Apple will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on schedule this year, with the event kicking off on June 7 and concluding on June 11. Like last year, it will be an online-only affair as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. All the event’s offerings will be free for anyone who has an Apple developer account.
The company typically uses this event to announce new versions of its various operating systems (macOS, iPadOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS) and detail the software’s new features and changes. WWDC is sometimes, though not always, used to announce new hardware products, too, and it’s often the event Apple uses to explain very major changes in direction, should they be imminent. For example, Apple revealed the details of its custom-made silicon transition at last year’s conference.
Apple’s press release notes that the usual components will be there. There will be a keynote to kick things off, followed by “state of the union” presentations that drill deeper on each platform. Then, Apple will offer video sessions on specific features—using the Metal graphics API to make augmented reality applications, in one hypothetical example—throughout the week. The conference will also include one-on-one lab appointments “offering technical guidance” to developers, Apple says.
As is customary for announcements like this, Apple provided a statement from a company executive to coincide with the news.
“We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineers,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing. “We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play.”
WWDC21 will also see the return of the Swift Student Challenge, wherein students are encouraged to “create an interactive scene in a Swift playground that can be experienced within three minutes.” Swift Playgrounds is a coding sandbox app for Macs and iPads Apple uses to introduce people to Swift, the Objective-C-derived programming language that is increasingly used to make apps for iPhones and other Apple devices. Winners of the Swift Student Challenge will receive “exclusive WWDC21 outerwear and a pin set,” Apple’s press release says.
As always, we’ll be covering the event and all its announcements live here at Ars Technica.