Apple will host its WWDC 2020 online due to the ongoing public health crisis
Apple will kickstart its Worldwide Developer Conference, known as WWDC, tonight with a blockbuster keynote which will see the Cupertino-based company showcase a number of the biggest software upgrades coming to its best-selling products. If the firm follows the pattern established over previous years, we expect to see a glimpse at iOS 14 – the follow-up to iOS 13, which powers iPhone and iPod Touch, iPadOS 14, tvOS – and potentially a new Apple TV set-top box to take advantage of some of the new features, watchOS 7 for the Apple Watch, and macOS. And that’s not all. Apple is also tipped to unveil new MacBook Pro and iMac hardware during the presentation.
All that’s to say, it’s going to be a pretty busy – and exciting two-hour-or-so presentation. If you own an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV or Apple TV and want to get a glimpse of the latest design tweaks in the works, new apps, and improvements to speed, you won’t want to miss it.
Apple usually hosts WWDC near its headquarters in Cupertino. However, the ongoing public health crisis makes gathering thousands of app developers from across the globe for a keynote and week of sessions with Apple software teams to ensure everything is compatible ahead of the launch of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and macOS incredibly problematic.
As such, Apple will stream the event to developers and offer sessions to discuss the new functionality in depth with video conferencing.
Ahead of the opening keynote, which will be held tonight, Monday June 22 at 6pm, here’s a list of everything we expect Apple to announce.
The next update to the iPhone is widely-tipped to focus on stability and performance. While iOS 13 was widely slammed for being buggy and packed with glitches – something that caused Apple to pull a number of high-profile new features from the operating system weeks before the release date. Over time, the software was improved, but Apple clearly doesn’t want a repeat of that launch this September.
That said, new features are rumoured to be in the works.
Stunning concept images imagine what the rumoured widgets would look like in iOS 14
iOS 14 Features: Redesigned Homescreen and Widgets
Perhaps one of the most interesting rumours for iOS 14 is that Apple could finally allow widgets, such as weather or recent text messages, to be read directly from the iPhone’s homescreen. That saves users from always having to launch an app. Twitter user ParkerOrtolani has shared some stunning renders based on leaks from an early beta-test version of iOS 14 that imagines what the new feature will look like.
This is something Apple fans have been desperately calling for – especially as the feature launched on the iPad last September. It would surely make sense for the iPhone to follow suit and it could finally mean fans of this device get more ways to customise how things look on the display. Developers will need to update their software to support the new feature, which has been available on Android since its initial launch almost a decade ago, so it makes sense for Apple to announce it this week to give them plenty of notice.
iOS 14 Features: iMessage
Another monumental update may arrive on the Messages app, with Apple looking to soon allow users to retract messages they regret sending. It’s also thought new features such as tagging someone in a group chat using an @ (if this sounds familiar, it’s likely because that’s exactly how WhatsApp handles the same feature). Not only that, but Messages on iOS 14 is tipped to allow users to mark messages as unread.
iOS 14 Features: Improved Activity and New Fitness App
We could well see the Activity App change with a new mode aimed at getting kids fit and sleep tracking might be added which will show just how much shuteye you’ve been getting. Another health benefit could be the launch of an all-new fitness app which will allow iPhone owners to watch videos that can walk them through various workouts.
The next iPadOS upgrade looks set to boost productivity
Apple only debuted iPadOS – an offshoot from iOS 13 with a slew of iPad-specific features. Although there were always dedicated iPad features in iOS, the creation of iPadOS was seen as evidence that Apple sees its tablet series – and specifically, the iPad Pro line – as a computing platform in its own right. With iPadOS soon to be in its second iteration, there are plenty of changes purportedly planned.
iPadOS 14 Features: New Default Apps
The ability to change default apps on iPhone and iPads is something fans have been demanding for years. And now, it could finally become a reality. According to the latest whispers, Apple could finally allow iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 users to change some default apps, including switching Apple Maps to Google Maps and Apple’s Music app to Spotify. That means asking Siri to play a song, or get directions to a destination, won’t immediately send you to an Apple-made app that you’d rather not use.
iPadOS 14 Features: iMessage
Just like on iOS 14, rumours suggest Apple will steal a leaf from WhatsApp’s book and bring the ability to tag contacts with an @ in messages on iPad. This could prove especially useful in busy group chats with multiple texts flying left, right, and centre. Expanded search features to track down older messages are also expected to make an appearance in iPadOS 14.
iPadOS 14 Features: FaceTime Screen Share
As millions stay home due to the ongoing public health crisis, Apple is widely-tipped to bring some improvements to its FaceTime video call solution, which is the default for all iPhone and iPad users. The ability to share a screen to everyone on the call could make it easier to use FaceTime in professional settings, as well as host quizzes and provide tech support for elderly family members.
