An Apple Park graphic that promoted WWDC 2023

Mac Studio, visionOS 2.0, iOS 18, Apple AI: What to expect from Apple for WWDC 2024

Apple will be holding WWDC 2024 in June, showing off its operating system updates and possibly new hardware. Here’s what the rumor mill thinks will happen.

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is the company’s opportunity to talk about future software and hardware changes happening to its many different platforms.

Held in early June, the event has pivoted from a chiefly in-person gathering to a heavily online experience. One that helps developers know what’s on the horizon, and how to code apps to take advantage of the inbound new technologies.

The event is chiefly one that concentrates on software, specifically Apple’s major operation system releases that will arrive in the fall alongside new iPhone models. However, it is also known to be the venue for Apple to introduce new hardware, too.

With the launch of the Apple Vision Pro earlier in 2024, as well as major changes to iOS 17 to deal with European legislation, this year’s WWDC should be one that all should pay attention to.

Naturally, the rumor mill is offering expectations of what Apple will unveil during the event. This is what has been rumored by various leakers and reports, months ahead of the event itself.

When will WWDC 2024 happen?

As an annual event, WWDC takes place in June, and has done so since 2007 without any breaks in both physical meeting and digital conference formats.

Apple tends to hold the WWDC toward the front half of June itself, with 2020 being the exception with a June 22 to June 26 event. Most of the last 17 events have taken place during the first full week of the month.

Based on that assumption, WWDC should run from June 3 until June 7. Apple is expected to say when WWDC will run in an announcement to developers sometime in March or early April.

That announcement will also clue developers in to the format of the event itself. Before 2020, it was an in-person event with tickets issued by a lottery system.

From 2020, Apple has held WWDC virtually, relying on streaming video and online resources to communicate changes to developers. In 2022, with COVID-19 becoming less of a factor, Apple started inviting developers to watch the day one keynote at Apple Park itself.

We’re expecting an in-person event in 2024, in much the same way the company announced the Apple Vision Pro.

Software – iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15, tvOS 18, watchOS 11, visionOS 2

With software the main reason for WWDC’s existence, and following Apple’s previous WWDC announcements, Apple’s next batch of operating systems will be the big draw for the event.

As per Apple’s usual naming conventions, these should be called iOS 18, iPadOS 18, tvOS 18, and watchOS 11. While we know macOS will be version 15 this time around, we won’t know the name followup to Sonoma until the main keynote.

Operating system updates for all of Apple's hardware will be previewed at WWDC

Operating system updates for all of Apple’s hardware will be previewed at WWDC

There is one more operating system that will feature: visionOS.

The Apple Vision Pro operating system is still at version 1, and has undergone numerous changes in its relatively short lifespan so far. Apple will certainly address visionOS during the event, likely with a shift to version 2.

Apple AI and accessibility changes

Early rumors from October put forward the narrative that the release of iOS 18 will be more focused on artificial intelligence than Apple initially anticipated. This has apparently included the creation of an internal chatbot titled “Apple GPT” and trials of generative AI for internal customer care tools.

For iOS 18 specifically, there is the belief that Apple will be incorporating AI into its various services, such as helping users write in Pages or create slides in Keynote.

Siri will naturally be boosted by this work, including improvements in how Siri fields questions and how Messages auto-completes sentences.

For developers, this AI work can include assistance in the Xcode development environment, with the use of AI to predict and complete blocks of code. This could streamline coding for developers, and may even help with tedious tasks such as generating code for testing applications.

Xcode could gain AI smarts at WWDC 2024

Xcode could gain AI smarts at WWDC 2024

These AI changes may even spread to Apple’s iWork app collection, after buying some related domains. Apple researchers have even created tools for generating images, both in static and animated forms.

In March, a rumor about inbound accessibility features in iOS 18 and macOS 15 said elements such as Voice Shortcuts that map accessibility features to spoken phrases could be on the way. Live Speech and Personal Voice for Live Speech could gain categories, helping users find frequently used phrases faster.

Increased font controls across the operating systems will also help users adjust the font sizes in multiple apps at once, rather than requiring things to be changed on a per-app basis.

As for which devices should run iOS 18, one leaker claims that it will be identical to iOS 17. For iPad OS, it allegedly won’t support the A10X Fusion chip or earlier, reducing the iPad list that will support it.

If true, iPadOS will run on iPad Pro models released in 2018 or later, the iPad Air and iPad mini from 2019, and iPad models from 2020 onward.

On the more unlikely side, there were claims that Apple was making iOS 18 look more like visionOS. A February report doubted this would happen, but that iOS changes would still be “ambitious and compelling.”

Hardware – New Macs

Though chiefly software-based, Apple does make major hardware announcements that are more aimed at developers than consumers. This usually means upgrades to items like the Mac Studio and Mac Pro.

Rumors have claimed that an updated Mac Studio with the M3 Ultra will arrive in the middle of 2024, which would line up with an announcement at WWDC.

Mac Studio could gain M3 Ultra updates at WWDC

Mac Studio could gain M3 Ultra updates at WWDC

If previous iterations are anything to go by, the M3 Ultra will effectively be two M3 Max chips attached by an interconnect. That means it will have double the individual chip components than the M3 Max chip.

While there has been murmurs about the Mac Studio being updated, the same cannot be said about the Mac Pro.

One December report said Apple could bring out an update to both Mac Studio and Mac Pro toward the end of 2024, meaning they could miss WWDC entirely. However, January’s report about the Mac Studio leaves out any mention of the Mac Pro at all.

Given Apple’s update to the Mac Pro was considered a massive fumble by the company, Apple has both a reason to update the Mac Pro to win back users, and to leave it alone for a while and to focus on Mac Studio.

WWDC is also a venue for introducing entirely new product categories, which in 2023 consisted of the Apple Vision Pro. At this early stage, it seems unlikely that any major changes will be introduced to the headset, but it will probably be discussed at some point.

[ For more curated Apple news, check out the main news page here]

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