Back into its more familiar early June time slot, albeit still remote this year, WWDC is set to see some hardware unveiled as well as the usual plethora of OS updates, but what exactly should we be looking for?
The biggest change to iOS this year is set to be around notifications, with the introduction of Profiles (ahhhh early 2000s features phone lovers rejoice), to have different prioritisation for notifications based on the current context e.g. no emails out side of working hours, no notifications while driving etc.
In addition to Safari pointing out what trackers it has blocked, iOS 15 is set to become more privacy conscious and point out when apps are also doing app tracking, and working around app transport transparency system that was introduced last month.
iOS is set to have a few small UI tweaks, such as how the Navigation Bar transitions on scroll, but the majority of these will come along for free for those using system UI components.
iPad OS didn’t get much love last WWDC, having seen the Magic Keyboard introduced earlier in the year, which meant a revamp to keyboard and more significantly cursor support in a mid cycle update. Now that the iPad Pro features the exact same internals as all the currently available Apple Silicon Macs, one would expect this years iPad update to be a significant one.
The low hanging fruit is a revamp to the widget system which until has be restricted to the left hand panel of the Home Screen. Like the iPhone on iOS 14, I would expect the iOS 15 to allow widgets to be placed anywhere on the Home Screen in a variety of sizes.
In addition to this an overhaul to multitasking and external displays is also desperately need, but I would expect to see minor tweaks rather than an overhaul to these.
macOS will see its now normal annual update, but unlike last years major UI revamp, expect this year to be a refinement year, with the major changes coming with improvements to Catalyst and SwiftUI.
watchOS will naturally inherit the notification improvements from iOS, but what is rumoured is the ability to create Watch Faces using SwiftUI, using the resource efficient architecture that Widgets now use.
MacBook Pro 16
The MacBook Pro 16” is set to be the next Mac to make the transition across to Apple Silicon, and with it being the developer’s laptop of choice, unveiling it at WWDC seems like an obvious choice. Unlike the MacBook Pro 13 that came out last year, this update to the 16” is set to be a ground up revamp, losing the TouchBar and gaining HDMI port. Most surprisingly will be the return of not only an SD Card slot and return of the MagSafe. More significantly this will be the first device to feature the M1X processor, double the top end specs which most significant will allow for 32GB of RAM … aka enough for Xcode, iPhone Simulator and Slack.
AR / VR Headset
Despite the ongoing rumors, and
Tim Cook’s Apple’s obvious interest in this area, I wouldn’t be expecting to see any AR or VR related headset unveiled at WWDC this year, but I wouldn’t mind being surprised!