Google I / O is done, and so is Microsoft Build – meaning Apple’s worldwide developer conference is the latest high-profile software for at least a month. If you’re one to take Apple at face value, this year’s WWDC is evolving to become the “biggest and best yet,” leading us to the obvious question: what is the company planning to showcase this year?
Short answer: a lot. We̵
WWDC begins June 7 with a main keyboard at 10.00 Pacific / 13.00 East, where Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s executives will guide us through some of the biggest changes in iOS, iPadOS, macOS and more. These addresses usually last a shadow over two hours, so be sure to block a lot of time. (Oh, and do not forget to take the time to watch our review editors Cherlynn Low and UK Bureau Chief Mat Smith dissect today’s news after the main feature on our YouTube channel.)
Of course, there’s a lot more to WWDC – after all, the show goes through June 11th. It’s just a catch: While WWDC is technically free to join, it’s only open to registered developers who have paid the $ 100 / year fee. This means that the event’s many sessions, deep dives and one-on-one developer labs are beyond the bounds of the audience. At the time of publication, Apple still keeps the full list of sessions under wrapping, but don’t worry – we’ll keep you updated on major developments that emerge after the main test.
iOS got a pretty significant renewal at last year’s WWDC – expanded widget support, a new app library, app clips and limited support for changing default apps were just a few of the changes found in iOS 14. Reports suggest we may be looking at a quieter year for iPhone, but we still expect it to get the lions’ share of attention.
The juiciest details we’ve seen so far come from Bloomberg, which claims that – among other things – Apple has improved the way alerts work in iOS 15. You will apparently be able to set an iPhone to handle incoming alerts in a different way, depending on what you do – say when you drive or sleep. Bloomberg also suggests that iOS 15 can be set to respond automatically to messages, depending on which of the statuses you have set. It almost sounds like a spiritual sequel to removing messages from the AOL Instant Messenger days. As a nerd who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, it is very exciting.
We’ve also heard that Apple may be preparing to show a new look for the iPhone lock screen, which will make sense if they plan to push the term “status” or “availability”. It is also linked to rumors that the iPhone 13 could embrace an Android style that is always on the screen, a feature that is only possible because Apple started using OLED screens in iPhones last year.
Now, considering how vocal Apple is about its focus on privacy, I can not say that I am surprised that the company seems to build on the App Tracking Transparency work that debuted in the latest version of iOS 14.5. For iOS 15, Apple has reportedly built a feature that shows users which apps are subtly collecting information about them. We’ve also heard that Apple plans to develop iMessage with more social features to help it compete with platforms like WhatsApp, but who knows if it will be ready in time for the update’s fall launch.
Apple has already highlighted a handful of interesting accessibility features coming to iOS 15, including a feature that plays soothing background sounds like rain, crashing waves, chattering streams and what Apple calls “light” and “dark” noise. It may not sound like much, but for people who are very distracted – like many of us here – this may be the iOS 15 feature that gets the most use.