Apple's developer conference is around the corner, and we're predicting what the company will announce here.
Apple puts on a mostly-annual developer conference in California to showcase new software, software updates, and - sometimes - technologies that developers can leverage in order to make their apps more innovative and up to date. Apple calls this conference the Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, and although it's geared toward developers, consumers are invited to watch.
There's usually a healthy dose of consumer excitement in the keynote. Last year, for instance, Apple introduced a Siri-powered speaker called HomePod, a new iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch screen, watchOS 4 for Apple Watch, MacOS High Sierra for Macs, iOS 11 for iPhones and iPads, and more. As for WWDC 2018, we've rounded up what Apple might announce as well as how to watch live.
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When is WWDC 2018?
Apple's WWDC 2018 conference takes places in San Jose, CA - rather than the usual city of San Francisco, CA - from 4 June to 8 June at the McEnery Convention Center. It means, for the second time, it'll be held on the doorstep of Apple's new Cupertino complex. If you wish to attend, tickets will be distributed via a lottery system. Developers who win will be able to purchase a ticket for $1,599.
How to watch WWDC 2018
Apple will likely hold its keynote at 10am PST (6pm BST) on 4 June. It should be available to watch online through the dedicated Apple site or the WWDC app on iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. It'll be a two-hour event. We plan to embed the stream here when it becomes available.
What can you expect at WWDC 2018?
Apple uses WWDC to introduce new software, new hardware products, and to network with developers from across the world. This year, Apple is expected to introduce iOS 12, MacOS 10.14, WatchOS 5, TvOS 12, and new software for the HomePod, among other things.
Last year, Apple unveiled iOS 11 with a raft of new features. For instance, iMessages began to be stored in iCloud, so they'd sync across all your devices. There was also new changes to Apple Pay, Siri, and the Camera app. The Control Center was also refreshed so it packs all the features on one page, with sliders for volume and brightness. As for the next major update to iOS, it's thought to be called iOS 12.
It's expected to bring new Animoji for the iPhone X, as well as Animoji integration into FaceTime, allowing iPhone X users to chat with friends with Animoji characters applied as Snapchat-like lenses. A redesigned Stocks app is also rumoured, as is deeper Siri integration, an enhanced version of Do Not Disturb, improved parental controls, more augmented reality features, and a slew of stability enhancements.
Cross-platform functionality may also be introduced, allowing developers to design a single app that will work on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Several other features - including a redesigned Home screen, updated Photos app, and multitasking enhancements - were originally set for iOS 12, but those have been delayed, reportedly, in order for Apple to focus on under-the-hood improvements and addressing bugs.
Keep in mind iOS 12 probably won't launch until the next iPhones are announced next autumn.
Last year, instead of announcing an all-new system with an all-new name, Apple announced MacOS High Sierra as a major update to Sierra. Apple executive Craig Federighi wasted no time telling developers that High Sierra is "fully baked". The update was mostly focused on deep technology, like the introduction of Apple's File System and support for the H.256 video standard, Metal 2, and Metal VR.
In 2018, we're expecting to see a new version of MacOS with cross-platform compatibility, which will allow iOS apps to run on the Mac for the first time. Unfortunately, we don't know what other features might be included. We'll keep you posted.
Apple at WWDC 2017 revealed new features for Apple Watch, such as new watch faces, including a Siri Watch face to see relevant content, as well as diary notifications and news stories. The Music app was also improved. Apple even conducted a demo of the new dock, which shows recently used apps, so you're able to scroll through more easily than before. New fitness features were introduced, too.
A new version of watchOS will likely appear at WWDC 2018, but we don't know anything about it yet. We do know that the software probably won't release until late this year, considering WatchOS 4 just released for consumers last September.
Apple used WWDC 2017 to confirm that itself and Amazon had finally settled some differences. It said Amazon's Video app was coming to Apple TV, making the set-top a more attractive option. This year, Apple will likely unveil TvOS12 with a huge focus on original TV programming. After all, the company is said to be spending as much as $1 billion over the course of 2018 on original TV programming.
Refreshed iMacs and entry-level MacBook
Apple's iMac range was given an almighty boost last year. The iMac Pro was also introduced. The company may update its iMac range again, but don't expect a new iMac Pro, since that only just started shipping in December. Now, DigiTimes has reported that Apple is planning to launch a new 13.3-inch "entry-level MacBook" late in the second quarter of the year, which suggests an introduction at WWDC 2018.
While DigiTimes described the notebook as a "MacBook," it is unclear if it would be part of the MacBook range or MacBook Air range.
New iPad models
Last year, Apple introduced a 10.5-inch iPad Pro. It followed the 9.7-inch iPad and replaced the iPad Air 2. It looks like an iPad Pro, but with a larger 10.5-inch Retina display and reduced bezels. Apple said it "takes everything you love about the 9.7 inch and gives you a whole lot more to love". As for this year, Apple is reportedly about to unveil two new iPads, which could be in shops in just a couple of weeks.
However, if Apple doesn't unveil the new iPads this spring, expect them to show up at WWDC 2018 in June.
Smaller, cheaper HomePod
Apple announced its own music system at WWDC 2017 - in the form of the HomePod speaker. It has only been available for a couple monts, and it's currently only available in the UK, US, and Australia, but that hasn't stopped the rumour mill from churning and saying a smaller, cheaper model of Apple's speaker will be out later this year. If that's true, we can expect Apple to introduce it at WWDC 2018.
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