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WWDC to Be Moved Online (developer.apple.com)
248 points by css 16 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 98 comments

I think this might be a trailblazing WWDC - when they notice that there are many engineers that wanted to get help, but they couldn’t afford the travel to California. I’d bet that in 2021 there’s gonna be WWDC as usual in San Jose and they’ll delegate some of the staff to support remote engineers. Hell, I’d push for better FaceTime to promote it as a ‘perfect’ replacement for Zoom... Think about it! If I were Craig, I’d move some of the finest engineer to make a really compelling contender for other videochat apps.

You’re green bubble in Messages - out of style.

You’re not using FaceTime for remote call - get out of here...

zoom works on multiple systems. facetime is apple only. Remember they are a hardware company not software, they use the software ecosystem to force you to buy their hardware

>Remember they are a hardware company not software, they use the software ecosystem to force you to buy their hardware

This is what a lot of people thought and it is actually the other way round, and as Steve Jobs put it himself [1], Apple is a software company, you just have to buy its hardware to use it.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEeyaAUCyZs

Hangouts/Meet already works on all devices and OSes.

This is a bit like Swift - it's really only attractive to those in the Apple ecosystem and doesn't acknowledge the world outside of it.

The OP is discussing it in regard to Apple’s developer conference. If there is ever a situation where the audience can be assumed to be Apple centric, this is probably it.

Hangouts/Meet hardly works for me at all, and definitely not in Firefox. It's like the old days when "DOS isn't done til Lotus doesn't run".

It's too bad, too, Hangouts used to be a nice platform.

Funny enough, Firefox is the application I use to access Hangouts. I usually join Hangouts via their share URLs.

On iPadOS the Hangouts app has, without a single exception, always failed to join the call. Tapping the link to open it in Safari just causes Hangouts to tell me I need to use the app. Manually pasting the link into Safari sometimes works and sometimes shows the same "please use our app" message.

On macOS the camera is black in Safari and provides no image (even though permissions are granted). It shows the little camera icon in the address bar, but the camera LED stays off and I'm not getting a picture. This seems to be a Safari issue in general though, because I just tried a bunch of sites and neither of them worked (but did in FF). So Firefox it is

I use Hangouts Meet on a daily basis with Firefox, and AFAIK everything works. Screen / window sharing, live transcripts, recording, etc. all work fine.

There was a period a few months (over a year?) ago where Hangouts Meet would reject Firefox and tell you to use Chrome, but certainly not anymore.

Hmm, sounds like I need to give it another shot.

It’s definitely failed for me during the current school year (2019-20). Usually the audio fails to come through, or one side of the call gets booted off as soon as the other side joins.

It worked great on Mac in late 2017 and early 2018.

I'm also using a Mac, as are most of my co-workers, and it's fine for us 99% of the time.

If you're on Catalina, be sure to grant the appropriate permissions to FF. You should only have to do this once -- the first time -- but this could explain why audio's not working for you.

> when they notice that there are many engineers that wanted to get help, but they couldn’t afford the travel to California

I think the restriction for a lot of these bigger conferences (WWDC, Google's big Android conference) is how many people the physical space can hold. The tickets always either sell out really fast, or they have to hold a raffle for them. So they're definitely aware that there are lots of people who want to attend but are unable.

You shouldn’t forget the people who want to go but can’t afford it (in my country I have to work 3 full months juste for the 1500$ ticket)

I didn't forget about you (well, us)—it's just that, even if they made it more affordable, they still couldn't increase attendance, since their space was pretty maxed out.

But hey it just can't be really compelling if it is Apple device only.

Yep, I'm guessing 90% or more of Fortune 500 companies use Windows computers. FaceTime will only run on MacOS / iOS devices, so even if it was a superior video chat product the exclusivity of the app is what kills it. Zoom, however, works on just about all devices.

Just had some coworkers complaining the other day in slack about use of RingCentral since its rebranded zoom but software won't run well on their linux dev machines! Zoom itself they have no issues with, unless other people join using the RingCentral client apparently.

tl;dr - yes, a compelling video chat software must run well on all employee devices for real success

FaceTime doesn't necessarily have to support only Apple devices:

Petition: Keep your promise to make FaceTime open source https://www.change.org/p/apple-inc-keep-your-promise-to-make...

