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Apple is wondering if an in-person WWDC is worth it anymore

What you need to know

  • Apple has sent out a survey to developers at the end of WWDC21.
  • The survey asks if developers would attend an in-person WWDC in the future again.

Could 2019 have been the last in-person WWDC?

Apple seems to be putting some serious thought into making WWDC a permanently digital event.

As reported by MacRumors, Apple has sent developers the usual survey at the end of its Worldwide Developers Conference, marking the end of WWDC21. Among the usual questions asked, the survey also approached the topic of future in-person events.

One of the questions as part of this year’s end of WWDC survey reads, “How likely would you be to attend an in-person conference after experiencing an all-online event?”

Apple has held all of its events, including WWDC, in an online format since the pandemic began in early 2020. The digital format has actually been a huge success, drawing continuous praise from those who have watched for the production level that the company has put into each event. Other brands have attempted to recreate what Apple has accomplished with its digital events with…very mixed results.

While many could read the question and begin to wonder if Apple is planning to move all of its events to a purely digital format, I don’t think we’re at that point quite yet. At the end of March, Mark Gurman from Bloomberg reported that the company plans to have an in-person event when it unveils its mixed reality headset.

Sometime in the next several months, the company is poised to announce a mixed reality headset, its first major new device since 2015. If possible, Apple won’t want to make such a critical announcement at an online event. It wants employees, the media, its partners and developers in the room.

Depending on what developers say, we could eventually find ourselves in a future where Apple combines the best of in-person and digital events into a hybrid format that tries to meet as many people’s needs as possible. It isn’t unreasonable to think of this as a possibility since an all-digital WWDC makes the event the most accessible for people around the world.