Apple is keeping WWDC free and online-only for 2021

What does Apple have planned for its "biggest and best" developer show?


For the second year in a row, Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference will be completely virtual. The company announced today that the online show will take place between June 7th and 11th — just like last year — and that it will once again be free to all registered developers. If that includes you, you'll be able to sit-in on Tim Cook's keynote and the many sessions that follow on Apple's Developer website, as well as the WWDC app available for iPhones, iPads and Apple TV.

“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," said Susan Prescott, Apple’s VP of Worldwide Developer Relations.

In addition to the dozens of panels and developer workshops WWDC is known for, the show is also important because it offers the world a detailed first look at Apple's next wave of software and platform updates. Last year in particular was a real doozie: after months of endless speculation, the company confirmed its plans to transition from away from Intel chipsets in favor of Apple Silicon. This year, we're expecting the company to walk us through new features and priorities in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, the latest version of macOS and more. Apple has also historically used WWDC as a platform for hardware launches, ranging from affordable fare like the original iPhone SE in 2015 to the high-end iMac Pro more recently.

It's too early to tell whether Apple plans to highlight devices at this year's show specifically, but it's worth noting that by this time last year, Apple had already announced a new version of the iPad Pro, a device many analysts expect will see a significant update this year. Meanwhile, rumors of new and refreshed M1 Macs continue to surface, and it wouldn't be a huge surprise to hear Apple execs casually segue into a product announcement when talking about the merits of its own homemade chipsets.

And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the fact that Apple's own WWDC teaser image features a Memoji wearing glasses looking at a half-open Mac laptop. Everything in the image is positioned to look like a reference to a Craig Federighi meme that made the rounds after last year's WWDC, but the way the Mac's dock is reflected in those glasses might be a hint that we'll get our first glimpse at Apple's wearable Glass in a few months.