July 14, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

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

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference begins on Monday at 10am PT/1pm ET with the standard Tim Cook opening speech. While last year's event will be remembered as the event that finally introduced the world to Vision Pro, the company hopes to make WWDC 2024 even more memorable when it finally spells out its generative AI plans. Some things we can expect: a big update to Siri, Mail with an injection of Apple's LLM Ajax to offer email reply suggestions, and even a new look (and new features) for Apple Photos.

You will find information about how to stream the event live here.

The opening salvo of WWDC differs from other Apple keynotes in that it is the start of a week-long online and in-person event, taking place June 10-14. The company started opening things up more to the public during the pandemic, but it's important to remember the reason for the season: Like Google I/O and Microsoft Build before it, the true purpose of the event is to showcase the latest updates for developers.

AI everything

Image credits: Apple

Concern that Apple has fallen behind in the AI ​​generation has been enough to lead Cook to promise big things in shareholder calls. In fact, the CEO made the decision to comment on future plans. In May he promised that the company would “break new ground” in generative AIHe added: “We believe it will unlock transformative opportunities for our users.”

Will Apple's commitment to break new ground really be innovative? I anticipate it will hold great promise for developers, highlighting how generative AI will impact future versions of the company's various operating systems, with a focus on iOS. Rumors have been circulating for some time about Apple's approach to the world of large language models.

Early reports suggested that the company was meeting with Google about a possible Gemini integration for iOS. It would be a big win for Google, as the model plays a key role in two operating systems that represent a combined power. 96% of global mobile operating systems market. However, more recent reports have pointed to a partnership with OpenAI. Like the I/O above, I would anticipate being sick and tired of all the AI ​​talk when the company is over.

After the failure of its electric car project, Apple supposedly shuffled several employees in their internal generative AI efforts. Given how recent the news is, it's safe to say that the company is still behind the competition there. With that in mind, I anticipate that a lot of the AI-related news will come from its deal with OpenAI.

iOS 18 with more AI

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

Along with that partnership, iOS 18 is expected to be the centerpiece of the event. There is a lot at stake in what is reportedly “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 some time out of her busy schedule to compile the rumored updates.. I don't want to repeat their work, so I'll distill some of the rumors here. Go read his story to learn more.

  • Siri is getting a long-awaited update, courtesy of Apple's generative AI work. The update will make the smart assistant more capable of directly editing photos, deleting emails, and other daily tasks. The update is also said to bring improved voice, notification summaries, and an advanced version of Siri for Apple Watch.
  • AI will also infiltrate the Safari browser for smarter searches, notes for summaries, and voice memos for transcriptions (something Google has touted for some time now).
  • Generative AI is even coming to emojis, allowing users to customize and create their own in Messages.
  • Apple is also said to be loosening design restrictions so that users can place icons and widgets wherever they want on their home screen.
  • Even Mail will get new AI-enabled features, like asking Siri to make emails sound more professional and Ajax-generated email response suggestions.

Apple announced that RCS (Rich Communication Services) is coming to Messages, so Android users can feel a little less bad; It's still a green bubble, of course. Reports suggested it was coming. last fall, but that ship has obviously already sailed. Next fall, on the other hand, seems like a good bet, especially with all the The Department of Justice thing is coming.

macOS 15 debut

Image credits: Brian Heater

Every time Tim Cook says “AI,” an investor gets his wings. While iOS will undoubtedly be the big operating system to focus on, Apple still has new things in the works for the desktop. We'll get the official name for macOS 15. What is the highest AI place name in California? Mall? Alcatraz? RodAI unit?

Many of the iOS updates should also come to macOS, including those for Siri, Notes, and Safari. Apple's office apps are also said to be getting an AI boost. That includes support in Pages, Keynote, and the Xcode developer environment app.

The system setup will continue Apple's long-standing project of turning macOS into iOS, with a design update. Apple should also review some key accessibility features. And don't forget the most exciting update of all: a great design. calculator changes — the app I use the most but somehow never manage to think about.

Hardware upgrades

LR: MacBook Pro in Space Black, MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in Space Gray
Image credits: Brian Heater

While the last few years have seen key hardware upgrades, due to developments in Mac silicon and last year's headset preview, WWDC is not a hardware event. In fact, the latest rumor mills point to an opening presentation that is very light on hardware. Bloomberg is now even suggesting The event will be completely devoid of new hardware.

Note that Apple made the unusual decision of hosting a standalone virtual iPad event almost exactly a month before WWDC. The May 7 program New versions of the iPad Pro and iPad Air debuted. To the chagrin of many, AI did not play a major role in the event. After all the fanfare around models like GPT and the big fuss Google has been making around integrating Gemini into Android, Apple needs to come out in the open next week.

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

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