It could also be useful when contacting Apple Support to diagnose an issue or find a solution. Apple already offers the ability to record your screen from Control Centre, so it’s an addition that makes a lot of sense.
iPadOS 14 Features: Widgets
One of the biggest changes purportedly coming to the iPhone is the arrival of fully-fledged widgets – similar to those found on Android handsets and tablets. As it stands, Apple allows iPad owners to pin the Today View on the left-hand side of the homescreen when viewed in landscape. According to the latest rumours, Apple will now allow these widgets to be placed in amongst the grid of app icons.
Not only will that break-up the slightly monotonous grid of rounded app icons that currently makes up every iPad homescreen, but it could also afford developers some interesting new opportunities when designing widgets.
For example, weather apps could show the complete 7-day forecast at a glance and smart home apps could offer shortcuts to switch lightbulbs on and off without the need to launch the app and scroll through menus.
iPadOS 14 Features: Keyboard Shortcuts
Earlier this year, Apple launched its new Magic Keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro range – bringing the tablet as close as it’s ever come to replicating a traditional laptop experience. However, the full-size keyboard doesn’t include a row of Function keys, which means adjusting the screen brightness and a number of other common tweaks involve rummaging through the Settings app.
With iPadOS 14, Apple is expected to address these complaints with new keyboard shortcuts to replicate the missing Function keys found on all of its MacBook keyboards.
Since Apple doesn’t allow third-party developers to create watch faces for its best-selling fitness-tracking wearable, the launch of a new watchOS operating system is the only time Watch wearers will get a new design to refresh their wrist-worn gadget. And this year promises to be no different. But thankfully, that’s not all it seems Apple has planned for the update.
watchOS 7 Features: New Watch Faces
This time around, Apple is expected to debut a new Infograph Pro watch face. It’s worth noting that the most recent designs have been limited to those with an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer. This is because Apple slightly expanded the screen size with this generation of the wearable, enabling it to squeeze more Complications onto its watch face designs.
Elsewhere, Apple is rumoured to allow Watch owners to share their customised watch faces with friends and family. So, you’ll be able to beam all of the Complications, colourways and even background images in an iMessage to contacts so that they can add it to their wrist with a tap.
watchOS 7 Features: Sleep Tracking
One of the biggest omissions from the Apple Watch is sleep-tracking. Rivals from Rivals and Withings have long offered the ability to track rest to monitor your health, but despite launching five generations of its smartwatches – and six major operating system upgrades – there’s still no sign of the feature making its way to the Apple Watch.
Could this finally be the year that changes?
Unbelievably, we’ve heard very few rumours about the next version of macOS. That could be due to Apple’s trademark secrecy …or because there isn’t all that much to say about it. Fingers crossed it’s the former.
macOS 10.16 Features: iMessage Improvements
One thing we have heard about the next version of the desktop operating system is that Messages will finally catch-up to its counterpart on iPad and iPhone. While those on iOS and iPadOS have been able to send MeMoji stickers, send text messages with full-screen effects like laser-beams and confetti, those replying from a MacBook or iMac have missed out on all the fun.
A complete overhaul to the Messages app built into macOS should fix all of that, rumours suggest.
macOS 10.16 Features: iCloud Keychain
Whispers also suggest Apple could be revamping its iCloud Keychain system to make it a true competitor to the likes of LastPass and 1Password. These password managers allow users to securely store of all their login information for websites and apps in a digital vault secured with a single password, fingerprint, or Face ID facial scan. Autofill means you don’t actually need to remember each login and as a result, there can all be unique – making invulnerable to hackers and cyber crooks. As it stands, iCloud Keychain is a watered-down version of these apps. It will be interesting to see what innovations the Cupertino-based firm can bring to the category.
Elsewhere, we could also see Apple announce a new range of MacBook laptops powered by an Apple-designed chipset – similar to the silicon inside its iPhone and iPads – for the first time. A redesigned iMac with a bezel-less display (allowing Apple to squeeze a larger screen into the same footprint is also tipped to be unveiled on-stage) and new Apple TV hardware to bring Apple TV+ shows like The Morning Show and Defending Jacob to a larger audience is also believed to be in the works.