Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) begins Monday, June 6, and with the exception of a small in-person contingent invited to Apple Park that first day (including the all-important keynote), the event will remain online this year.
The week-long event offers developers a deep dive into upcoming operating system updates for all of Apple’s devices. This should be macOS 13, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, and tvOS 16. Sessions throughout the week will give us additional insight into each, but the keynote offers a glimpse of all the software highlights — and rumors point to a possible hardware announcement.
Here’s how to watch WWDC and what we expect to see during the event.
WWDC 2022: How to watch the keynote
The Apple Keynote will kick things off as usual; it kicks off on June 6 at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) and will be streamed live from Apple Park. As always, this one is open for all to view. You can tune in through Apple’s website, the Apple Developer app, the Apple TV app, or YouTube. If you can’t watch, follow our WWDC live blog, which starts early Monday morning and covers all the highlights of the event.
Next up is the Platforms State of the Union, which kicks off at 4pm ET (1pm PT). As the name suggests, it delves into Apple’s upcoming plans for each of its platforms. This event, and the rest of the streamed engineering sessions, are limited to registered Apple developers who have paid the $99 annual fee. We also bring you all the exciting news coming out of these events.
WWDC 2022: New Hardware?
While WWDC is a software event, every once in a while we get a new piece of hardware and this could be one of those years. The rumor mill is running at full speed about the possible announcement of a new MacBook Air with an M2 processor at WWDC. While the timing would be unusual, the current MacBook Air with M1 launched on November 17, 2020, so replacement is definitely overdue. Undoubtedly, Apple would love to have its successor ready for the rapidly approaching school laptop buy season.
In addition to what the M2 chip also offers in terms of performance improvements, there are a number of rumors about design changes. Like the MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 last year, the new MacBook Air is rumored to be allowed to be recharged with MagSafe. It should also have a pair of USB 4 ports and a headphone/microphone combo jack. Not the portstravaganza its Pro counterparts now offer, but not bad considering the other big rumor is that the Air will be drastically slimmer and lighter thanks to a reduction in bezels.
That’s the only hardware rumor that got pretty unanimous support from reliable leakers, but there’s another one that feels like an obvious choice. Apple kept it in the Mac family, closing the Mac portion of the March 8 event by saying the transition to Apple Silicon is “nearly complete, with only one product to go… Mac Pro. But that is for another day.” It’s hard to imagine a more fitting day than WWDC to announce that the final piece of the Apple Silicon puzzle is falling into place.
There haven’t been many rumors about the Mac Pro update, but that may be because the belief is that the design will remain largely the same as the 2019 model. Performance is definitely the bigger question and it looks like Apple will once again simply remix what it already has with leaker Majin Bu, indicating that it will combine two M1 Ultra chips to create an “M1 Extreme”. (No word on whether it will actually have Mountain Dew-based cooling to earn that ridiculous name.) There’s some disagreement on this point with others like developer Hector Martin expressing the belief that an M2 configuration might be necessary, but he relented after a leaked schedule revealed that it could be possible with existing M1 Ultras. Suffice it to say that this will be a remarkably powerful and extraordinarily expensive desktop.
We go to the less likely, we have Apple’s AR/VR headset† Rumors have suggested that it may be going into production from August or September, but even if Apple is considering a 2023 launch, it should give developers time to work on apps. What that could mean is Apple revealing some specs for the headset and details about what it might call “realityOS”, without giving us a glimpse of the actual hardware.
finally, the AirPods Pro 2 have become an eternal addition to the bingo card for any Apple event as we have seen rumors of the update to the 2019 AirPods Pro for over a year now. This would be an extremely strange time for Apple to announce them and there is a… argument that Apple should wait to release them anywaybut it would feel wrong not to include them here.
WWDC 2022: macOS 13
On to the software, the real star of the show for the developers. The next update to macOS could be called macOS Mammoth, but despite the name, the number of actual operating system updates could be quite small.
in his may “Power On” newsletterBloomberg’s Mark Gurman indicated that the System Preferences app will be redesigned to better reflect the iOS Settings app with settings organized by app. Other default apps like Mail, Messages, Notes, Podcasts, Music, Safari, etc. are also getting a makeover. He didn’t hint about the design changes for those other apps.
Gurman’s other big macOS prediction goes beyond macOS and that’s that Messages will get more of a social networking feature, including improved audio messaging.
🔴EXCLUSIVE: iOS 16.Be ready for interactive widgets! Apple is now working on these “big widgets” internally called InfoShack. I will tell you more about it soon. pic.twitter.com/GZF9zYjOswJanuary 26, 2022
WWDC 2022: iOS 16
While iOS 16 probably not going to be a major overhaul of the operating system, turning again to Mark Gurman, he claims there will be “pretty significant improvements across the board.” This could include new health tracking features and a much-needed update to notifications. Health tracking will tie in with the watchOS 9 features that we’ll discuss in a later section.
The notification update may extend the current “Quick Actions” feature from the notification shade to the lock screen. Specific apps may also receive updates to their notification processing, such as files, reminders, and email. Apple may be updating Focus mode, which was introduced in iOS 15 to help you customize Do Not Disturb for different settings and activities. In iOS 16, you may be able to get even more granular with these controls, a potentially crucial feature for users inundated with notifications.
Another leak suggests that iOS may get more interactive widgets† Apple’s widgets were solid out of the gate in iOS 14, but haven’t gotten much attention since then.
Joining the rumors of hardware announcements, Gurman also believes iOS 16 could include some insights into Apple’s AR/VR headset.
In less exciting news for older iPhone owners, the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and original iPhone SE may not be eligible for the iOS 16 update, according to iDropNews† While disappointing for those users, it represents seven years and six years of support respectively, surpassing all competitors.
WWDC 2022: iPadOS 16
While they are different, most of the new features for iPadOS 16 are the same features of iOS 16 making their way to the larger screen.
The only major rumored exclusive update to iPadOS this year is a new multitasking interface. After our recent look at the use of a iPad versus a Chromebook for work, we can certainly say that it is currently a huge shortfall for the platform, especially for the M1-powered iPad Pros and iPad Air. These devices are more than capable of a full multitasking experience and we hope it’s accurate.
WWDC 2022: watchOS 9
The highlight for watchOS 9 could be a battery-saving power-saving mode that’s an improvement over the current one Power Reserve Mode for Apple Watch† Anything that lets you go beyond the roughly one-day battery life for the Apple Watch Series 7or an Apple Watch, would be welcome as long as you don’t have to sacrifice too many features.
A Bloomberg report suggests that workout tracking is also necessary for some upgrades with new supported workout types and additional workout stats. Sleep tracking can also improve, which again hopefully means extending battery life, as your Apple Watch won’t be able to track your sleep when it’s dead. The report adds that Apple plans to offer new health features for women.
While third-party watch faces remain a dream, the Bloomberg report also indicated that Apple will refresh built-in watch faces, including some that will take advantage of the larger screen introduced on the Apple Watch Series 7.
WWDC 2022: tvOS 16
There’s no doubt that Apple is going to update tvOS 16 one way or another, after all, it doesn’t want to pass up the chance to mention Apple TV+ and its Oscar win, but there are no meaningful rumors or leaks about it within days before go to the keynote.
There’s been speculation about improved Apple Fitness+ support, additional smart home integration, and general improvements to the TV app, but none of it is earth-shattering. We just need to tune in to June 6 at 1pm ET to find out what Apple has in store for tvOS 16.