As I write, we are just three days away from Apple’s biggest and most important event of the year.
The World Wide Developers Conference (or ‘WWDC’, or ‘Dub Dub’ – however you term it) is Apple’s annual chance to set the marker for what’s to come from the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and platforms such as watchOS and tvOS. Occasionally, they’ll give us a glimpse at some new hardware, too.
There’s just one issue. For the last few years, WWDC has focused on the same old stuff. I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that we’ve only seen iterative updates to each OS during that time. Equally, the last big hardware-related announcement at WWDC was back in 2020 when the transition to Apple silicon for the Mac was announced.
This year feels different for one obvious reason. The rumours have been consistent and detailed though to all but confirm the expected launch of a brand-new computing paradigm at WWDC in the form of a mixed reality headset and operating system.
Regular readers will know that I have many thoughts about Apple’s alleged foray into VR, but I am genuinely incredibly excited about Monday’s keynote.
These are the three things I want to see.
1. The long-awaited Macs
I won’t regurgitate my thoughts on new Macs from yesterday’s blog post, but I will confirm what I believe to be the Macs most people will want to see next week.
Within that bumper delivery of new hardware, I’m hoping there’ll be the long-awaited Mac Pro, a much-needed updated 24-inch iMac, and the rumoured 15-inch MacBook Air.
The reasons for each are super simple. For instance, the Mac Pro was all but promised by Apple last year, yet, to date, nothing has arrived. It’s late, anticipated, and, I assume, required by a very patient, niche audience. The rest of us just want to hear the silly numbers it generates.
The 24-inch iMac has been totally ignored by Apple for reasons I cannot fathom. The 2021 reboot was executed with perfection but I see no reason why that machine shouldn’t receive an internal update next week. Unless the sales figures say differently, of course.
As for the 15-inch MacBook Air – well, you didn’t know you wanted one until the rumours arrived, did you?
2. Mixed reality new world order
I need so much convincing about Apple’s expected entrance into the virtual reality market. Despite this, I am genuinely excited to see what they have to say about it on Monday. New stuff is good stuff, after all.
During a discussion about this topic on the latest episode of Eight or Sixteen (which drops tomorrow) my co-host Rob reminded me that most of Apple’s big hits were severely doubted to begin with. The iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch are great examples of products which, from the outset, were labelled as pointless, expensive, and completely tone-deaf when it came to the intended audience.
They’ve all worked out pretty well, though, haven’t they?
Will the same thing happen to Apple’s newest piece of hardware and the accompanying operating system? Could this really be Cook’s ‘Jobs moment’?
I still need convincing. But that’s why I’m excited for next week.
3. The usual OS updates
It feels rather refreshing to not be looking forward to the usual raft of OS updates at WWDC. For me, iOS has reached a stage of maturity where I genuinely struggle to think of new stuff I’d like my iPhone to do. If iOS 17 is iterative – no problem!
The same goes for macOS. It is, in my humble opinion, the best desktop operating system out there. I don’t care if Craig Federighi gives it nothing more than a light dusting this year.
tvOS? It’s great as it is!
There are reports of iPadOS gaining some form of new ‘docked’ mode for use in conjunction with the Home app and supported HomeKit accessories. That’s relatively exciting, but let’s not forget that Siri remains utterly useless. Apple’s assistant needs serious work before I can get excited about anything home-related.
The dark horse at WWDC this year could be watchOS. There have been multiple rumours about a significant overhaul of Apple’s class-leading wearable OS, and I think it’s about time we saw some big changes. watchOS hasn’t really changed significantly from a user interface perspective since its launch, and the idea that Apple has been investing significant time in raising the bar yet again is very exciting indeed.
One more… thought
It’s going to be a long night on Monday for yours truly. As excited as I am about WWDC this year, I’m also conscious of how much work it’s going to give me in the weeks that follow. That’s a great sign, though – and long overdue.
It’s a great time to be an Apple commentator. We’ve been crying out for new stuff beyond the usual raft of Mac updates and annual iPhone releases. Whatever Apple does next week, we’re at least guaranteed brand-new ventures to ponder, argue about, and, eventually, review.
I’d love to know, though – what are you most looking forward to next week at WWDC?