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What to expect at Apple’s WWDC22

The Worldwide Developers Conference 2022, more commonly known as WWDC, organized by Apple is imminent. Here’s everything we expect and hope to see there.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is set to begin in a few hours, and rumors are rife about possible announcements. WWDC is the most important event of the year for the vendor, with all-product updates and the occasional major hardware announcement. So what will happen this year? Here’s a quick recap of all the things we’re hoping and expecting Apple to announce there this year.

OS and application updates

What is certain is that we will have a preview of the latest operating systems that will be launched this fall: iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9 and macOS 13. Regarding iOS 16, it may be the most important release of the year for Apple, simply because of the sheer number of iPhone owners on the planet. If you have a recent enough iPhone (iOS 15 runs on the iPhone 6s, so anyone with an iPhone 7 or newer should be able to get iOS 16), you’ll be able to install it when it comes out later this year.

But before that, it will have to go through a whole cycle of beta testing. iOS 16 will be announced at WWDC and then released as a developer beta (for registered app developers only) almost immediately after the keynote. Even if you can, don’t install it unless you have a second phone – it could very well be that the beta software has serious flaws that could disrupt important functions and even crash your device. New features announced for iOS 16 include a lock screen with interactive information or widgets (it will apparently only be permanently activated on the iPhone 14 Pro this fall), significant changes to the notification system and additional features for Health and Fitness applications. Perhaps most importantly, several of Apple’s built-in apps are reportedly in the process of being refreshed.

iPadOS 16 will integrate a majority of the features of iOS 16

A complementary update for iPad owners, iPadOS 16 should have most of the features of iOS 16, but adapted to a large-screen interface. When Apple gave the iPad version of iOS its own name “iPadOS” a few years ago, the two systems were similar in many ways, and that remains true today. Yet the iPad continues to benefit from adapted features and interface changes.

However, this year could be the year iPadOS breaks away from iOS. The most significant iPad-specific element we’ve heard in the rumors is a significant change to multitasking. It could be a radical departure from the current many ways to multitask on an iPad or a new method to add to the list. It could even be a mode that allows the iPad, when docked, to work with resizable floating windows, like a MacBook. We’ll have to wait for the WWDC presentation to find out.

macOS 13 is coming

MacOS 12 Monterey’s sequel should be MacOS version 13, but don’t take that for granted: Apple has stuck to one version number for 18 years, from MacOS 10.0 (Cheetah) in 2001 to MacOS 10.15 (Catalina) in 2019. But that nonsense seems to be out of the system now, with the latest two releases – MacOS 11 Big Sur and MacOS 12 Monterey – each getting a new whole number increment. As for the Californian geographic site that will lend its name to MacOS 13, that remains unresolved.

As for features, rumors say that most of the built-in apps that get major updates in iOS will also be updated here. System Preferences would be revamped to be organized like iOS’s Settings app, and other important features would allow your Mac to work with your iPhone and Apple Watch.

WatchOS 9 enhanced with health and fitness features

The latest Apple Watch operating system will also be unveiled at WWDC. WatchOS is more of a niche OS, but it could bring important health and fitness features to Apple Watch owners around the world. Last year’s WatchOS 8 update was available for those using a Series 3. If you have a Series 4 or later, you should be able to get the 2022 update, and the Series 3 might even get one more year in the sun. WatchOS 9 should also offer additional health and fitness features, but that’s a pretty easy prediction to make at this point. And like the iPad, the “system navigation” also needs updating.

HomeOS could replace HomePod OS

Apple is reportedly working on another operating system called HomeOS. This would be a name for the software that runs on HomePod speakers and the HomePod mini, currently called HomePod OS. Going to the trouble of renaming the software suggests that Apple wants to push harder to add functionality to HomePods in the future.

As Apple discontinued its full-size HomePod last March, this system would only work on one device, raising the question of where the vendor is pursuing its smart home strategy in 2022. Does it have other products? HomeOS-based in reserve? We will have to wait for the conference to find out.

A RealityOS dedicated to the mixed reality headset?

Before moving on to the hardware, it is worth mentioning the “RealityOS” rumor that has been circulating lately. A holding company believed to be an Apple shell company last year filed documents for a trademark on “RealityOS” that mention dates just after WWDC. Even though the screen company is likely one of Apple’s companies and the recording is legit, we don’t think Apple’s mixed reality headset or RealityOS operating system will be showcased right away. It would be a great surprise, but we shouldn’t have too many illusions.

A MacBook Air with a refreshed design?

Other rumors are circulating about a redesigned MacBook Air, possibly with an M2 chip. The machine has been hinted at since last year and is expected to feature a slimmer design with iMac-inspired colors as well as thinner edges. We could also see a MacBook Pro appear with an M2 processor, but it’s more likely to appear at an event in October, if at all.

The next MacBook Air may have thin white bezels like the MacBook Pro. (Credit: Jon Prosser x Rendersbyian/Twitter)

A Mac Pro at every WWDC?

Over the years, several Mac Pro models have been revealed at WWDC and this year may bring another. When Tim Cook takes the stage for his keynote, it will be two years since Apple announced plans to switch from Intel chips to its own processor, and the Mac Pro is the latest Mac to make the switch. We suspect Apple’s chip-based Mac Pro will be announced or shown, possibly without a price, with a release date near the end of the year. We don’t know exactly what it will look like, but we do know one thing: it will have super-fast processor(s).

We don’t know what the next Mac Pro will look like, but it will probably be smaller than that. (Credit: IDG)

An update to the Pro Display XDR

There are rumors that the Pro Display XDR could be updated in 2022 and what better place than WWDC, alongside a Mac Pro. There are rumors that Apple is working on a 27-inch mini LED display with ProMotion to replace the LCD display. And this time, we hope the stand won’t cost $999.

An upcoming Mac mini

The other Intel-based Mac in the line also needs an update. The next Mac Mini is expected to have a slightly redesigned shell, more in line with the just-launched Mac Studio (but thinner). But the main focus will be on the processor, which many expect to be an M1 Pro to give the Mac Mini a lot more power.

The iMac Pro is not dead

When Apple launched the Mac Studio, it also ditched the 27-inch iMac, but that doesn’t mean the great iMac is dead. Indeed, Apple could launch an iMac Pro at this conference with a mini-LED display, thinner edges and more ports. Maybe call it iMac Studio?

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