Legal battle may be to blame for Apple breaking Steve Jobs’ FaceTime promise https://macdailynews.com/2018/06/07/legal-battle-may-be-to-b...

It doesn't have to be, though. Just like iMessage is hugely successful despite being limited to Apple devices, and even then widely differing in features and reliability, for example, between iOS and macOS.

A wonderful collaborative experience could just be a USP for the platform. FWIW, the now obsoleted iChat was way ahead of the curve compared to the current iteration of FaceTime in group settings, anyway.

This of course is great for public health, but I feel real bad for the hourly workers who depend on these conventions to get work.

The folks they hire to check people in, guard the door, move furniture around, hang signs, etc.

Those folks probably don't have much to fall back on.

Working in the service industry already sucks -- it's a lot worse when there is no one to service.

Your intuition is correct. To contextualize this, I own and operate hotels and restaurants in the US and internationally.

In this particular case, my cluster of hotels in the Bay Area have seen our revenues drop by roughly 50-60% in the first week of March and it's only going to get worse. I've seen the numbers for Seattle, and it looks like the Bay Area is about 3-4 days behind on the revenue drop.

I also own several restaurants in San Francisco and on average, revenue is down by 70-80% this past week. Along with many large restaurants in San Francisco, we're planning on closing permanently (or perhaps offering only one service per day) for the next two to four weeks.

Even though my top line revenue is falling through the floor, my expenses are largely unchanged. In the SF market, labor is my most significant cost and with our restaurants, rent is close behind. Without people to service, my direction has been to prepare for the future -- deep cleaning rooms, scrubbing kitchens spotless, constantly patrolling public spaces with cleaning solution and wiping everything down, and performing as many renovation/repairs as possible.

The worst part about all of this is that at some point, with no revenue, I won't be able to afford to keep paying my employees even if they're busy cleaning. I'll furlough them, but I know that this may cause some (many) of them to not be able to pay for housing, food, or transport in the near future. I'm currently working on contingency plans to make sure that my employees are properly taken care of, but it's been rough.

It’s really unfortunate that as a country we haven’t yet figured out how to offer relief for people in industries harmed like this.

If it were up to me, we’d be figuring out how to temporarily suspend rent, loan payments, and taxes to people who are quarantined/isolated/hospitalized/furloughed due to the crisis, and temporarily block evictions. We’d be expanding public food assistance and just directly paying affected workers. We’d be figuring out how to deliver food and medication (and test kits) safely to those in need. We’d be figuring out how to scale out childcare for any child whose caretakers all get sick.

We’d be closing all restaurants to the public but organizing restaurant workers to (while taking strong hygiene precautions) make prepared deliverable meals. We’d be organizing taxi drivers to work as delivery workers. We’d be maybe organizing empty hotels to e.g. host medical workers who need to be quarantined away from their own families for a while, or potentially even turning some into temporary hospitals.

We’d be retooling existing factories to produce necessary equipment like face masks, antiseptics, mechanical ventilators, ...

This is one of the richest societies in the history of the world. A pandemic is an economic challenge but we can afford to keep everyone going through a few months of acute crisis, if we make it a policy priority.

> we’d be figuring out how to temporarily suspend rent, loan payments, and taxes

This. Under society-wide crisis, it's madness that the economic impact is supposed to just stop at landlords, moneylenders, etc. There are instances where individual organizations are trying to do the right thing, but the only humane thing to do is spread the impact (and recovery measures) across everyone.

> it's madness that the economic impact is supposed to just stop at landlords, moneylenders, etc.

Who is advocating this position that you think is "madness"? This is an evolving situation that individuals, local, state, and national officials are figuring out as we go along. There is no consensus on any of this and the response needs to be (and actually is) distributed not centralized, IMHO.

Never mind the fact that the huge difficulty with this situation is that the ultimate impact is unknown at this point. How many people will need to be hospitalized? What treatment plans will be discovered? What is the impact of putting the economy on life-support for weeks? Will social distancing be enough to stop the spread?

May I ask your age? You sound a bit young. The things you talk about are well-within the purview of the government.

If this were happening in the 1980s, I think that we would have kept our calm better. I was a child then, and my grandparents were in their 50s/60s and had seen the Great Depression and World War II. My parents' generation (the boomers) were full of well-trained doctors and nurses. There was a general level of competence and a willingness to give of oneself then that I believe was higher than today, even though we have more access to information now.

