Google Cancels I/O Entirely

The Google Developers Twitter account:

A #GoogleIO update: Out of concern for the health and safety of our developers, employees, and local communities — and in line with “shelter in place” requirements by the local Bay Area government — we sadly will not be holding an I/O event in any capacity this year.

Makes you wonder about WWDC. I think WWDC will happen online, even if the current “shelter in place” regulations remain in place through June. Will recorded WWDC sessions be harder to produce remotely than they would with Apple employees on site, collaborating together? Of course. But a lot of WWDC sessions have been slides-only with recorded audio — meaning no video of the presenters — for years. Professional quality video is way harder to produce than professional quality audio and slides.

Also, WWDC is far more important to Apple strategically than I/O is for Google. I don’t think Google, as a whole, really gives much of a shit whether Android developers are taking advantage of the latest and greatest APIs. I’m sure the Android team does, but not Google as a whole. The other annual announcements at I/O are all a bit scattershot. Apple, on the other hand, really does want developers to take advantage of each year’s latest iOS — and to a lesser extent, MacOS, tvOS, and WatchOS — APIs. WWDC is so important to Apple strategically that I think they would go to more effort to pull off an online-only version this year than they do to put together a normal in-person WWDC — and Apple expends a tremendous amount of engineering and design staff time and effort on WWDC in normal years.

But it’d be foolish, given how much the ground has changed in just the last week, to say today that a complete cancellation of WWDC 2020 is off the table. Nothing is off the table at this point.

Saturday, 21 March 2020