For the last three years, Apple has hosted its Worldwide Developers Conference at the San Jose Convention Center, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, WWDC 2020 is now an online-only event. So what can you expect from the new virtual format and when and how can you watch the keynote and developer sessions?
The novel coronavirus may have shut down Apple's in-person event, but the show must go on. So there won't be thousands of developers packed into a convention center, but there will be millions around the globe tuning in and learning everything that they'll have to work with in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. And while the individual sessions are for developers only, the keynote can be watched by everyone.
Last year's WWDC introduced us to iOS 13 for iPhone, which added dark mode, an updated Mail app, and swipe typing, among many other features. It also showed off macOS Catalina 10.15, watchOS 6, tvOS 13, and iPadOS 13, as well as the Mac Pro (3rd generation) and Pro Display XDR.
For many of us, the highlight of WWDC 2020 will be the unveiling of iOS 14 (and iPadOS 14), rumored to come with huge iMessages updates, new customization options, and a new Fitness app, among many other features. But Apple will also be showing off watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and macOS 10.16.
As for hardware, Apple may unveil, or at least tease, its upcoming Bluetooth-based AirTags product, similar to Tile trackers. Also, we might see Apple's new over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones, which we saw a hint of in iOS 14's code, that will likely be high-end Beats and not AirPods. And while Apple notoriously canceled its AirPower charging mat over a year ago, it may be working on a "smaller wireless charging mat," according to Ming-Chi Kuo, which may be touched on in the keynote.
Apple first announced that WWDC 2020 would move to an all-virtual format on March 13, slated for June, the month in which the conference has taken place in 16 of the last 17 years' worth of events. On May 5, it announced June 22 as the official date of the internet-only developers special.
For developers, June 22 marks the first day of a normally five-day conference, filled with virtual events and contests. To the general public, it means one fantastic livestream of the keynote, where we get to see Apple show off its upcoming software. For many of us, the cream of the crop will be the unveiling of iOS 14 (and iPadOS 14), rumored to come with huge iMessages updates, new customization options, and a new Fitness app, among many other features.
The livestream of the keynote presentation is set to begin at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT) on June 22, which is the traditional time that kicks off the entire week-long conference. As far as watching it, things will likely be similar to last year's event:
While Apple has yet to unveil official requirements for livestreaming WWDC 2020's keynote presentation, it's likely to be the same as the past few years.
- iPad, iPhone, iPod touch using Safari on iOS 10 or later
- iPad, iPhone, iPod touch running the Apple Developer app (previously called the WWDC app) on iOS 12.0 or later
- Mac using Safari on macOS Sierra 10.12 or later
- PC using Microsoft Edge on Windows 10
- Apple TV (fourth/fifth gen) using the updated Apple Events app or Apple Developer app (previously called the WWDC app)
- Apple TV (second/third gen) from the Apple Events channel
While Apple recommends you use one of those device and app combinations to watch the event, you don't need to. Long ago, Apple would have required it, but these days, things work much better. For example, you can watch live events in recent versions of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, so long as those versions support MSE (Media Service Extensions), in addition to H.264 (video) and AAC (audio). If you prefer to use another browser, it should work just fine so long as it meets these qualifications.
You can also AirPlay the event to an Apple TV (2nd generation or later). You'll just need the latest tvOS version, as well as the most recent version of iOS or macOS.
If you're trying to watch a live Apple event on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV, the Apple Developer or Apple Events apps are your best bet. If you're on a Mac or PC, or you'd prefer not to download those apps, use the link below to watch the stream in Safari, or another compatible browser.
Apple usually pretends that Android devices don't exist in its "how to watch" instructions, so you wouldn't be blamed for thinking they're not compatible. However, your Android phone is more than capable of livestreaming the event. Just follow the rule of thumb for web browsers we discussed above. If you use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, you're all set, since those two support MSE, H.264, and AAC. Any other web browsers that support those formats should also work fine.
If you're rocking an Amazon Fire tablet, you should also find the stream supported on popular web browsers. You can also copy and paste the video URL into an app like VLC for Android or VLC for Fire, but these days, that shouldn't be necessary.
If you're a developer, many of the above requirements and ways apply for all the sessions and contests beyond the keynote. The Apple Developer app for iOS and iPadOS is one way, and the other is to go to Apple's developer website at:
Best of all, it's all free (granted that you have a Developers account). Apple typically charges around $1,600 per ticket to attend WWDC in San Jose in person, but with the internet-only event, it's free for all.
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