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WWDC – can we expect some great news in 1 week’s time?

Apple’s annual spring address at WWDC is just seven days away as I write, so, time we look into that crystal ball and see if we can flesh this event out.

image courtesy @ld_vova

Strangely Quiet

WWDC is historically for the software nerds and geeks who are deep in to their love of coding and programming. That said, it is not unheard of for us to get some hardware releases or previews too. What is very strange this year, is the total lack of any credible information of what are to be the highlights at this year WWDC. Clearly, as it predominantly a software event, it is much easier for Apple to lockdown on leaks as there is no supply chain to consider.

A few months ago, if there was to be any hardware at WWDC, the solid money was on the first release of M2 machines. The highly anticipated, colourful M2 MacBook Air was rumoured, as was the M2 Mac mini. The Mac Pro, the final machine in the companies two-year transition to Apple Silicon, was expected to be shown off as well.

Apple has resumed production
tweet from Ming-Chi Kuo

All these releases were rumoured, before the extent of the crippling chip shortages became apparent. In Q1 of this year, we had all expected production to be back to full capacity by now. Only this weekend, respected leaker Ming-Chi Kou, tweeted that the Quanta facility in Shanghai is resuming production, but only to 50% of pre-lockdown capacity.

WWDC – an in-person event

Well, it is and it isn’t. For the first time since COVID-19 hit, there will be some people, (developers) in attendance. It would seem odd therefore, for all those at Apple Park, to have paid for flights, food and accommodation, to not be given anything in terms of hardware at WWDC. Hardware, is, after all, the stuff we get excited about, right? I mean, what gets your Apple juices running more, the sight of a new Mac Pro, or new tiles in tvOS? I’d imagine those at Apple Park next week will witness Tim Cook open up events with a live presentation, before handing over to the pre-recorded sections. And, after all the goodies have been served, I could well see Cook coming back out onstage, to wrap things up. Although only relatively few in number, those at the Steve Jobs Theatre will have paid over decent money to have made the trip. Surely, they will be given something of a show…right?

So, what gives?

image courtesy @ld_vova

OK – let’s first deal with the software side of things, shall we? As mentioned, this year more than most, Apple has kept the lid firmly sealed on the rumour jar. But there are some pretty educated guesses we can make. The latest OS, currently codenamed Sydney, will be announced.

After low expectations of iOS 16, it actually seems as if there may be some significant upgrades. Notifications will again get a tweak, as will both the Messages and Health apps. iPad Multitasking is expected to see a bump, and something often overlooked – the lock screen is changing too.

When iPhone 14 is released this year running iOS 16, we can expect much greater integration of the lock screen, including features such as wallpapers that have widget-like capabilities. And it won’t stop there. We will finally be getting ‘always-on’ lock screens as well. Apple has now worked out the bugs to enable the phone to significantly turn down its frame rate, just allowing for glanceable information (much like Apple Watch Series 7), so as not to affect the battery life.

image courtesy @ld_vova

This year, Apple seemed bent on making quite a difference between the Pro and non-Pro model phones, though. The always-on feature, a new front-facing camera, Face ID, the A16 chip and the latest 48-megapixel camera will only be available on the 14 Pro and Pro Max.

iPad getting some love

image courtesy @ld_vova

I am not an iPad Pro user (yet!), but those who I know that use them are crying out for a better and more user-friendly interface. Windowing and multitasking seem to be in the sights of Apple, which may just appease iPad users to some extent. This was more or less confirmed by a tweet I saw from Steve Troughton-Smith. He has found details that infrastructure for a multitasking mode, has been found within WebKit.

What else?

It has been widely reported that the board at Apple have now seen actual AR/VR headsets at a recent demonstration. Although it is extremely unlikely that the much anticipated headset will be released at next week’s WWDC, we may at least get an insight to it’s future. The main focus on Apple Watch seems to be further developing the Health App, and it’s integration with iPhone.

Apple Watch Series 8
image courtesy @ld_vova

If there is to be any hardware, then Mark Gurman suggests it may well be the next gen MacBook Air that I mentioned a short while ago. A growing number of Apple employees have been spotted using the new MacBook Air, so that is promising.

M2 MacBook Air
image courtesy @ld_vova

Apple needs to get on top of these supply issues first, before releasing any more Macs that simply cannot be delivered. I have just checked on Apple’s website, and for a spec’d M1 Ultra Mac Studio, you’d be waiting until at least late August.

Talking Tech and WWDC

Next Monday, my blog will be later than normal, as I will watch the event live, and I’ll blog about it straight after, bringing you up to date, should you have missed it.

I’d love to know, will you be glued in-front of your Mac or iPad next Monday at 6pm watching WWDC? What would you most like to see? Is there anything you are truly hoping they deliver? Get involved and let me know.

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