Apple’s WWDC 2018: iOS 12, macOS, and what else to expect

It’s that time of year again. The days are long, the sun is
shining, and Apple is getting ready to take the stage at its
annual developer conference to unveil a look at the future of
its iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS operating systems. That’s
right, WWDC 2018 is here, and it all kicks off on Monday, June
4th at the San Jose Convention Center.

The keynote starts at 1PM ET / 10AM PT on June 4th, and as
always, the The Verge will be reporting live from San
Jose with all the news as soon as it happens, so keep it locked
here for all the details.

The rumor mill has been almost uncharacteristically quiet about
Apple’s upcoming announcements this year, but here’s what we’re
expecting to show up:

Software

Given that WWDC is a developer conference, it’s become almost
tradition for Apple to unveil a sneak preview of the next
version of all of its major software updates for the fall.

iOS 12: iOS updates are usually the star of
WWDC, but temper your expectations for any big, flashy updates
at this year’s conference. According to a
report from Axios
, the next major iOS update is
said to focus on
improving reliability and performance
, which, given the

almost

unending

stream of issues
with iOS 11 following its release last
fall, is probably a good thing.

A bigger focus on reliability rather than new features

But there are a few things that we might expect to see. iOS 12
will be the first major update to iOS following the
introduction of the iPhone X, so it’s possible that we’ll get
some new functionality that will be better able to take
advantage of the iPhone X’s gesture interface, as alluded
to by Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive
when the phone
launched last November.

Axios’ report also mentioned that there are still some
new AR and health features in the works for this year’s update,
and it’s possible Apple might have decided to bump up things
like the redesigned home screen or updates to bundled apps that
were originally said to be delayed. There are also rumors from

The Independent
that Apple may be opening up NFC
on its devices to developers for things like transit fares,
plus, there’s always the chance that we might finally get
long-awaited features like better notifications or multi-user
support for iPads, although I wouldn’t necessarily hold my
breath. Overall — expect a better working version of
iOS, instead of a better looking one.


Photo by James Bareham / The
Verge

macOS 10.14: The rumor mill has been a bit
quieter about updates to Apple’s next version of its desktop
software, so it’s harder to say what to expect here. The one
big thing that might be coming is some sort of integration
between Mac and iOS apps — but the rumor mill has been divided
as to whether or not we’ll be seeing that at WWDC this year
(Mark
Gurman at Bloomberg says yes
,
John Gruber at Daring Fireball says no
), or to
what extent Apple will be implementing it, but it’ll be
something to watch for. Also, perhaps we’ll get a confirmed
name for the next version of the Mac operating system.

watchOS 5: Take this one with a grain of salt,
but an unverified rumor from MacRumors claims that
Spotify may be coming to the Apple Watch alongside a new
“StreamKit” framework in watchOS 5, which would be a pretty big
deal if true. There’s also probably going to be the usual slate
of new watch faces (including
a Pride-themed one that’s already leaked
) and fitness
features, as is usually the case for a watchOS update.

Siri: Put bluntly, Siri needs some work. The
digital assistant was once Apple’s shining crown jewel of what
the technology could be when it launched in 2011 on the iPhone
4S. But since then, Siri has stagnated in growth to the point
where it’s barely a viable competitor to its far smarter and
more useful counterparts in Amazon’s Alexa and Google
Assistant. If ever there was a time for Apple to announce a
revamped Siri (perhaps one that’s more open to third-party apps
and services, better at providing answers to questions, and
more consistent across all of Apple’s devices) it would be at
WWDC.


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales
/ The Verge

tvOS: The Apple TV certainly gets less of a
spotlight at WWDC than Apple’s other platforms, but expect to
hear something about the software for Apple’s streaming box at
WWDC. Apple has said before that
Dolby Atmos for Apple TV
is coming at some point, so that
might be something to look forward to. There also might be some
news about Apple’s nascent streaming service — which the Apple
TV will likely be a core part of — but given that it’s not
expected to launch
until sometime in 2019
, it’s probably too early to expect
anything.

Hardware

WWDC tends to be more of a software event than one focused on
hardware, but we’ve still seen physical products get announced
at WWDC in the past. Here’s what might pop up:

MacBook Pro refresh: Apple’s MacBook Pros have
been having a rough time, with increasing complaints about
failure with the butterfly-style keys. While it seems unlikely
that we’ll get a full-fledged redesign this year (the current
model is only a few years old), we might get an update with
upgraded eighth-generation Intel processors at the very least,
and maybe an increase in RAM.

Maybe Apple will finally upgrade the Air?

MacBook Air refresh: Rumors have been swirling
that Apple is working on some kind of update for the MacBook
Air, ranging from
Apple releasing a cheaper version
of the depressingly
outdated model currently for sale (according to former KGI
Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo), to a Digitimes
report that claims
that Apple has a new entry 13-inch
MacBook model planned with the same Retina display as the
existing 13.3-inch MacBook Pro.


Image: Apple

iPhone SE 2: Apple hasn’t launched an iPhone
in June since the iPhone 4, but it’s possible that the
long-awaited follow-up to the iPhone SE might show up at WWDC
this year (assuming it exists at all.) Then again, we’re
already close enough to September and Apple’s usual iPhone
event that it might make sense to just wait until the launch of
the other new iPhones then (again, if there even is an iPhone
SE 2).

AirPower: Apple’s AirPower wireless charging
mat was announced back alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone X last
fall, promised for sometime this year. There’s still no word as
to when Apple is planning on launching it, but maybe we’ll get
an update on it at the keynote this year.

Odds and ends: It’s been almost four
years
since Apple
last updated the Mac Mini
. Is that likely to change at WWDC
this year? Probably not. But it might. There’s also the chance
that a cheaper, smaller HomePod-style gadget shows up, or maybe
the
rumored Apple-branded over-ear headphones
.

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