Apple fans are going to have to resist the temptation to call in sick and spend a perfect summer Monday at the beach. The annual Worldwide Developers Conference is back and this year’s edition could be a doozy.
CEO Tim Cook and the usual cast of Apple department heads will take to the stage on June 6 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET to talk about all the latest software developments the company has to offer. Figuring out how to watch WWDC 2022 is easy enough, but you can’t really get hyped without knowing what to expect from the show.
Allow me to break it down for you. You can thank me later.
Like most years, we can stroll into WWDC knowing full well that Apple is going to show us the next iterations of iOS, iPadOS, and so on. I’ll get to those in a bit, but by far the most exciting rumor surrounding WWDC 2022 is the one thing that’s actually new: realityOS, the operating system powering Apple’s long-rumored mixed-reality headset.
It’s no secret that Apple wants in on the big AR/VR trend sweeping through the tech world right now (though apparently not in the way Meta is doing it), but a number of recent developments point to an unveiling of sorts at WWDC. Bloomberg reported last month that Apple executives have already tried out the device, though the same report noted that the planned reveal at WWDC might be delayed due to technical issues.
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Even if the headset itself isn’t ready for primetime, Apple could still make the software environment for it official at WWDC. The Verge spotted a trademark application for “realityOS” for the week of WWDC, and tech blogger Robert Scoble said WWDC would be the first of three major events related to Apple’s mixed reality plans. Software now, hardware later.
Maybe that would explain why Apple’s WWDC invite included a bunch of 3D character models.
No surprises here. Credit: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Sorry folks, but it’s time to go back to the normal Apple stuff.
Apple showing off iOS 16 at WWDC is roughly as likely as the sun rising in the morning. According to Bloomberg, this year’s iPhone software update will actually make some pretty major changes.
SEE ALSO: Apple is reportedly still hard at work on its first-ever foldable device
Push notifications are allegedly receiving some kind of overhaul, as is the Messages app. The latter will reportedly get some more social media-esque functionality surrounding voice messages, per Bloomberg. However, it sounds like the lock screen will get the biggest makeover of all: Wallpapers with widget functions and an always-on lock screen that could show you the time and date without waking up the phone are reportedly in the works for the upcoming iPhone 14.
The always-on lock screen is yet another feature Android lovers can snicker at Apple for stealing years after their preferred operating system started including it.
Apple’s tablets could get a whole lot better with this update. Credit: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tablet users aren’t getting hung out to dry at WWDC 2022. If you’ve ever wanted your iPad to be more like a laptop, this is reportedly your year.
Bloomberg reported that iPadOS 16 will imbue iPads with enhanced multitasking features, such as the ability to resize and rearrange apps if you have two or three open at the same time. The UI will also be updated to make it easier to see which apps are open and switch between them, perhaps not unlike the dock on a Mac computer.
These would be big changes for the iPad line. Currently it can split-screen two apps while dedicating a little bit of screen space to a third, but it doesn’t offer the kinds of window-resizing features Mac users are accustomed to by now.
Apple Watch lovers can expect some news, too. Credit: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Apple’s going to show off the next version of its Apple Watch software and Bloomberg has the skinny on what to expect from it.
In his Power On newsletter, reporter Mark Gurman said watchOS 9 will introduce a bevy of new enhancements to the Apple Watch experience. These include limited satellite connectivity for contacting emergency services, improved women’s health tracking in the Health app, and a low-power mode to preserve your Apple Watch’s battery.
Of course, you can also expect additional workouts, watch faces, and perhaps new sleep-tracking features, too. Anything to make Apple Watch the ultimate health and fitness companion.
Mac is back. Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Apple may be associated mostly with iPhones and Ted Lasso in 2022, but this is still a computing company through and through. With that in mind, Apple is expected to show off the next iteration of macOS, though it doesn’t sound like it’ll be a massive overhaul.
In the same Bloomberg report that outlined the aforementioned iOS 16 features, Gurman said Mac users can expect “some redesigned apps” and a big makeover for the System Preferences menu. The goal there is apparently to make it more similar to the iPhone settings menu, reportedly with individual apps having their own settings pages you can access from one central menu.
Aside from that, we don’t know much else. Personally, I’m most excited to hear which California-specific geological wonder Apple has named the newest macOS after.
Apple TV users may want to tune in. Credit: Nina Riggio/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Apple’s most neglected operating system could potentially see some time in the spotlight at WWDC 2022. After no-showing at last year’s event, the same Bloomberg report with iOS and macOS upgrades also offered a very slight hint at what’s to come for tvOS.
Specifically, Apple TV devices will get “more smart home tie-ins.” What that actually means is anyone’s guess, though additional connectivity with HomePod devices is always welcome.
MacBook Air with an M2 chip
Because 2 is better than 1. Credit: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WWDC isn’t a hardware event, but Gurman’s big WWDC report did mention one device we could see: A new MacBook Air.
The big draw for the 2022 MacBook Air would reportedly be the inclusion of a new, next-generation version of Apple’s homemade silicon called M2. Mashable lauded the M1 MacBook Air in 2020 for combining impressive performance with strong battery life, so hopefully a new M2 version of the same machine would improve on those two aspects even more.
In summary, just about everything Apple will show off at WWDC 2022 will probably be something you’ve already used before, just with a higher number at the end of it. Even if iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and the M2 MacBook Air all look incredible, none of them will be terribly surprising. That gives realityOS a real chance to blow us away, considering it could be the only totally new thing Apple shows off.
As long as Apple’s vision of mixed reality doesn’t include virtual meetings with Mark Zuckerberg, I’ll be satisfied.
SEE ALSO: How to watch Apple’s WWDC 2022 keynote live