Hopes are high too WWDC 2022. Rumor has it that Apple may be delivering huge upgrades to its operating systems. In addition, the company is nearing the end of an approx two-year transition to ARM chips, and many expect that there will be some long-awaited upgrades to the Mac. Throw in the buzz from a mixed reality headset and the keynote on June 6 may prove to be one of the most memorable in recent years. Here’s what you can expect when executives take to the virtual stage.
iOS 16 and iPadOS 16
Apple’s iPhone and iPad software updates are frequent the center of WWDCbut this year they may be more important than usual. Bloombergis Mark Gurman recently claimed that iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will represent “quite significant” upgrades that affect many aspects of the interface.
Key notes, such as health and messages, as well as notifications should see improvements. We can also see Android style detection of car accidents which automatically dials an emergency number. More importantly, iOS 16 can also deliver the first meaningful changes to the lock screen in several years. Gurman suggested “major improvements” that could include widget-style wallpapers. But reputable screen features that are always on may be limited to the future iPhone 14 Pro.
The OS updates can also refine multitasking, especially for iPad users. Code specs Steve Troughton-Smith noticed that the WebKit team recently added hooks for an iOS “multitasking mode” that allows freely resizing windows. Although we would not expect a completely Mac-like experience with iPadOS 16, Apple’s tablets could be more useful for heavy computers.
The probable release schedule is at least predictable. Apple has historically offered its first developers previews of iOS and iPadOS around WWDC, and public previews a few weeks later. The finished software tends to come in September along with new iPhone and iPad hardware. We expect iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to follow a similar pattern.
MacBook Air M2
Macs began moving to Apple’s internal silicon a year and a half ago. While the processing power has held up, there is no doubt that early M1-based systems like Macbook Air starts to feel outdated when x86-powered Windows computers catch up or advance. Thank goodness you might just see an update on WWDC. Gurman said earlier that Apple was testing nine or more Macsand planned to launch a redesigned MacBook Air with M2 at the conference.
The new Air can represent the first major consideration of the thin and light laptop since the Retina Display model came during 2018. As Jon Prosser and others have claimedit will probably have a more square design reminiscent of last year 24-inch iMac, and comes in several bright colors with a white keyboard. It is not clear if the camera slot will be transferred from the camera 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, but there’s a chance you’ll see a MagSafe power connection and more Thunderbolt ports. Unfortunately, the SD card reader and HDMI port from the newer pros may not work.
What about M2? Do not expect a big step in performance. The new system-on-chip is still believed to use eight CPU cores and would increase the GPU from a maximum of eight cores to 10. All other speed increases are more likely to come from minor architectural changes. The new MacBook Air may be more competitive with its competitors from the 2022 era, but you will probably not regret much if you bought the M1 model.
If a new MacBook Air premieres at WWDC, there is no guarantee that it will be delivered on time. Apple’s supply chain (like many others) has been affected by covid-19 stops in China.
MacOS 13, tvOS 16 and watchOS 9
As important as iOS and iPadOS may be, there are indications that Apple’s other platforms are queuing up for review.
Bloomberg‘s Gurman has hinted that watchOS 9 can make some of the biggest changes. You could see one low power mode which extends battery life without limiting you to basic timing (as with the existing power reserve mode). More recently, the reporter claimed the new apple clock software will have significant navigation improvements. You may also see more robust health tracking that provides more running statistics, better sleep tracking and a “load” feature that detects how long you are in a state of atrial fibrillation.
Other platforms may not see as profound changes. MacOS 13 will probably include a revamped system settings more in sync with iOS settings, not to mention some redesigned default apps. Apple TV owners should meanwhile anticipate more (if unspecified) smart home features.
Wildcards: Mixed reality headsets and more Macs
There is a growing amount of hype around Apple long-rumored AR / VR headsets, but we would not bet on a WWDC debut. Even if the company seems to be register trademarks and otherwise ready for an introduction, Gurman and analysts Ming-Chi Kuo have both expressed doubts. The technology does not seem to be ready for a public debut; late 2022 or 2023 seems more likely. We would not rule out a brief look to help developers prepare apps, but it seems doubtful without more evidence.
Similarly, we would not anticipate computers beyond the MacBook Air. Despite these rumors that Apple is testing nine M2-based Macs, there have been no signs of an impending release for most of them. An ARM-based Mac Pro still looks distant, and Gurman does not expect any other M2-based updates until later in 2022. That said, be prepared for surprises – Apple launched the M1 with three Macs.
You will probably not see other consumer hardware. WWDC is still a developer first, and Apple usually reserves new iPhones, watches and most other standard devices for the fall. The hardware that emerges is either focused on professional content creators (like Mac Pro previewed 2019) or intended to familiarize developers with new technology (such as 2020’s M1-based test beds). If the MacBook Air M2 arrives on June 6, it will be an exception to a normal rule.
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