Apple is expected to announce new features for the iPhone, Apple Watch, and more next week — here's everything we might see
- Apple will kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 3, where it's expected to unveil new software features for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac computers.
- It will be an important moment for the company as its App Store and its relationship with developers has been in the spotlight in recent months.
- In addition to revealing new software for its product lineup, we will also likely hear Apple address hot-button topics such as user privacy and its relationship with developers and consumers.
- For more stories, go Businessinsider.co.za.
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is always an important event for the iPhone maker, but this year's gathering is likely to be watched particularly closely.
That's because the conference comes just as Apple's widely popular App Store and its relationship with developers have been in the spotlight for a couple of reasons. Earlier this month, a Supreme Court ruling allowed iPhone owners to pursue a lawsuit against the App Store, in which the Apple customers argued that the 30% fee Apple charges developers makes apps more expensive for consumers.
Some app developers are also concerned that the company is unfairly using its position as the operator of the App Store to gain a competitive advantage. Spotify, for example, filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission over Apple's App Store policies, which it says gives the iPhone maker an unfair edge.
Several developers behind screen-time-management apps also interpreted Apple's decision to pull their programs from the App Store following the launch of Apple's own similar feature to be a targeted move, as The New York Times reported. (Apple says it removed these apps to protect consumer privacy).
As such, it wouldn't be surprising to hear Apple tackle these topics in some way on stage during its opening keynote, possibly by discussing how it prioritizes the interests of its customers and developer community.
Privacy has also been a prominent topic for Apple as well as other big tech firms such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon in recent months. Apple has been very vocal about its privacy efforts through a slew of ads and public comments as of late, and we're likely to hear more about this at its upcoming conference.
And, of course, among the most anticipated announcements are the new features coming to Apple's line of products, from its iPhones to the Apple Watch, Mac, and Apple TV, which the company will preview on stage.
Here's a closer look at what to expect.
Details on iOS 13.
As it typically does every year at WWDC, Apple will likely unveil its next major software update for iPhones and iPads.
This update, expected to be called iOS 13, will reportedly bring a handful of changes to Apple's mobile devices such as a new dark mode, a new swipe-centric keyboard similar to SwiftKey, improved performance, and improvements to several apps, as Bloomberg detailed.
There will reportedly be an update to the Health app, for example, that will add a section for hearing health and a new homepage, the report says. Apps like iMessage, Mail, and Maps will get new features to help them better compete with third-party apps like WhatsApp and Google Maps as well. There's also the possibility that Apple might combine Find My Friends and Find my iPhone into a single app in iOS 13, as 9to5Mac and Bloomberg have reported.
Apple could also add a new Sleep Mode to the iPhone that turns on Do Not Disturb, mutes notifications, and dims the lock screen when turned on.
As for the iPad, Apple tablet owners can expect to see better multi-tasking with iOS 13, according to Bloomberg. It may also bring a new home screen to the iPad.
The ability to run iPad apps on Mac computers, and other Mac software updates.
The biggest change coming to Apple's Mac software will be its ability to run iPad apps, an effort Bloomberg first reported in 2017.
Doing so could represent a big leap forward for both the iPad and Mac, considering developers will be able to create apps for both operating systems using the same code. That could hopefully result in better continuity when switching between the two, possibly making Apple's tablet a more capable productivity tool and its laptop a better mobile device.
Bringing its mobile features and apps to the Mac appears to be the theme of Apple's next Mac update, as Bloomberg also reports that it will add the iPhone's Screen Time feature, the effects and stickers from the Messages app, and Siri Shortcuts to the Mac. Mobile apps such as Podcasts, the refreshed Reminders app expected to debut in iOS 13, and the new app that combines Find My Friends and Find My iPhone will also reportedly make their way to the Mac.
Apple Watch updates.
Apple has previously used WWDC as an opportunity to divulge details on what's next for the Apple Watch, and we can probably expect this year to be no different.
We're likely to get a first look at the Apple Watch's next-generation software, likely to be called watchOS 6, which will bring a standalone App Store to the Apple Watch for the first time, according to Bloomberg. That means Apple Watch owners would no longer have to reach for their iPhone to install new apps onto the watch.
Otherwise, the update is said to include two new health apps for the Apple Watch, new watch faces, and new complications. Apple may also expand the Watch's compatibility with Mac laptops, as a report from 9to5Mac suggests new authentication features are coming that could make it possible to accomplish tasks such as verifying purchases when your watch is near.
Updates on new services coming later this year.
Since Apple has unveiled new updates for its Apple TV software at WWDC in the past, there's a chance that it could do so again. But considering it seems to have focused its efforts on the recently launched Apple TV app, it's possible the company won't spend too much time discussing TV software updates.
However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about Apple TV Plus, the subscription entertainment service Apple unveiled in March, such as when it will launch and how much it will cost. So there's a chance Apple could use WWDC as an opportunity to reveal those details.
Don't expect new gadgets.
Apple doesn't traditionally focus on hardware much at WWDC, although it has unveiled new Mac laptops and its HomePod smart speaker in previous years.
But since the company has already unveiled refreshed MacBook Pros, updated AirPods, new iPads, and an iPod in recent months, the chance of the company dedicating time during its keynote to hardware seems pretty slim. Apple also usually unveils its new iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch devices at separate events.
If it were to announce new products at WWDC, however, there are a couple of possibilities. The company is rumored to be working on a Bluetooth tracker accessory similar to Tile that may debut alongside the new app reportedly coming in iOS 13 that combines Find My Friends and Find My iPhone, according to 9to5Mac. TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also believes Apple could be preparing to release a new 16-inch MacBook Pro laptop and a new monitor with a 6K resolution as well.
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