Apple's WWDC 2020 conference, also known as the Worldwide Developers Conference, will be an online-only event for the first time this year, with no in-person component planned due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc across the world.
The event is now in its 31st year and will take place slightly later in June than usual - from 22 June, in fact.
This event will still enable developers to get access to the next versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, and they'll even be able to interact with Apple engineers. Apple typically puts on its annual developer conference to showcase new software updates and technologies that developers can leverage to make their apps more innovative and up to date.
The conference, which normally takes place at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, usually costs $1,599 per ticket to attend in person but this time will be fee-free for developers enrolled in Apple's Developer Program. Apple said it plans to stream the full WWDC experience, complete with developer sessions. It'll announce more session information on the Apple Developer website in the coming weeks.
Even though the event is for developers, Apple is very much talking to consumers at the same time, allowing them a glimpse as to what their phone, tablet, watch, TV, or laptop will be able to do in the months ahead. Here is what you can expect from WWDC 2020.
As such, it seems the main keynote will be available for anybody to stream online for free.
When is the WWDC 2020 keynote?
You'll also be able to watch the live-stream of the keynote online via the Safari, Chrome, and Firefox desktop browsers.
It will probably be a two-hour keynote address, The rest of the conference will be restricted to those enrolled in Apple's Developer Program.
WWDC 2020: What to expect
There's a lot that happens at WWDC, but we're focusing on the important announcements for Apple customers and users. While we're sure you'll be keen to hear about new APIs and under-the-hood technologies, we're really only focusing on the products and services for consumers.
Every year, Apple introduces a major new software update for the iPhone.
This year, that update is thought to be called iOS 14, as it follows iOS 13 from the year before, and iOS 12 the year before that, and so on. Like those past iterations, an early test version of the software has leaked, revealing key features we can expect in the final release likely hitting iPhones this autumn. We're detailing everything we know about iOS 14 here, and we plan to regularly update that guide with the latest.
A few features expected include a new fitness app, a Slack-like mention system for iMessages, and the ability to set third-party apps as default.
Last year, Apple split off iOS into iPadOS. While iOS is for iPhone, iPadOS is for iPad. Both are so closely aligned that they follow the same update path. So, the next major of iPadOS will be iPadOS 14. It'll likely launch alongside iOS 14 but will have unique features for iPad users.
Early code uncovered from within iOS 14 hints that Apple is working on more advanced cursor support for iPads, blurring the lines further between iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS. It's implementing an auto-disappearing nature for the cursor. The theory is that, once the connected mouse has been motionless/untouched, the cursor on the display vanishes. Once the mouse is moved, the cursor reappears on screen.
Apple is reportedly developing the next version of its Apple Watch operating system, thought to be called watchOS 7, and it appears to be loading the software with big changes and features, including sleep tracking, new Infograph pro and International watchfaces, the ability to share watchfaces and set photos as your watchface, and even parental controls. Blood oxygen detection has also been rumoured. Check our rumour round-up for more.
Last year, Apple introduced macOS Catalina, which at the time was meant to be the next major software update for Macs. MacOS Catalina is here now, and for 2020, we can expect a new macOS update. This will be macOS 10.16. However, Apple typically gives its Mac operating system a name for a Californian landmark. We don't yet know what name Apple will choose.
Is that it?
No. We suspect Apple could announce a new Apple TV set-top box and an update to tvOS. We'll likely also hear about updates to ARKit and Siri. We also think it'll be the time that Apple announces Apple Tag, it's Tile tracker rival.