What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2021

Apple’s annual worldwide developer conference (WWDC) will kick off tonight with a keynote (1am, Jun 8, SGT). This will be the second year that the 4-day event has to take place virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

WWDC has always been about software and letting software developers have an early insight of what’s coming up later this year.But WWDC have sprung some surprises in the past too. For instance, the re-designed “cheese grater” Mac Pro flagship machine and Pro Display XDR monitor were announced during WWDC 2019.

Here’s what we think might happen during WWDC 2021.

iOS 15 & iPadOS 15
This is almost a given. With every WWDC, there will be an update to the mobile operating system on iPhone and iPad. And this happen to be iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 this year.

According to rumours, there are going to be improvements in iMessage to make it more like WhatsApp, food tracking in Health app and more accessibility features.

And according to a Bloomberg report, there will be new ways to manage notifications. Users will be able to set different notification preferences depending on their current status, such as working, sleeping, or custom categories. Plus, there will be a menu to access these controls will reportedly be located in Control Center and on the Lock Screen.

With iPadOS 15, it is believed that the home screen might finally be allowed to add widgets like what iOS 14 is able to do now.

Other rumoured improvements include support for pro apps like Final Cut Pro and new multi-tasking app.

watchOS 8
With the update in iOS, there is an inevitable update in watchOS for Apple Watch as well.

It is rumoured that watchOS 8 will be offering new and improved health tracking features, such as better sleep tracking and hand-washing monitoring.

A Mind app was discovered by a developer called Khaos Tian, who was looking through a leaked updated App Store manifest . This points to an app probably to address mental health issues. He also discovered that there might be independent tips and contacts apps for Apple Watch.

Personally, I hope watchOS 8 allows third-party watch face native support.

macOS 12
Last year’s update saw the name leap from macOS 10.15 Catalina to macOS 11 Big Sur. So, we probably will see the new desktop operating system being macOS 12.

We can only guess which California place it will be named after. Why not San Jose? This is where WWDC would have taken place if not of the pandemic. And we missed this quiet city two years in a row.

In any case, the new macOS 12 is believed to be a minor update, according to a Bloomberg report.

M1 MacBook Pro
Currently, there is only a 13-inch MacBook Pro model running Apple’s M1 chip. But according to prolific leaker Jon Prosser, there will be new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros to be announced during WWDC 2021.

The new laptops are believed to be re-designed without the Touch Bar. And the MagSafe port, HDMI port and an SD card reader along with Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C ports will all be re-introduced in the new MacBook Pros.

In addition, there are rumours that Apple will announce the M2 chip – the successor to the current M1 chip. We will know if the rumours are right when Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the “stage” tonight.

You can catch the keynote (1am, Jun 8, SGT), which will be streamed “directly from Apple Park” via Apple’s website, Apple TV app and YouTube channel.

Trevor Tan

Started out with dreams to become a street photographer, Trevor Tan somehow became a tech journalist with over 16 years of consumer tech experience. Maybe he plays too much video games and buys too many new gadgets.
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