What I'm saying is that we need central solutions. Scientists and medical experts should be directing this. Like they used to, before several decades of being undermined by political and religious dogma.

You're a bit young to really remember the Soviet Union. I'll fill you in, a bit.

They used central solutions. Scientists and other experts directed the economy. Without the signalling mechanism of price, demand and supply got way out of whack. The economy collapsed.

Not young at all. Your belief in the wisdom of centralized groups of "experts", is historical naive and dangerous.

Note. I'm pretty much poking fun at the idea of things being centralized and driven top down. Not at the notion of "experts"

For restaurants, figuring out how to safely turn in person restaurants into sanitary delivery only restaurants could be a life saver.

You're a good person.

I'm just trying to do the right thing.

That is what a good person does.

Thank you.

What do you think of the governors order that they can take over hotels if needed?

I've read the executive order and I feel comfortable saying that I'm happy to commit my properties to housing quarantined folks with four caveats.

1. That they buy out the entire hotel and do not expect my staff to work. Essentially, I'd be turning the hotel into an apartment. I will not otherwise increase the risk of exposure for my employees or my guests.

2. That I am compensated fairly for the rooms. The government per diem rates for rooms ranges between roughly $200-300 per night in the Bay Area. I don't even want those rate to be honest -- there are likely better uses for that money. But I'd need enough to make sure that I could cover the cost of payroll, utilities, etc. This would roughly be in the range of $100 per room per night.

3. That I am allowed to keep at least one property myself. We have long-term guests and contracted business that are still staying with us now. I'd consolidate all of these guests into one property so that they could still receive the services they paid for. I have an obligation to try to provide service to them.

4. That the hotel is returned to me in the same condition as they received it in.

I feel like if these four items are satisfied, I'd gladly sign any contract. As far as I'm aware, this would be a win-win-win. The state would be able to secure cheap accommodations that are fully furnished and ready to go. Patients that need a place to stay are afforded a comfortable place of residence in quarantine. I would be able to protect my staff by sending them home and continue to pay them.

Edit: Also, I'm aware that they could just "commandeer" my hotels, but I hope that doesn't happen. That would make things far tougher than they are now.

I think those are reasonable expectation.

The whole hospitality / entertainment industry is going to be hurting. I know pretty much all conventions in mini-convention center attached to my building are canceled.

Lay-offs seem inevitable and you are right most people have no safety net.

Plus lack of sick leave...

Now Andrew Yangs universal basic income would be useful.

Layoffs have already started.

More useful than UBI are low interest loans provided by the SBA. If anyone here is being impacted by the downturn there's info here:


Congress also really needs to pass legislation for government secured loans for small businesses in particular sectors immediately, then expand it out as needed.

I don't fully understand how these loans are going to help. If I'm a business owner and all the sudden my revenue drops to 0 or close to it, getting a loan to keep my employees around is still not a great option because I'm going to have to pay it back later. Like the other poster said they were having their employees do maintenance, deep cleaning, etc, but how long can you do that before you have to send people home? And how long can you afford to keep paying them without bringing in revenue?

I guess if we're hoping this crisis only lasts a couple of weeks, loans should bridge the gap. And options are never a bad thing!

Can someone explain the rationale of how this works? I don't get it.

Does the small business take a loan (at 3.75%) to continue paying payroll, despite not having any income or any work for the employees to do? Or are all the laid-off hospitality/entertainment industry workers going to go get a loan to start their own businesses (not hospitality-related, obviously)?

What am I missing?

>Lay-offs seem inevitable and you are right most people have no safety net.

Not only that, looking at post crisis, all the Wages Gain that happened ( or not, with respect to inflation ) are going to reset, at a time where All developed countries have the highest inequalities and lowest working class will be struggling ever more.

And I have repeatedly pointing out, no UBI, Negative Income Tax will have any impact or changes without fixing first and foremost the most important issues; Housing.

And Bernie's M4A as well.

Medicare for all doesn’t pay the rent.

Wouldn't it mean you don't have to forego the rent in order to get tested and/or treated though?

True; rent should be suspended due to the crisis. The mechanics are tricky, and much worse, I have no hope of the actual policy leadership required to see this through here in the US. We're like an off-road vehicle with a suspension system built of cheap glass.

It will be a cascade. Rents is often backing a mortgage, so mortgages need to be suspended, mortgages backed by bonds and deposits, so interest repayments in people's retirement accounts need to be suspended and so on.

