COVID-19 has forced the tech industry to cancel or reimagine major tech events left and right in 2020, including Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). This year, Cupertino will show off what’s next for iOS and macOS via livestreams instead of a large, in-person event.
WWDC 2020 runs from June 22-26, kicking off with a 10 a.m. PT keynote. Here’s what’s on the agenda, how you can watch, and the top WWDC rumors about what Apple has up its sleeve.
How to Watch Apple’s WWDC Keynote
Monday’s keynote will stream via Apple.com, the Apple Developer app, the Apple Developer website, the Apple TV app, and YouTube (embedded below). If you miss it live, it’ll be available to watch later. Those in China can also stream on Tencent, iQIYI, Bilibili, and Youku.
For developers, a “State of the Union” session will be available on-demand starting at 2 p.m. PT on Monday. “Hear directly from Apple engineering leaders as they dive deeper into the latest advances across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS,” Apple says. Watch via the Apple Developer app and website, or via Tencent, iQIYI, Bilibili and YouKu in China.
Starting Tuesday, Apple will post technical and design-focused sessions taught by Apple engineers on the Apple Developer app and website. New ones go up at 10 a.m. PT and Apple promises more than 100 sessions in all.
Apple is also hosting one-on-one developer labs by appointment only.
WWDC 2020 Rumors: What to Expect
WWDC is largely a software-focused show, with Apple demoing what’s next for its mobile and desktop operating systems. But we do get an occasional hardware announcement, and there are a number of rumors about upgraded Mac hardware.
At WWDC, we usually get a sneak peek of the next versions of iOS, watchOS, and macOS. Apple releases the OSes for developers so they can tinker with them before a beta release sometime this summer. The final launch will likely arrive in mid-September alongside new iPhones. Until then, here’s what the rumor mill has to say:
Home screen updates: 9to5Mac reports that iOS 14 will let you view your apps in a list view so you don’t have to swipe or pull down and search to see everything that’s installed.
Built-in translator in Safari: 9to5Mac also reports that Apple’s browser will add support for quick translations; no need for any third-party apps. A separate report indicates that iOS 14 will offer haptic alerts about specific noises (fire alarms, doorbells, crying babies) for those with hearing loss.
Use non-Apple apps as a default: Apple likes to control is ecosystem, but Bloomberg suggests that iOS users might be able to set rival browsers, email clients, or music apps as the default experience rather than being locked into Safari, the Mail app, or Apple Music.
Guided workouts: MacRumors tips the rollout of a guided workout app that will help get you moving during quarantine and beyond.
Messages upgrades: According to MacRumors, Apple is testing the ability to @ people in iMessage chats, as well as retract messages after they’re sent.
Multi-tasking on iPhone: Multi-tasking is pretty robust on iPad, but 91mobiles.com reports that Apple will bring some of that to iPhone with iOS 14. Check out the video below.
Overhauled Messages app: 9to5Mac says it “found evidence in iOS 14 that Apple is working to completely replace the Messages app on macOS, [meaning] Apple will bring the same Messages app from iOS and iPadOS to the Mac.”
MacRumors has a full rundown of new features reportedly coming to watchOS, including parental controls, the ability to share watch face configurations, and blood oxygen tracking.
Plans for ARM-Based Macs
Apple might discuss plans to drop Intel chips for ARM-based processors in Mac computers at WWDC, Bloomberg reports. The announcement would give third-party developers time to optimize their apps for ARM-powered Macs, which are slated to arrive next year. It would also mark the first time Apple has directly designed the processors inside Mac hardware, after previously relying on chips from Intel, PowerPC, and Motorola.
Apple leaker Sonny Dickson tweeted earlier this month that Apple will show off a new iMac at WWDC. Apple’s desktop got an upgrade last year, but another refresh could be welcome news to those looking to upgrade their work-from-home setups.
However, as MacRumors notes, newer reports indicate that hardware might be off the tablet for now. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens this week.