Technology

What to expect from WWDC 2024: iOS 18, macOS 15 and so much AI

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off on Monday at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET with the standard opening speech from Tim Cook. While last year’s WWDC will be remembered as the event that finally introduced the world to Vision Pro, the company is hoping to make next week’s event even more memorable by finally laying out its generative AI plans.

You can find information on how to live stream the event here.

WWDC’s opening salvo is different from Apple’s other keynotes, in that it kicks off a week-long online and in-person event, which will take place June 10-14 . As the company has begun to open up more to the public during the pandemic, it’s important to remember the reason for the season: just like Google I/O and Microsoft Build before it, the true purpose of the event is to present the latest updates for developers.

Hardware updates

LR: Space Black MacBook Pro, Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook Pro
Image credits: Brian Heating

Although the past few years have seen key hardware updates, due to developments in Mac silicon and last year’s headset preview, WWDC is not a hardware event. In fact, the latest rumors point to a very light presentation on the hardware. Bloomberg is even now suggesting that the event will be entirely devoid of new material.

Keep in mind that Apple made the unusual choice of holding a standalone virtual iPad event almost exactly a month before WWDC. The May 7 program launched new versions of the iPad Pro and iPad Air. To the dismay of many, AI did not play a major role in the event. After all the fanfare around models like GPT and the big noise Google made around integrating Gemini into Android, Apple is due to come out with a bang next week.

That said, the new M4 chip just debuted on the iPad. MacBooks equipped with the chip and its more powerful siblings can’t be too far away. Neither can the upcoming iPhone A18 chip, which the company will almost certainly claim to be “the most advanced smartphone chip for AI” or something equivalent.

AI everything

Image credits: Apple

Concern that Apple was falling behind in generational AI was enough to prompt Cook to promise big things during shareholder calls. In fact, the CEO has made the decision to comment on future plans. In May, he promised the company would “innovate” in generative AI, adding: “We believe this will unlock transformational opportunities for our users.”

Will Apple’s attempt to innovate really be revolutionary? I anticipate this will be big promises for developers, highlighting how generative AI will affect future releases of the company’s various operating systems, with a focus on iOS. Rumors around Apple’s approach to the world of large language models have been circulating for some time now.

Early reports suggested the company was meeting with Google about possible Gemini integration for iOS. This would be a huge win for Google, with the model playing a key role in two operating systems that together account for 96% of the global mobile operating system market. More recent reports, however, have pointed to a partnership with OpenAI. Just like I/O before this, I would expect to be sick and tired of all the AI ​​talk by the time the business is done.

Following the failure of its electric car project, Apple has reportedly integrated a number of employees into its internal generative AI efforts. Given the freshness of this news, it’s safe to say that the company is still lagging behind the competition. With that in mind, I anticipate that much of the AI-related news will stem from its OpenAI deal.

iOS 18 with more AI

iPhone 15 Pro Max on a MagSafe charging stand with AirPods Pro 2
Image credits: Darrell Etherington

Along with this partnership, expect iOS 18 to be the centerpiece of the event. A lot hinges on what would be “one of the biggest – if not the biggest – iOS updates in the company’s history.” In fact, it’s going to be so big that Sarah took time out of her busy schedule to put together the rumor updates. I don’t want to repeat his work, so I’ll distill some of the rumors here. Go read his story to find out more.

  • Siri will get a long-awaited refresh, thanks to Apple’s generative AI work. The update will make the smart assistant more capable with the ability to directly edit photos, delete emails, and other daily tasks. The update would also bring improved voice, notification summaries, and an advanced version of Siri to Apple Watch.
  • AI will also infiltrate the Safari browser for smarter search, Notes for summarizing, and Voice Memos for transcriptions (something Google has been touting for a while now).
  • Generative AI is even coming to emojis, allowing users to personalize and create their own in Messages.
  • Apple would also relax layout restrictions so users can place icons and widgets wherever they want on their home screen.

Apple announced the arrival of RCS (Rich Communication Services) in Messages, to make Android users feel a little less bad – still a green bubble, mind you. Reports suggest it would arrive last fall, but that ship has apparently sailed. On the other hand, next fall seems like a good bet, especially with the whole DOJ thing looming.

macOS 15 debut

Image credits: Brian Heating

Every time Tim Cook says “AI,” an investor takes his wings. While iOS is undoubtedly the main operating system in focus, Apple still has news in the works for desktops. We will get the official name of macOS 15. What is the most AI place name in California? Alameda? Alcatraz? RodAI Drive?

Many iOS updates are also expected to make their way to macOS, including those for Siri, Notes, and Safari. Apple’s office applications would also benefit from a boost from Generation AI. This includes support in Pages, Keynote, and the Xcode development environment application.

System Settings will continue Apple’s long-standing plan to turn macOS into iOS, with a design refresh. Apple is also expected to overhaul some key accessibility features. And don’t forget the most exciting update of all, some major design changes to Calculator – the most used but never-thinking-about app.

News Source : techcrunch.com
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