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WWDC24 – better buckle up!

What to expect from Apple’s Developer Conference

WWDC 2024 invite

WWDC is only days away and I think one thing is for sure – it’s not going to be a quick event!

It’s never known for its brevity – last year’s was over two hours long, but something tells me that this year, even with no hardware being announced we could be looking at an almost 3-hour WWDC.

There is a lot to cover – so let’s take a quick run-through of what we expect to be getting come Monday.

iOS 18

This is the OS that’ll receive the most amount of stage time at WWDC.

Most of the new features that we’ll see in iOS 18 will also filter down through the other OS updates in some way and iOS is also the one that affects the greatest number of Apple users.

Apple has been saying this could be one of their biggest and most comprehensive iOS updates in history. Aesthetically it will look different as we’ll now to able to arrange apps as we want – with complete free rein. There will be new themes coming that will affect another new feature – namely being able to recolour app icons. If you fancy having your banking and financial apps all in red and socials in blue – well in iOS 18 you’ll now be able to do just that.

The Control Centre is getting an overhaul and a new look. Again you’ll be able to arrange the layout of the controls as you want and there’s rumoured to be a new Music widget coming. The Settings app will be refreshed and should now be easier to navigate, look less cluttered and have way improved search features.

Siri will be beefed up and we’re hearing it’ll be much more chat-based. Hopefully, Siri will now be able to suggest responses to Messages and emails and be able to summarise Notes you’ve made. The Notes app will also let you record voice memos directly to it and those too will be able to be summarised by this newly improved Siri.

Much of this is AI-driven of course and where possible Apple will carry out requests on device, but where that isn’t possible, Apple will send your requests to their server centres and every request will be encrypted with not even Apple being able to intercept them. We wondered how Apple would deal with privacy and AI – it seems this is their answer. Another one of those aI features is supposedly live emojis – not my bag, but if you love adding emoji to your messages then possibly this one will appeal to you.

Safari will get some visual improvements with Siri becoming more integrated and again chat-based in asking for answers to searches etc. Maps will become more individualised – if you know of local routes that are better than the ones being suggested by the app you’ll be able to override them.

Photos will probably be the app that gets the most new features as AI and photos are an obvious tie-in – re-touching and object removal for instance should start to catch up with what Google offers on their Pixel phones. The Reminders app will merge into a revised Calendar app which I guess makes some sense. AI is rumoured to be coming to the Music app and will curate better playlists based on your listening history.

As you’d expect though the vast majority of these features will only be available on the iPhone 15 Pro phones and newer. This isn’t only to drive sales of this year’s iPhone 16 range, it’s also because these phones are the only ones equipped with the latest Neural engines needed to power the new raft of AI features.

iPadOS 18

In essence, most of what I’ve just talked about coming to iOS 18 will also come to iPadOS 18 in one form or another, as long as you have one of the latest iPad Pro tablets.

The only rumours I’ve heard of iPad only features are the long-awaited Calculator app should finally make its way to iPad at WWDC next week but eye-tracking could also find its way to iPad. This will be similar to the eye-tracking currently used on the Vision Pro – so you’ll be able to navigate Safari tabs and apps hands-free. If that does come true, I can’t wait to see it in action.

watchOS 11 & WWDC

In a nutshell, Chat GPT will be coming to your wrist!

We’ve seen a couple of wearable devices come to market this year (like the Rabbit R1 & the Humane AI Pin), well this is Apple’s answer to those devices. Of course, Apple has a massive infrastructure in place already which will help them become instant market leaders in performing what they are calling on-the-go tasks.

Apple Watch has found its niche in recent years as one of the best health & fitness trackers but with a huge upgrade coming to Siri now too – Apple Watch could find yet another new lease of life.

The rest…

The remaining OS – namely macOS 15, tvOS 18 and visionOS 2 are all only getting fairly minor tweaks this year.

The Mac will get an improved Calculator app – what that actually means I’ve no idea and a better Settings app similar to that seen in iOS 18.

The Vision Pro which seems to have been largely overlooked right now is only thought to be getting a new Accessibility feature named Live Speech – text will appear in real-time on-screen during calls.

Other than some UI refinements and improved Siri search functionality I’ve heard of nothing else new for tvOS 18.

It all gets going from 6 pm BST on Monday and as I said, I think it will be a long event but one that will ultimately map out Apple’s AI future.

Long yes, but pivotal as well. This time last year it was tall about the Vision Pro, roll it on 12 months and now AI is the buzzword!

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