Today kicks off the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2018 keynote at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, CA. It is a highly anticipated event where tech giant, Apple showcases its new software and technologies for software developers. For developers, the WWDC offers a chance to get an idea of what the company will be working with in 2018 so that they can start planning ahead. For everyone else, it is a much anticipated glimpse at the interface refinements and exciting new devices. Despite rumors that the keynote will showcase advancements in software rather than hardware, we can no doubt expect to see some exciting innovation on both fronts. Here are a few things that have already been generating some buzz about the keynote:
iOS 12 and ARKit 2.0
Seeing as how most attendees of the WWDC are software developers, it only makes sense that Apple would announce, or at least release a sneak peek, of the iOS 12 features. It’s been a while since Apple has released a software update that redesigned the home screen and core apps like Mail, Camera, and Photos. However, in light of the recent battery controversy and known problems with iOS 11, the company has opted to focus on stability improvements rather than ‘cosmetic’ changes. Apple was also said to be prepping a way to make both first- and third-party iOS 12 apps easier to port over to Mac computers.
Rumors also indicate that iOS 12 will still have new features, including the continued push of Apple’s Augmented Reality (AR) ambitions with ARKit 2.0 that’s been tipped to include multiplayer gaming and the ability to leave virtual objects in the virtual space and come back to them later.
Likewise, the still-surface-deep Health app may get a small boost at WWDC 2017, and parental controls will almost certainly be in the spotlight, especially after recent concerns over childhood phone addiction.
Animoji might show up in more places in iOS 12, such as in FaceTime and, eventually, on the new iPad Pro 2018 when that’s ready to launch. Siri is also throwing hints out there of a revamp, and is due for an upgrade. Look for Apple to give us some next-gen Siri voices on June 4.
More smarts may come to iPhone 6S devices and newer thanks to their support of NFC. Apple is rumored to be expanding the NFC chip capabilities to unlock hotel room doors.
iPhone SE 2
After the success of the iPhone SE back in 2016, industry experts have anticipated Apple launching a second, upgraded version of the ‘throwback’ one-hand-friendly phone. We expect a new iPhone X2, iPhone X2 Plus, and a cheaper LCD iPhone in 2018, but we don’t believe they’ll launch until September. It would be highly unusual for Apple to launch a successor to the iPhone X so soon, especially since the iPhone X itself launched late into 2017. That’s why odds are in favor of the device registration pointing towards a new iPhone SE 2 in a variety of sizes and colors.
Though we’ve been waiting over two years to see an update of the iPhone SE, we may not be waiting much longer.
With the Apple Watch Series 3 having debuted just a few months ago, there are already rumors of a major OS redesign. And WWDC would be the perfect venue to show off new core functions for the smartwatch. If this rumor proves to be true, we will more than likely see the possibility of a sleep tracking feature added to the watch seeing as how Apple bought sleep monitoring app, Beddit in May of last year.
Unveiling of a new iPhone?
We already know for a fact that Apple will be releasing new handsets sometime this year, but it has yet to be confirmed which smartphones the company will announce.
A new iPhone X, or an iPhone XI, with a lower price tag might be a long shot for WWDC. Apple is likely to save any phone reveals for September when it historically launches new iPhones. That said, any new features Apple mentions for iOS 12 could give us hints about what it’s planning for future phones.
The latest rumors suggest that two models of the iPhone XI will be coming this year. With one expected to have an extra large 6.46-inch screen while the other has a 5.85-screen, both OLED displays. Neither is expected to be cheap, and it’s been suggested that they may switch from running on Qualcomm modems to ones made by Intel.
As for rumors of a cheaper iPhone X, rumors have floated around about a version lacking 3D Touch and using a cheaper LCD display could be that cheaper iPhone X, but we’ll probably be waiting a few months after WWDC to find out.
Redesigned MacBook Pro
We’ve known a redesigned Mac Pro is coming eventually, and Apple even recently made a point of reminding everyone when it said the following in a press release:
“In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design, as well as a new high-end pro display.”
It’s been a long wait, but a Mac 2018 could finally debut at WWDC. The conference has introduced updates to Apple’s computer lineup in the past, and what better group to tout a new, powerful desktop computer to than a bunch of developers. The new Mac Pro may also be one of the computers to come installed with Apple’s new, custom co-processors.
Hints at a new iPad?
There’s likely going to be iPad Pro 3 news this year, even if the next tablet doesn’t actually get called the iPad Pro 3. The last update to the iPad Pro landed in June of 2017, so a refresh at WWDC doesn’t seem like a complete stretch.
Rumors suggest it will come in 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch varieties, include Face ID, a TrueDepth camera and have a bezel-less design inspired by the iPhone X. With any luck, Apple will also take steps to make the new iPad Pro in 2018 more of laptop replacement than earlier models have managed to be. But, the latest rumors seem to be pointing to a release separate from WWDC. Instead, we may be getting a different iPad refresh.
We already for an entry-level new iPad 2018 with a 9.7-inch screen — a model that’s ideal for schools. It’s time for the Pro-level iPad to get its refresh this year.
Apple TV Content
The news surrounding Apple’s push into original TV content has been mounting, and WWDC 2018 may be when we get some more info. At last year’s WWDC, Apple didn’t talk much about its television programming plans, simply revealing the addition of Amazon Prime Video to its Apple TV app offerings. But, with original content on the way, there could be a fair bit more to talk about this year.
Apple has already started toying with original content, with Carpool Karaoke as an example. And it has also put more than $1 billion toward original programming, with its first efforts due to launch as soon as March 2019.