From the press release:

> Apple also announced it will commit $1 million to local San Jose organizations to offset associated revenue loss as a result of WWDC 2020’s new online format.

I work in the trade show & event industry, and a million is a drop in the bucket. Actually, it’ll pay for the artist fee for the welcome reception concert (think like a “Rhianna”)

The shows I’ve worked the overall topline budget for a 2 day single-company show at San Jose Convention Center (SJCC) that uses all of SJCC usually $30-40 million. Moscone South in SF is $35-50.

That’s just direct cost for food, Union, fabrication, etc... doesn't include venue rental (client usually pays that direct) & doesn’t count the extra that flow to the hotels, Uber/taxis that the guests generate.

Apparently Apple is pouring a million dollars into the local area to compensate a bit for the lack of business.

I read something similar today about Grubhub. It was giving money to restaurants and drivers.

Not only that, but I'd argue that downtown San Jose and the surrounding area probably get an economic boost with events at the convention center as large as WWDC.

DTSJ already has SJSU, but it wouldn't surprise me if having regular, large conventions helps quite a bit.

We should pay those people to improve communications infrastructure and build digital art/ifacts. Moderate Q&A forums, help route questions to the right experts.

Expand social insurance.

Not pay people to waste their time doing fake makework

Dispatching deferred maintenance is not fake makework.

And Apple dumping money into commercial enterprises around their convention site is a little bit like them investing money in a manufacturer to upgrade their equipment. Either we succeed together or not at all.

What if they aren't qualified to do those things?

As someone who's developed for Apple devices for years and having never attended WWDC due to distance and cost, this is potentially quite exciting :)

Thanks, there's slightly more information there.

The messaging is still sickly over-positive. There is not a single mention of the cancellation of the physical WWDC. It's merely alluded to.

This is weak sauce. I don't really understand the motive. Would the stock market be more upset if this message spelled out things clearly?

Apple hadn’t announced WWDC dates and location before this, so there was nothing official to cancel.

The motive for the positive tone is probably to build faith that the new event format will still be exciting and as valuable for developers.


Please indicate where WWDC was previously announced then.

(Sorry, please see my edit just now.)

As someone who has followed apple for some time, their messaging has always been overly positive. I agree that it could be plain and blunt but this company is frequently torn to shreds by the internet for even a slight misstep. So I am not surprised that apple adopts an overly cautious tone.

This was extremely expected: not just because of the fact that everyone is cancelling conferences out of an abundance of caution, but the Santa Clara county ban on gatherings over 1,000 people would have made WWDC infeasible.

If you look at the models, it's not so much an abundance of caution thing as a basic public health duty. (In California, large conferences are more or less guaranteed to result in spreading.)

Obviously many of these events are sort of special in person events that involve in person stuff that people like, social stuff, being there and etc.

But when I think of announcements of products and things I always think of now Nintendo went to Nintendo Direct... some of this stuff really is just fine being recorded and streamed only.

WWDC is far from a press event. It is actually a developer conference. From what I understand, the most valuable part is not the sessions, which you can stream online, but the access to Apple engineers who wrote the APIs you depend on.

especially because the documentation has gone to shit and WWDC presentations have become the canonical docs for a lot of the less visible stuff.

WWDC presentations and half-remembered quotes from engineers in sessions.

it's frankly a miracle any software is released on their platform

That’s sad. The developer community is really awesome to meet with in person during these events.

I was hoping it would be moved to later in the year, not moved online.

Not doable unless Apple also wanted to delay release of the iPhone. New iPhone means a new iOS which means new APIs, and Apple wants those APIs in developers' hands as soon as possible.

They may not have a choice, depending on how things are going in China.

This is finally happening, the real life gathering is so deprecated, only a few could attend while many millions of developers were interested in the subjects discussed. The lottery system was a sign of last breath, now the event can go on and be enjoyed by the large community.

Most of the content was already available online no? People from around the world could see the sessions after the fact. The only valuable component was the face to face interactions which can only be partially replicated online.

We are in 2020, the face-to-face can clearly be done online, even more when the audience is all over the world and technical.

This is how you 'do Coronavirus' - no 'abundance of caution,' no fear, just 'this is going to be new and awesome. We are excited to try this new format.'

Everyone knows the underlying reason, but it's less fearful and more 'we got this, relax.'

