 million registered developers in any way other than online.

That's why Apple already makes most of its sessions and keynotes available to developers in the app and online. It is simply extending that availability this year.

It is also relevant to note that Jamf announced its JNUC plans just 24 hours before Apple shared more insight into its intentions for WWDC. JNUC is a key event for Apple-based IT administrators, and while I could be reading to much into the proximity of these announcements, I've a strong hunch I'm on the right track.

This will not be trivial.

WWDC is already an online show

With this in mind, while the move to make WWDC an online event is a big deal in some respects, it’s not in others. 

What’s different this year is that the engineering workshops, hands-on sessions and one-to-one time with engineers at the show should also become virtual. Those will be a little harder to virtualize, but it's far from impossible.

We may even see benefits springing from the infrastructure development the company may do for the event – the world could really use a decent Zoom competitor: Is it not time for FaceTime Pro?

Apple has an opportunity to turn what should be increased levels of interest and engagement into real currency.

That currency is attention.

Attention has value

Apple’s technologies and developer teams should be more accessible to more people at once than ever before this year. In itself, this should boost attention and interest in the event. It should also boost understanding and scrutiny. All of which matters.

Apple has no intention of holding back on any of the news it originally hoped to share this year. “WWDC20 will be our biggest yet,” promised Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

We know we’ll see (and developers will gain access to) the next versions of every Apple OS at the event. Add it up and making WWDC 2020 (and JNUC) online events means attention and interest in whatever Apple has to share will be boosted by the shows being so much more accessible.

Ask any advertising company and you’ll quickly learn that this kind of attention is currency. You can turn this kind of global attention into a platform for news announcements and product launches.

Apple frequently does.

Apple's moment

The truth is that the terrifying and still unresolved COVID-19 pandemic means more people than ever are likely to be tuned into Apple’s news at WWDC. Despite the utter chaos and constant tragedy of our time, Apple has created what could be its big moment.

The world will be watching to discover what it plans to do with all that interest. Let the rumor games begin.

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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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