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This article was published on June 4, 2021

What to expect from Apple’s WWDC conference this year

Software updates galore

What to expect from Apple’s WWDC conference this year

Apple is hosting its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on June 7 in an all-virtual format again.

We’re expecting updates to iOS, macOS, WatchOS, and tvOS, along with privacy-focused features across Apple’s ecosystem. Plus, there might be some hardware announcements too. Let’s dive into it.

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

Apple introduced grouped notifications in iOS 12, and now it might bring a refresh to that system. According to a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, you’ll be able to set custom notification context modes.  These include modes such as working, sleeping, or driving. Based on that different apps will show you notifications.

Plus, the report noted that there will be changes made to lock screen and control center icons. An earlier leak on Reddit suggested that Apple might change the icon design to make them non-flat.

new iOS icons app store connect
Again, the old design on the left, and the new one on the right.

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As per a writer named Connor Jewiss, who said he saw some version of iOS 15, Apple’s health app will get new features such as food tracking.

Jewiss also noted that Apple might make some tweaks to the dark mode UI.

Gurman’s aforementioned report also highlighted that Apple wants to make iMessage a robust WhatsApp competitor. To do that, the firm will introduce custom auto-reply settings. A report from MacRumors noted that Apple’s already working on the ability to retract or delete sent messages.

The only notable thing we know about that’s coming to iPadOS is the ability to rearrange widgets on your screen — a feature Apple introduced for the iPhone last year.

Upgrade to the M1 chip

Apple unveiled its much-awaited ARM-based M1 chip last November, and it blew the competition out of the water. However, Apple has merely scratched the surface by including the processor in new models of the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro, the Mac Mini, the iPad Pro, and the iMac.

The M1 chip has limitations of maxing out at 16GB RAM and no support for external graphics cards. So we haven’t seen a truly expansive machine for professionals based on this chip.

A report from Bloomberg published last month noted that the new chip — expected to be called M1X or M2 — will have two variants. While the combination of eight high-performance cores and two energy-efficiency cores will remain the same in both versions, the GPU will have either 16 or 32 cores.

Hardware announcements

While WWDC is mostly a software affair, we might see some hardware announcements based on the new chip. Earlier this week, MacRumors reported a regulatory filing of seemingly a new MacBook Pro 16-inch model.

Multiple reports from earlier this year suggested that Apple might get rid of the Touch Bar in favor of physical Fn keys. Plus, we’ll see more USB ports, and return of the HDMI port along with an SD card reader.

Everything else

It’s expected that Apple might bring some improvements to macOS, tvOS, and WatchOS, but we haven’t heard a great deal about what’s coming. A recent job posting by the company hinted that it might club smart home and TV together under a new moniker of homeOS.

WWDC’s teaser image had a reflection of apps on the character’s glasses that got everyone excited about Apple’s rumored AR glasses. We might hear something about the company’s augmented reality vision, but I won’t hold my breath for it.

How to watch it

You can watch the WWDC live stream on Apple’s site or its Youtube channel starting 10AM PT/1PM ET/7PM CET/10.30PM IST.

Don’t forget to tune into Plugged for all the coverage related to the event.

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