Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is one of the biggest events on the calendar. This year's show will take place June 7-11 and will be fully online (similar to many of Apple's recent events).
What can you expect at the fair? Will there be exciting new hardware and software features? We have all the answers you need here with an overview of everything we can expect at WWDC 2021.
iOS 15 and iPadOS 15
Two of Apple's main platforms are those that run on the iPhone and iPad. The company always uses WWDC to shed light on new versions of these operating systems, and this year won't be any different.
Details on these new releases (iOS 15 and iPadOS 15) are skimpy, but we can make some educated guesses. For one, we expect Apple to continue its trend of allowing more freedom in changing standard apps. You can now change the default web, email, and music apps. We hope they expand to things like calendars, reminders, cameras, and more.
One of the biggest changes in iOS 14 was the introduction of widgets. We anticipate that Apple will continue to refine this in iOS 15, possibly adding more widget options for its own apps, more features, and more sizes.
The next version of MacOS
MacOS 11 Big Sur saw the light of day at WWDC 2020 and turned out to be one of the best MacOS upgrades in years. Apple will want to maintain that momentum this year with the new version, dubbed MacOS 12 (rather than MacOS 11.1) according to 9to5Mac.
Chances are we'll be fine-tuning some of the features that Big Sur did so well. For starters, this means more widgets and more customization of the Control Center, which is already one of the best features of MacOS Big Sur.
We would also be happy to introduce shortcuts under MacOS. The Shortcuts app is a handy tool for iOS that lets you quickly start complex tasks that are activated with a touch or your voice. Bringing that to the Mac would be a great way to increase your productivity and save time.
Other operating system updates
While iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS are the big ones, Apple's other operating systems are expected to find some love as well. While we don't know many details about the next update for tvOS, there will certainly be some improvements and new features as Apple continues to focus on services like Apple TV +.
The operating system of the Apple Watch will also be switched to WatchOS 8. Rumor has it that we could get new health, battery and hiking apps from Apple, as well as a requirement to always be online in certain cases (e.g. when using Siri properties).
Pro level hardware
It's rare for a WWDC event to be entirely software-focused, and this year couldn't be any different. Rumor has it that there are many hardware products out there, but many are likely to hit the market before WWDC 2021 at Apple's spring event. So what we see in June largely depends on what doesn't hit the market in the spring. Those that are unlikely to be seen at WWDC include AirTags and a redesigned iMac as they are widely expected to show up earlier.
But that leaves a lot on the table. For one, there might be updates to the Mac Pro based on how many related rumors and leaks have appeared recently. Not only have we been able to see updates to Apple's most comprehensive, top performing Mac, but there are also strong rumors that Apple is also working on a half-size Mac Pro with an Apple silicon chip. Previewing this high-end device on a bunch of tech-savvy developers at WWDC makes a lot of sense.
If Apple decides to stick to the Pro theme, the company may also have time to sketch out the next versions of the iPad Pro and AirPods Pro. The former is expected to have a new A14X chip on par with the MacBook Pro's M1, a Thunderbolt 3-enabled port, and a dazzling mini-LED display. As for the latter, not much is known about the updated AirPods Pro yet, but we expect to learn more as the event approaches.
The future of Apple Silicon
Unfortunately, Apple is unlikely to introduce any new MacBooks at WWDC. According to Nikkei Asia, Apple has postponed production of two MacBook Pro models until the end of the year, making a release in October or November more likely.
However, there's a good chance Apple is talking about technology for its Macs – namely, new Apple silicon chips and the future of Intel's transition. A clue could be found in the WWDC invitation, in which a Memoji character looks at a half-open MacBook similar to Craig Federighi when he talked about Apple Silicon at the event last year.
We know that Apple is working on a number of updates to its chip platform, including processors with 32, 16, 12, and 8 high-performance cores (alongside four high-performance cores). Apple is unlikely to speak in depth about this at WWDC 2021, but it could shed some light on a few things it has up its sleeve.
Apple mixed reality headset
We mentioned hints in the WWDC invitation above. There's another possibility that some people have suggested: it suggests a mixed reality headset designed by Apple. However, we think this is very unlikely.
The proposal revolves around the app reflections in the Memoji character's glasses. The standard interpretation is that these are simply reflected off the MacBook screen. However, some people have claimed that it could actually be a representation of augmented reality apps projected onto the lenses.
Apple is rumored to be working on augmented reality glasses, but these are unlikely to hit the market until 2023 at the earliest, making WWDC 2021 a suspiciously early date for the reveal.
But could the invitation be more a reference to Apple's upcoming mixed reality headset than to its AR glasses? That is also doubtful. Reporter Mark Gurman, who has an excellent track record of Apple rumors, believes Apple will showcase its headset at a face-to-face event this year. However, WWDC 2021 will only be available online and will appear to be phasing the headset out of service. We hate being spoilsport, but at this point the hint of a pair of mixed reality glasses just seems like a case of wishful thinking. That doesn't mean they won't give us a preview, but we'll have to wait and see.