This year, for the second time, Apple’s WWDC will be held online, though there will still be plenty for developers to do virtually, including more than 200 sessions on how to build new apps and services.
The event begins with a keynote at 1 p.m. ET on Monday, June 7. Here’s what to expect based on the latest reports and rumors.
The device — like other recent computer and iPad launches from the company — would likely be built with Apple’s M1 chip, which it has said provides longer battery life and faster processing speeds, among other benefits. The new laptop could also bring back the popular MagSafe power connector, Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, said in an email last week.
Among other hardware updates, Apple could announce a new version of its AirPods, a breakout product for the company but one that is facing increasing competition from the likes of Google and others.
“I’m sure Apple is aware of that competition” and has plans to counter it, said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners.
“We expect to see the lines between the Mac and the iPad continue to blur with powerful demos of high-performance video editing software and more,” Wood said.
iMessage gets a social media makeover
Based on the company’s promotional materials for WWDC, a centerpiece of the event could be iMessage, the messaging service used by countless Apple device owners.
This could further inflame the tensions with Facebook that emerged over privacy.
Focus on privacy
Industry watchers expect Apple to double down on its privacy focus during WWDC this year.
The company may also introduce even more ways for users to control what data they share with developers and app makers in the latest iOS update.
Scrutiny amid Epic trial
The developer conference comes weeks after Apple’s blockbuster trial against Fortnite maker Epic Games, in which the 30% commission that Apple takes from developers was heavily scrutinized.
“In light of the controversy kicked up by the recent lawsuit with Epic, Apple will likely go out of its way to reassure the developer community that it has their best interests at heart,” CCS Insight’s Wood said.
The conference was mentioned on the stand during the trial: An Apple executive revealed that the company spends $50 million a year to put WWDC together, in an effort to shore up its argument that it does a lot to support developers.
“We turn the place upside down for developers,” Cook said during his testimony, citing the company’s responsiveness to developer complaints.
But Cook also acknowledged during his testimony that Apple’s ultimate allegiance and priority is its users.
“We’re making decisions in the best interests of the user,” he said, “and I think it’s important to note that sometimes there’s a conflict between what the developer may want and what the user may want.”
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