WWDC 2024 Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

WWDC this year is set to be somewhat of an AI showcase across all of Apple’s platforms, but with no new hardware set to be unveiled how will Apple deliver its AI narrative?

visionOS and Vision Pro

visionOS being the newest of Apple’s OSs means that it’s the one that it is set to see the most significant updates over the course of the next few years, and therefore feature heavily at WWDC. visionOS is still currently pretty bare bones (not that I would know first hand being based in the UK!), but as you can’t currently rearrange apps that seems like an obvious candidate for visionOS 2. There have been rumours that internally the Vision Pro already supports mirroring 2 Mac displays, up from the 1 that is currently supported. Updating this would be a major improvement especially when developing for visionOS while wearing the headset.

WWDC will also see the announcement of the international availability of the Vision Pro, with it being fully rolled out by the end of the year. Given the narrative of less than expected demand I am surprised it has taken this long, but maybe reduced demand isn’t the case and its just been harder to secure all of the components required to manufacture them in the first place.

iOS and iPadOS

Unlike visionOS you have always been able to reorder apps in iOS and iPad OS, but the grid for organising apps has remained pretty much unchanged since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, besides the introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14. This year we are expect to see increased flexibility to the Home Screen, removing the constraint of having to fill each screen from top left to bottom right, but while still maintaining the snap to grid structure. This will mean that you can keep all of your apps near the bottom of the device for easy access with your thumb, or organise them around the focal point of a wallpaper.

Another personalisation option will see the ability for users to customize the color of app icons, with developers opting in by including a layered vector app icon. I expect the majority of indie apps opting in, but not the bigger companies. Ironically a number of indie apps charge one way or another for app icons, so it will be interesting if this update makes that revenue steam obsolete.


AI is the buzzword of the year, but the truth is Apple have been doing AI … or what they refer to as ML for a number of years, particularly with photos, both in the processing of images but also for recognising faces and places. Also we can’t forget the ML powered keyboard autocorrect that was introduced last year, which although was a welcome improvement was probably overhyped at the time. With this in mind, I expect Apple to subtly rebrand all of its previous ML efforts to be AI, with a (somewhat annoying) recap of the most significant AI driven features that are already available.

In addition to this I would expect Siri to become more conversational, while maintaining local processing where possible to limit the amount of data leaving to reduce privacy concerns. That being said I do expect some local AI features to be limited the iPhone 15 Pro and iPad Pro M4, due to the Neural and CPU performance constraints on prior device generations.

The biggest unknown will be how Apple decides to process off device requests, with all things pointing to a partnership with Open AI. I imagine the conversational interactions will be limited to Siri rather than a dedicated chat bot, with answers clearly marked as coming from Open AI to avoid any potential damages to Apple’s brand.

An area that Apple seems to be behind on is being able to point a camera at a subject and have the assistant give you more information about it. I expect to see this introduced on both the iPhone and Vision Pro, and despite its lack of portability also include layering of augmented reality content on the Vision Pro.

Apple’s operating systems have for a number of years donated user activities to the operating system in the form of intents, enabling context to be added to reminders and the ability to handoff between devices. I would expect this functionality to be enhanced with AI, reducing the need for explicit donations, and have a deeper level of integration with Siri, Spotlight and Shortcuts.

AI will also be integrated across iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and macOS, offering auto complete and replys in Mail and Messages, summarising notifications such as when coming out of Do Not Disturb, but I think Apple will be more cautious when it comes to the analysis of health data.

Swift 6

Swift 6 has been developed out in the open, so other than surprise inclusions from Apple at WWDC (looking at you property wrappers) we already know what we should expect.

The major change is the stricter concurrency model for the language, which is set to require some significant changes to satisfy, particularly as most apps are built on concurrency models that predate Swift such as Grand Central Dispatch and Operation Queues.

Another addition to the language that is likely to effect day to day development in Swift is the ability to specify what type a method throws in the case of an error, which should clean up error handling code dramatically.