Apple WWDC 2024: What to Expect and How to Watch

    Apple

    Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is an annual press event that Apple uses to showcase new technologies and software. This year’s event, the 35th, runs from June 10th to June 14th. It will be kicked off with the traditional keynote address by Tim Cook. Read on for the low-down on the WWDC — what’s appearing and how to watch!

    WWDC: What to Expect

    Apple WWDC 2024
    Apple promo graphicApple

    Apple’s WWDC has traditionally served as the stage for unveiling new software features across its devices. However, in recent years, the spotlight on software updates during WWDC has often been overshadowed by significant hardware announcements. This year, Apple took an unconventional approach by launching hardware ahead of WWDC. In April, they debuted the M3-powered MacBook Air (available in 13-inch and 15-inch variants). Then, in May, they revealed the all-new M4 chip alongside the latest iPad Pro and iPad Air models. This year it appears that the WWDC will center on software innovations, including new AI features for iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

    In recent months, tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI have unveiled their latest AI initiatives, showcasing advanced language learning models, experimental tools, and cutting-edge devices. Now, it’s Apple’s turn in the spotlight. Rumors suggest that the company is gearing up to introduce a range of AI features across its operating systems, promising to transform user interactions with Apple devices and solidify the company’s position in the AI landscape.

    iOS 18

    Last year, Apple took a cautious step towards generative AI, contrasting with Google and Microsoft’s prominent displays. Apple’s foray into generative AI with iOS 17 was marked by an improved autocorrect feature, powered by a “transformer language model” that enhances grammar and predictive text. Additionally, iOS 17 could identify pets in the Photos app, and introduced ‘Point and Speak’, an accessibility tool enabling visually impaired users to read text from physical objects using their phone’s camera.

    This year, the focus continues to be on practicality, sidestepping the more ostentatious offerings of competitors. Although Apple may not introduce brand-new AI-driven applications, its approach to generative AI is expected to be woven more intricately into the overall user experience.

    Apple’s AI updates are collectively known as the Grey Matter Strategy and include:

    • Core App Integrations:
      • Photos
      • Safari
      • Messages
      • Notes
    • Smart Recap Feature:
      Summarizes texts, emails, notes, documents, and web pages.
    • Custom Emoji Creation:
      • Real-time creation based on text message content.
      • More options beyond current offerings (currently possible through Stickers in iOS 17).
    • AI-Generated Suggested Replies:
      • Context-based replies for text messages.
      • Possible extension to the Mail app.
    • “Clean Up” Feature:
      • Uses generative AI to remove objects from photos, similar to Google’s Magic Eraser.
    • Privacy Measures:
      • Less computing-intensive AI features run on-device using Apple’s Ajax Language Learning Model.
      • More power-intensive features processed in the cloud.
      • Data centers powered by custom silicon (M2 Ultra chips) for cloud processing.
      • Possible onscreen alert before Ajax LLM processes information from certain apps like Messages or Safari.
    • Opt-In Service:
      • New AI features expected to be available as an opt-in service.
    • Additional Features:
      • Transcribing voice memos (building on iOS 17’s capability).
      • Enhanced Spotlight for faster and more reliable searches.
      • Improved Safari web search.

    Siri 2.0

    Expected Siri Improvements:

    • Hints from Apple:
      Apple’s homepage graphic for WWDC matches the colors and animation of the Siri logo, hinting at upcoming Siri improvements.
    • Generative AI System:
      • Next-generation Siri to feature a new generative AI system enabling conversational interactions rather than responding to queries one by one.
      • Improvements in handling tasks like creating calendar appointments, setting timers, and managing grocery lists.
    • Large Language Models:
      • Apple reportedly revamping Siri with its own large language models.
      • Siri to analyze user activity and offer assistance automatically, such as forwarding or deleting emails, editing photos, summarizing notifications, or organizing content.
      • Expected to be rolled out in a future version of iOS 18, likely not available at launch this fall but planned for release next year.

    iPadOS 18

    It’s a common practice for Apple to integrate the majority of the features introduced in iOS into iPadOS as well. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that most of the updates anticipated in iOS 18 will also find their way into iPadOS 18.

    Apple has, however, confirmed the arrival of new accessibility features for iPad, slated for release “later this year,” as announced in a May press release. These advancements encompass functionalities such as eye tracking for iPad control, spoken shortcuts allowing custom commands for Siri, and a motion sickness reduction feature employing onscreen cues for users viewing their device while in motion. It’s anticipated that demonstrations of these features will be showcased during the conference.

    MacOS 15

    Exciting rumors abound about upcoming features in macOS. One such rumor suggests a redesigned calculator app, which would mirror the iOS version with rounded buttons and resizable elements. This new app is said to include a history tape for revisiting past calculations and support for Math Notes, bridging the gap between Calculator and Notes applications. There’s also hope that this revamp might finally bring a Calculator app to iPad users.

    In addition to the calculator app, reports indicate that macOS 15 will introduce some UI changes. These changes may include a new monochromatic menu bar icon for Siri, a revamped System Settings app with app reorganization based on importance, and a unified menu for page controls in Safari. Speaking of Safari, another intriguing rumor suggests the addition of an Intelligent Search feature. This feature would harness the power of Ajax LLM to analyze webpages.

    WatchOS 11

    Compared to the extensive updates expected for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, the upcoming updates to watchOS might not be as substantial. But WatchOS 11 is speculated to bring a more advanced version of Siri tailored for “on-the-go tasks,” which would complement the rumored Siri overhaul in iOS 18. Additionally, enhancements to the Fitness app are anticipated. However, beyond these updates, watchOS 11 is expected to be a relatively minor release.

    The same applies to VisionOS 2.0, with not much on the horizon, barring some accessibility features, and a rumored “respiration tracker”.

    How to Watch Apple’s WWDC 2024

    Apple YouTube Channel

    Apple’s WDDC will be livestreamed throughout the week, starting at 10AM Pacific and 1PM Eastern. You can watch it on Apple’s website, or on the official YouTube channel. If you’re having trouble accessing these websites because of your location, why not give Trend Micro’s VPN Proxy One Pro a go?

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