What to expect at WWDC 2019 - Pt 1

Apple has announced WWDC 2019 takes place in early June. What can we expect to see at the show?

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Apple

Apple has announced WWDC 2019 will take place in San Jose, California, in early June. What can we expect to see at the show?

What is WWDC?

Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) is the company’s annual developer event at which its engineers speak with the company’s vast dev community, explain what’s new within its operating systems and provide deep insight into how its systems can be used to build third-party services and products.

WWDC 2019 is the thirtieth ever such event and is expected to host 6,000 people with thousands more watching news and talks from the show online.

The first WWDC took place in 1983 and was a purely developer event until around 2002, when the company began to use the show as a place to announce new products, including operating systems.

What do we know about WWDC 2019?

We know the date: June 3-7.

The company also distributed a graphic for its news (above).

As you can see, this features a stylized human head with a brain full of code. Apple also said it would, “celebrate the breakthrough work of developers who are creating new experiences in areas including machine learning, augmented reality, health and fitness,” at the show.

While this is slim pickings for conjecture, it seems pretty clear Apple’s planning to show us a little more around all three topics.

This may involve new CoreML features, will certainly see news around AR Kit and may conceivably see the company reveal a little more concerning its sensor developments and plans for the Apple Watch and digital health.

What will Apple definitely talk about?

WWDC is Apple’s developer event. The company always reveals its plans for new operating system enhancements at the show – it must do so as it needs developers to build product for its platforms, and they need insight into any changes to the OS features and APIs.

This makes it pretty certain Apple will reveal new versions of macOS, tvOS, iOS and watchOS at the show.

What do we expect in iOS 13, tvOS 13, watchOS 6 and macOS 11.

Some highlights of these releases may include:

  • Mac/iOS: News on Project Marzipan and new sets of APIs that make it easier for developers to port iOS apps to the Mac.
  • Additional news around tvOS, potentially including APIs developers may choose to use in order to integrate the Apple streaming media service it is expected to announce later this month into their products. (Will Apple finally crack social media on TV?)
  • watchOS: We’re certain to see enhancements here, and I am curious if Apple will announce API’s for third-party medical devices – you can link your watch to gym equipment, so why not to a heart monitor?
  • Privacy is certainly going to get mentioned. Apple’s war against surveillance capitalism will continue, as will its battle to protect user privacy from the social and political distortion lack of online privacy has generated.
  • Health-related and accessibility enhancements feel inevitable (to me).
  • Siri will get smarter, more Shortcuts, more CoreML-based intelligence. Expect focus around voice enhancements, additional search domains and improved context and local awareness.

There are some other OS upgrade rumors in circulation at present. These include things like a new dark mode on iOS, improvements in file management and multitasking on iPad, muted email conversations and sleep tracking.

What might Apple talk about?

It seems reasonable to imagine that Apple will accompany news on Project Marzipan with news on new Macs upon which to build the iOS apps that now run on Macs. This is a developer show, after all.

What better to accompany this event than a glance at new Macs?

  • Apple has promised to launch its new modular Mac Pro this year while speculation suggests it is also looking to introduce a huge (32-inch) 6K Apple display.
  • An upgrade to the pro desktops could inspire an upgrade to the consumer/pro iMac range (iMac, iMac Pro) neither of which got enhanced in 2019.

The focus on machine intelligence, analytics and AR suggests we’ll see enhancements in CoreML, Metal and ARKit designed to make it easier to develop AR experiences on Macs for use on other Apple devices.

This also implies further news on the USDZ AR format Apple introduced last year and some focus on cutting-edge AR experiences, such as those once developed by sadly defunct UK company, Blippar.

Anything else?

While Apple is expected to introduce new iPads, AirPods and perhaps the new AirPower soon, its upcoming special event in March is likely to focus on news on Apple’s new streaming video content service and (I guess) launch of a low-cost Apple TV “stick” designed to make this service available to even more homes.

(Apple may talk a little more about its moves to make its services available on televisions from third parties).

What else do you expect?

We’re entering the annual Apple rumor season right now – these claims and speculations will doubtless expand as more claims emerge from inside Apple Park. I’ll try to keep you posted.

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