Apple also announces a stricter approval process for COVID-19-related apps.
With many tech events being canceled left and right due to the ongoing coronavirus threat, Apple has announced that its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will still go ahead but in a new online format. The announcement was made by 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,” Schiller said in a statement.
WWDC is the time when Apple announces upcoming versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS along with workshops for developers who want to take advantage of the Apple ecosystem. WWDC usually has around 5000 developers in attendance.
“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. This somehow confirms that new hardware is being introduced during WWDC, to which we’re assuming new iPad Pros and MacBooks will be part of that announcement.
Apple hasn’t confirmed a date yet for WWDC 2020, which usually happens around June. The Cupertino company has also pledged $1 million to local organizations in the San Jose area to offset revenue loss as a result of WWDC’s new online-only format. The coronavirus threat has also prompted Apple to close its retail stores around the world until the end of the month, including the three Apple stores here in the UAE.
Apple has also said that it is now enforcing restrictions on approved apps that go live on the App Store. This includes more stringent requirements for coronavirus-related apps.
“We’re evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions. Only developers from one of these recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19,” a statement from the developer portal said.
It also means that entertainment-based apps and games with COVID-19 as the main theme will not be allowed.
Apple also advised developers to use the ‘time-sensitive event’ option when submitting a genuine app for COVID-19 information so that it can expedite the approval process that could possibly aid in a crisis situation.
Apple also added that nonprofit organizations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities will have the chance to distribute its free apps where the annual membership fee will be waived. More details can be found on this link.