The World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) is an annual Apple tradition dating back to 1987. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year, the conference will be held digitally for the first time ever. That doesn’t mean it will be any less exciting. As CEO Tim Cook takes the stage on June 22, there’s a lot to expect for fans, developers and journalists. Here’s an in-depth guide to WWDC20, from rumours to events.
WWDC Virtual Keynote
Apple executives will take the stage on June 22 at 18:00 BST (10:00 PDT) to unveil the latest upgrades for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS. It’s also possible we may see some new hardware, but more about that later. As always, the keynote will be broadcast live on Apple’s website, Event’s tab on Apple TV, Apple’s YouTube page and on the Apple Developer app. Unlike previous years, only employees will be in attendance, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
On Monday, the company sent out invites for the keynote. Interestingly, Apple did not use the word live in its invitation, so it’s possible the whole keynote is prerecorded. As a nod to the digital nature of the event, Apple’s invite features Memoji prominently. There’s little else to unpack from the invite itself, so it’s hard to guess what the company has up its sleeve.
Following the keynote, Apple will host the Platforms State of the Union, its developer-centric software event. This will go into more detail about Apple’s latest software releases and will be available to stream via the Apple Developer app and website.
From June 23 to June 26, Apple will run over 100 “technical and design-focused sessions helmed by Apple engineers.” Videos of the sessions will be posted every day at 18:00 BST (10:00 PDT) and can be accessed from the developer app and website. At the same time, developers can also sign up for 1-to-1 sessions with Apple engineers. Called Developer Labs, these sessions need to be pre-booked and are once again limited to Apple’s developer community.
- New Homescreen layout: leaked code obtained by 9to5Mac shows that Apple could offer a new list view, like WatchOS. There could be different sorting options, based on recently opened apps or notifications. There’s also a rumour that Apple could allow widgets to finally migrate to the home screen, allowing them to be moved around like app icons.
- Wallpaper management: wallpapers in iOS could be sorted into ‘collections’ like “Classic Stripes”, “Earth and Moon” etc. Apple could also open up wallpapers to developers, enabling them to create collections and integrate them straight into Wallpapers in the Settings app.
- Better Augmented Reality: nicknamed ‘Gobi’, Apple’s new AR app will allow users to explore the world around them in AR. This should allow users to receive in-depth information about a particular product, or a store.
- CarKey: the T&C in iOS 13.6 beta has confirmed the existence of CarKey, a system that allows users to lock/unlock vehicles right from their iPhone or Apple Watch through the Wallet app. Code also indicated that users will be able to share keys with others.
- Better password management: iCloud Keychain will get more advanced features, so it competes with password managers like 1Password. Users will reportedly be warned about reused passwords, and the ability to log into websites without SMS/email 2-factor authentication.
- App management: Apple is reportedly testing a feature that would allow developers to give users access to limited app functionality without having to download the entire app. Called ‘Clips’, the API is being tested with the likes of OpenTable, Yelp, DoorDash, Sony, and YouTube.
- Built-in translation: Safari is expected to get a new translation tool, built right into iOS. Translations will be processed by the Neural Engine locally on the device, and activated automatically.
- Find My app updates: Apple will allow users to find their lost devices in AR, using a red balloon. The company may also enable custom alerts, such as when a person does not arrive at a particular location by a certain time.
- CarPlay: users will finally be able to set their own wallpapers for CarPlay, which are expected to automatically switch between light and dark mode.
- Watch faces: Reportedly, Apple will introduce an ‘Infograph Pro’ watch face that brings a tachymeter. Leaked code also shows Apple may launch a collection of faces called ‘International’ that features country flags. Code also shows that users may be able to share their watch faces, through the iPhone Watch app.
- Photos: with watchOS7, users will be able to create a shared album with other users for the Photos watch face. Right now, users can only create a Photos watch face either from an individual photo or a limited group of photos from albums.
- Kids mode: Apple could allow parents to sync their child’s Apple Watch with their iPhone. This will allow the parent to activate and manage their child’s watch, as well as their own. There will also be a ‘SchoolTime’ feature, that limits what apps can be used at a particular time of day.
- Fitness: watchOS7 will allow users to measure blood oxygen level, but it is unclear if this feature will require hardware exclusive to the Series 6 when it launches in September. Sleep tracking is also confirmed to be coming, although again it is unclear if it will be hardware-specific.
- Messages: through Project Catalyst, Apple could bring the iOS version of Messages to the Mac. This would allow users to enable message effects and stickers on Mac. It’s possible that Messages apps could also migrate to macOS, bringing it at par with the iOS version.
- Shortcuts: Apple will also reportedly use Catalyst to bring the iOS Shortcuts app to the Mac. It could bring with it cross-platform automation for the first time.
Workouts app: nicknamed ‘Seymour’, the workouts app on tvOS will show fitness videos across a range of exercises – from core training to dance and even yoga. The app will reportedly be available for free, and sync with the users’ Apple Watch. Workouts will also be customisable.
Kids mode: a kids mode on tvOS will allow parents to restrict the time and apps a child uses when on the device.
ScreenTime: Apple could bring ScreenTime to tvOS across all account types.
Permanent audio output: tvOS 14 may give users the ability to permanently select a device for audio output, such as a HomePod or soundbar, rather than select the speaker manually through AirPlay every time.
If you want to access all of the developer events and videos, you will have to pay the $99 annual fee to sign up. FinalBoss will also bring you a deep dive into all of the announcements following the keynote, so stay tuned!
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