Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference is the largest stage to present the latest software developments and discuss the roadmap. This year, however, the online-only event was pretty lackluster. While the hype surrounding the event is partly to blame, there are other valid factors this time around.
Even though WWDC 2021 was jam-packed with almost two hours of content, most people, including Apple fans, were unimpressed. However, if you haven't seen the event in full, you may not know what Apple did wrong.
Here are five reasons why Apple's WWDC event didn't attract any attention this year:
1. No hardware starts
We have said that WWDC is a software-focused event, and we stand by that statement. However, Apple has shown amazing products at WWDC in the past.
Apple presented the HomePod and iMac Pro at WWDC 2017. In 2019, Apple announced two of its most expensive products at WWDC, namely the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Did you forget all the memes about the $ 999 level at the time?
Apple even launched a MacBook at WWDC. However, the time had come in 2012.
As you can see by now, Macs have been in the limelight at WWDC events in the past. This year the stage was perfect for Apple to present the first high-end MacBooks based on Apple Silicon, especially since we are exactly one year into the two-year transition phase that began at WWDC last year.
The rumors and leaks surrounding the M1X MacBook Pro models didn't help either. In fact, it only increased people's expectations of the event. All eyes were on Apple to reveal the redesigned MacBooks.
Well, WWDC has come and gone, and we still don't have any official information on these upcoming MacBooks. People didn't get to see what they wanted to see. The result? Disappointment, but that's what we get when we expect too much.
2. It's an "S" year for iOS
When it comes to software, most people look forward to iOS every year at WWDC. Unfortunately, iOS 15 looks more like an incremental than a feature-rich update, unlike iOS 14 last year.
Don't make a mistake. There are a number of new features and quality of life improvements, but most of them focus on FaceTime and Messages. Yes, Safari got a makeover, but that's about it.
None of these new features will change the way you interact with your iPhone's home screen. Given that Apple introduced home screen widgets and customizations last year, many users expected more in this department.
All in all, we don't get a design overhaul with iOS 15 or any other major feature, and so we can call it a boring year for iOS, similar to the "S" year for iPhones. The good news is that the iPhone 6S with iOS 15 is entering its seventh year of software support, which is truly remarkable.
3. No Pro apps for iPadOS 15
The iPadOS announcement was arguably the most disappointing part of WWDC 2021. This would be the year of the iPads. Everything has been set up so that iPadOS is the focus of the event. Here's why:
Most recently, Apple launched new iPad Pros with the same flagship M1 chip that powered the Macs. This launch quickly caused a stir in the community, and several users began to assume that Apple had big plans for the iPad this year.
Fans were expecting professional apps like Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, and others to hit iPadOS this year. This would ideally make the iPad a laptop replacement, right?
Well that didn't happen. The closest thing to professionalism came a new version of Swift Playgrounds, which lets you develop apps right from the iPad and send them to the App Store.
We really don't understand what to do with all the power of the iPad. Unfortunately, the M1 chip and 16 GB of RAM will remain overkill on the iPad Pros, at least for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, iPadOS 16 can change that. Fingers crossed.
4. No major changes in watchOS 8
Moving on to the next iteration of watchOS, we have a couple of cool features like the ability to use photos as your watch face in portrait mode or unlock your smart door locks with a digital home key on the Apple Watch.
There's a new mindfulness app that's just the renamed Breathe app with a new meditation support feature called Reflect. Other than that, watchOS 8 is full of nifty tweaks.
The problem with this is that multiple users have been looking for some major new features like Control Center widgets and food tracking with the Health app. The alleged glucose monitoring app did not show up either.
So far, we haven't heard anything new that will change the way you use your Apple Watch.
5. No love for the HomePod
In May, Apple announced support for lossless audio quality for both the HomePod and HomePod mini in a future firmware update. However, when Apple announced at the WWDC event that it would bring Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio to all Apple Music subscribers, the HomePods were dropped.
No details were revealed on when these smart speakers would be supported and it was pretty disappointing as every other major Apple product was ready for lossless audio.
Plus, it's been four years since the original HomePod was first announced. Given how often Apple updates its products, isn't it time for a second generation HomePod with audio enhancements?
More Apple events to look forward to
WWDC is just one of many events Apple hosts in a calendar year. So it's perfectly fine if it doesn't turn out as great as most of us expected. On the plus side, there are even more events to look forward to, and they will all be hardware-focused in one way or another.
As we've learned from previous years, Apple typically hosts separate events for its Macs, iPhones, and iPads. So we just have to wait a little longer to see what the Cupertino-based company has in store for us. Maybe Apple can knock it out of the park in the hardware department.
Everything Apple announced at WWDC21
Here's what we learned about iOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS Monterey, and everything else Apple announced at WWDC this year.
About the author
(23 articles published)
Hamlin is a full time freelance writer who has worked in the field for over four years. Since 2017 his work has appeared on OSXDaily, Beebom, FoneHow and others. In his spare time, he either trains in the gym or takes big strides in the crypto room.
By Hamlin Rozario
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