It's Pollyanna marketing.

And it's made Apple and their shareholders billions.

As expected, Google I/O, F8, MWC, WWDC, E3 have all been cancelled in person by the looks of it and some have been moved online instead.

If the decision is reversed to call off the Olympics (I hope not), then 2020 is completely cancelled.

At the risk of sounding grounchy, the Olympics is one of the show a lot of people actually want to get cancelled. Population was mostly against it.

And a part of it would have been about “volunteers” (like school/university kids/sponsor company employees requested by their board to participate due to lack of actual volunteers) working in the heat of the summer for a for profit organisation getting super preferential tax and financing treatment.

We have global events every year centered about the athletes, I wont be crying any tears for the IOC and officials not getting their payback.

> ...a lot of people...

Do you mean many Japanese?


I know very few people irl that are positive about the impact, and the polls where mostly negative as well (except those done by the IOC itself, who got up to 70% support at some point, go figure)

Anectodtaly that’s the usual reaction I see about the event: https://twitter.com/audiophilefreak/status/12386270677274583...

Build, Microsoft's premier dev conference, was also moved to online.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple, all host annual developer-focused conference. Among them Apple is the only one that doesn't have a livestream platform.

But to be fair though the rest are not all streaming their own event on their own platform.

While it's not a platform, Apple did develop and popularize the HLS protocol probably to solve precisely this problem - to run extremely popular live streams over commodity CDNs.

What? Apple's been live-streaming stuff for decades.

> Microsoft

For those who had to squint and think for a second, Microsoft owns Mixer (formerly known as Beam) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixer_(service)

Microsoft also has Microsoft Stream which I understand is more for Microsoft 365/Office 365 customers

> Microsoft Stream is a corporate video-sharing service which was released on June 20, 2017 that will gradually replace the existing Office 365 Video.


Microsoft wouldn't use Mixer for something like this, they would use a purpose-built website alongside Azure Media Services[1], as they have been for their big conferences that have had livestreams alongside the in-person conference for a few years now.

Microsoft Stream is basically login-required corporate YouTube, and as you surmised wouldn't really fit this model.

[1] https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/media-services/

Maybe not equal to all the others, which I couldn't say because I don't watch any of the first 4's events, but I've definitely watched the livestream of the WWDC keynote and SOTP each year.

I recall when I first started paying any attention to UX, there were a couple of people who asserted that a lot of UI metaphors get tested out in video games first. Then I noticed several other people suggests that algorithms sometimes follow a similar arc.

I think some convention runners might find some ideas by looking back at how Blizzcon has worked over the last half dozen years, where it has been a hybrid between a physical and virtual conference, where if you are lucky you can get admittance to the conference, and everyone else has streaming video of all of the events for a much lower price.

There are also satellite conferences which, while not quite as useful for the COVID-19 situation, does allow a degree of camaraderie without carting yourself clear across the country (or having carted yourself, relying on getting a pass that may not come your way).

I wonder how this affects teams at Apple. From what I heard before, some teams are already on crunch time before WWDC to bring whatever they’re working on into a state that you can ship as a beta.

WWDC has always been, like some of their devices, “exclusive”. More demand than supply. Will they keep limited registration, or might it open up to another tier of registrants?


Half of the conferences I'm aware of have cancelled this year. We are talking not-jokingly about cancelling the Summer Olympics.

Having a conference at all is newsworthy at this point. And they've had a few weeks or a month to come up with a completely new strategy for something they usually have a year to figure out?

Have you ever been involved in planning or running an annual event? It doesn't sound like you have. That people make it look easy is a testament to their skills, not the magnitude of the logistical problem.

You used a lot of words to say, "I hate Apple and this schadenfreude is not living up to my expectations."

There’s no tyranny and no abuse because no one is making you watch these things.

Just don’t watch Apple events if they make you unhappy.

That's an insanely vague message. I don't even really know if the HN title is correct.

Some of the language wasn't clear but "Apple also announced it will commit $1 million to local San Jose organizations to offset associated revenue loss as a result of WWDC 2020’s new online format." makes it sound like there will be no in-person conference.

We're entering the realm of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlinology here.

A vibrant community helps retain and acquire talent. And that said sum is but a small amount for Apple.

"Cupertinology", perhaps?

I like your term.

> cupertinology.com

> Make offer

Oh well.

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