Apple’s annual software conference is just around the corner. In particular, WWDC 2019 is expected to please the crowds. Not only will the company lay the groundwork for some of its most ambitious projects, particularly in AR, the company is also expected to rectify some of users’s most longstanding gripes with the iPhone.
The developers event is set to kick off June 3 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Before thousands of third-party developers, the company will explain the latest updates to iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.
Last year’s WWDC saw massive changes to Siri, the introduction of Screen Time, and a complete overhaul to macOS. This year, Apple is expected to build on its successes by refining its most popular products, particularly the iPad which will get more laptop like than ever before. Apple may also might introduce some foundational tools for more pioneering projects, like its expected augmented reality glasses.
Here are five game-changing announcements we expected to see at WWDC 2019.
5. A Long-Awaited iPhone Feature Will Finally Arrive
At long last, Apple is expected to put the iPhone’s dark pixel-enhancing OLED screens to good use. Dark Mode is expected debut on iOS 13, and it should look fairly similar to what debuted on macOS Mojave during WWDC 2018.
A 9to5Mac report stated that the low-light mode will come in the form of a new Settings option that lets users toggle between dark and bright shades for all apps, and the home screen, with just the push of a button. Night Mode will now be system-wide and work across all of iOS 13’s built-in apps as well as, potentially, third-party programs.
4. App Store Coming to the Apple Watch
The Apple Watch has proved widely successful for the tech company, and WWDC 2019 is expected to make it function much better as a standalone gadget rather than purely an iPhone accessory.
In fact, Bloomberg reported that watchOS will receive its own App Store so users don’t have to go through their iPhones if they want to add functionality. There will also be a new health features, a calculator, and an app for listening to audio books from the wearable.
This is a big change: Owning an iPhone will no longer be absolutely necessary if you want to pick up an Apple Watch.
3. Siri Expected to Become Even More Helpful
Siri still lags the Google Assistant, but WWDC could see it make up some ground. Apple reportedly plans on making it voice assistant more helpful in more scenarios.
First, Bloomberg reported that Siri Shortcuts will be integrated into macOS. This means Apple users can create custom Siri commands that run apps on their laptops and desktops. Siri improvements are coming to Apple’s other hardware as well.
Find My iPhone, for example, will soon help you track down other lost objects like keys, and it might add Siri support. The company reportedly plans to expand location tracking functionality under a project codenamed “GreenTorch.” The plan will reportedly fuse Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single app that may also include support for personal item tracking.
Lost your keys? Just ask Siri where they are.
2. iPads Might Actually Become Laptop-Replacers
The 2018 iPad Pro redesign posed Apple’s famed tablets as full-on laptop replacements, but reviews identified shortcomings. Reviewers praised its performance, for example its ability to rapidly transcode 4K videos, but its iOS mobile operating system left a lot to be desired, productivity wise. WWDC 2019 might change that.
iOS 13 is expected to introduce multitasking features and a more desktop-like file management system. This combination could make it simple to establish a workflow entirely based on iPhones and iPads.
Apps are expected to gain the ability to split up into multiple windows, which each window able to house multiple “sheets” that can be dragged and dropped. This could enable users to have multiple emails open on one side of the screen while also drafting a proposal or essay on the other.
A more comprehensive file management system will make organization far easier for developers that need to know exactly where specific files are saved on a device. These two changes could make the iPad into the laptop killer Apple wants it to be.
1. The Stage Will Be Set for Apple’s AR Glasses
Ever since Apple began encouraging developers to create augmented reality apps using its ARKit tool in 2017, it has become a touchstone of WWDC.
As Apple continues scaling up its AR ecosystem, it will start to look ahead to hardware. With Apple’s augmented reality glasses scheduled to drop next year, developers will need insights into how to create the apps and experiences that will run on them. For that reason, WWDC 2019 could include an uncharacteristic hardware introduction.
An April 9to5Mac report revealed that ARKit will begin supporting controllers with touch pads and stereo AR headsets. The AR tool will also get the ability to detect human poses, which pretty much sets the stage for Apple to introduce its own augmented reality headset.
These new capabilities could enable full-body Animojis and lay the groundwork for AR-based gaming in Apple Arcade, the company’s newly announced gaming platform subscription service. This year’s WWDC will be one to watch.