News broke this afternoon that the E3 electronics entertainment expo set for June in LA will be nixing its in-person event and going fully virtual. With companies having to make event decisions further out amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases, what are the odds Apple chooses to make WWDC 2022 its third all-virtual conference?

We’re currently in the middle of CES 2022, which has returned to an in-person event in Las Vegas this year.

However, in the weeks leading up to the show, quite a number of companies backed out with the Omicron COVID-19 variant spiking around the world and in the US.

And naturally, along with that a lot of press and consumers have skipped heading to Vegas for CES this year and participated virtually.

Six months ahead of its E3 show, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today that it would be shifting from an in-person event in LA to an all-virtual experience. As reported by VentureBeat:

“Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022,” the ESA said in a statement to GamesBeat. “We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”

9to5Mac’s take – Will Apple go virtual for WWDC 2022?

Apple could have more a bit more flexibility than the ESA or CES/CTA when it comes to deadlines for deciding whether to go virtual or not. However, one trend that’s been clear over the last two years is that Apple plays it safe.

It was one of the first companies to shut down its retail stores across the world as the pandemic began (and continues to do so) and its corporate staff is still mostly working remotely.

Previously, the plan was to see staff return to Apple Park in Cupertino starting in February 2022, but back in December Apple delayed that to a “yet to be determined” date.

Interestingly, today Apple announced its annual shareholder meeting for March 4 and it’s going to be virtual due to the pandemic.

With an in-person WWDC bringing together people from all around the globe, the uncertainty of COVID-19, and Apple’s track record of caution, another virtual WWDC seems most likely.

There’s always a chance that the pandemic improves as we head into spring and summer and depending on the timing and how it looks, Apple could opt to allow some version of in-person attendance. But the odds are likely in favor of a virtual WWDC 2022 since Apple will need to make its decision sooner rather than later.

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