WWDC 2021: What to Expect From Apple’s Developer Conference

WWDC 2021: What to Expect From Apple’s Developer Conference
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Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) has kicks off early tomorrow morning and it seems like there’s a lot in store.

Similar to 2020, WWDC will be an all-virtual conference in 2021.

Being a developer conference, WWDC is typically where Apple announces its latest software developments such as new OS updates for its suite of devices. Here’s what we expect to see at WWDC in 2021.

iOS 15

Of course, the biggest thing to come out of WWDC conferences in the past has been the latest iOS build. For 2021, iOS 15 will be the new software and we can expect major details to come out here.

As iOS 14 was such a huge update — from widgets and labels to picture-in-picture and the App library — it wouldn’t be surprising if iOS 15 was more of an incremental update.

Still, there have been a few rumours.

Recent changes to Apple app icons like Apple Music and the App Store icons have people speculating that this foreshadows a new overhaul of the iOS design.

There have also been reports that there could be some changes to notifications that will allow you to set preferences based on your status. For example, f you’re sleeping or at work.

Custom auto replies that will allegedly be available on the Lock Screen have also been swirling around the rumour mill.

iMessage is also pegged for some updates to make it more competitive with other popular messaging apps. There’s talks of some changes to Dark Mode as well as a food logger.

A new privacy menu has also been rumoured, as has extra accessibility features. It’s possible that this could include the expanded support for hearing aids, background sounds and enhanced image descriptions for VoiceOver — which were announced in March — could find a home in iOS 15.

While iOS 15 will likely be announced at WWDC in June it’s unlikely to be rolled out to the public until September when the next batch of iPhones typically drop. But you should be able to get access to the beta before then.

But like with every major OS update, it will likely leave some phones behind. Rumours has it that iOS 15 will drop support for the iPhone 6 range, which would include the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus and the iPhone SE from 2016.

iPad OS 15

According to a report from Bloomberg, iPad OS 15 will bring “the most significant update” to the Home Screen since it originally launched in 2010. This will apparently include improved widgets.

Some of the aforementioned iOS 15 updates will also come over to iPad, including the new notification and privacy features.

Third-party eye tracking devices will also apparently be supported on iPad OS 15, allowing users to control it with eye movement.

MacOS 12

Of course there will also be MacOS 12, and along with it a fancy new name. The most recent new operating systems moved on from big cats to focus on Californian landmarks like Yosemite and Big Sur. Will this trend continue?

There’s been no big leaks about MacOS 12 yet so its possible that it will be an incremental upgrade to help further support the new silicon chips. I guess we’ll find out!

Again, little is known about these new software updates but it’s likely that Apple will try and keep new design features consistent across its devices. For example, widgets on iPhone were also introduced on iPadOS 14 and MacOS 11.

tvOS 15

With rumours swirling about a new Apple TV in the works it’s likely tvOS 15 could see a redesign in preparation for this.

We’re also hoping this means integration with Apple Arcade and Fitness+.

There have also been rumours as parental controls, Screen Time tracking and a child-friendly mode. But they have been hanging around since last year so who knows if that will actually happen.

WatchOS 8

On the Apple Watch front we should see WatchOS 8 make an appearance at WWDC. Like MacOS 12, there haven’t been many leaks yet, but there are rumours that the latest update could include some mental health features.

There’s also rumours that a blood sugar monitor could be added.

On the plus side, we do know that Assistive Touch is on its way, which allows gesture control. For example, you can make a fist to start a workout or pick up a call.

Apple Glasses

With WWDC getting an official date, some fresh speculation has sprung up around Apple Glasses. This AR/VR offering from Apple have been rumours for years now but we may finally see them for real.

So why are people thinking they will show up at WWDC? A ton of images released by Apple for the event include Memoji characters wearing glasses. Maybe it will be nothing, but it certainly seems to be a suspicious amount of spectacles that are hiding in plain site:

Those sure are a lot of glasses.

MacBook Pro

Meanwhile, renowned leaker Jon Prosser, has also come out and said that he has it on good authority that the M1 MacBook Pro will make its debut. Rumour has it that it will have a 64GB RAM upgrade which is huge if true.


How to watch WWDC

WWDC 2021 kicks off tomorrow! For us Aussies it starts at 3am AEST/2:30am ACST/1am AWST.

And you can watch it all unfold right here.

Disclosure: one of the authors owns shares in Apple.