Why Apple’s PR spin on this year’s WWDC cancellation is smart
Apple does not say a single word on coronavirus in its press release about the cancellation of the World Wide Developer Conference 2020 (WWDC). Instead, the company shows very impressively how to turn the cancellation of an important event into a perceived innovation.
Granted, Apple’s press release on the cancellation of WWDC 2020 is impressive in many ways. The headline alone, “Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2020 kicks off in June with an all-new online format”, shows how well-positioned Apple’s PR department is. Here, a crisis is turned into a new “innovative” format.
But to put it plainly: WWDC is Apple’s most important mass event with the keynote address in the autumn. Tech fairs such as the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, the International Consumer Electronics Fair (IFA) in Berlin or even home turf fairs like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Las Vegas, are never attended in the company from Cupertino. Instead, year after year, Apple cooks its own little soup with the WWDC, smaller educational events and the big product launch in autumn. Apple has elegantly communicated that it will have to cancel the WWDC this year due to the spread of the coronavirus. And in the midst of the public health crisis and uncertainty among the population and companies, Apple, unlike many other institutions, seems to have a plan to give the crisis as beautiful a name as possible.
The WWDC and new online format
Instead of a crisis report, Apple is issuing an announcement that could also promote the new iPhone. For example, Apple writes that WWDC 2020 would take place in a completely new online format and would connect millions of developers worldwide. Apple does not directly attribute the reason for the online format to the rampant coronavirus. But the Apple company does not completely sweep the seriousness of the situation under the carpet. It writes:
“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.”
Apple will also be providing an exciting indication of what’s new to expect at the online event, not just mentioning software-related changes: “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.
With its WWDC solution, Apple once again shows how important and meaningful well-thought-out communication is in times of health and economic crises. In the end, it is essentially saying: ‘WWDC 2020 is canceled in its original form.’
We are nevertheless looking forward to exciting new products, such as over-ear headphones, a new iPad Pro or the long-awaited iPhone SE 2. The date for the event is still to be announced. We will inform you as soon as possible when and where you can follow the live stream of the opening keynote of WWDC 2020.