Here is what analysts think will happen at Apple’s WWDC 2022 event tomorrow

When Tim Cook takes the stage and delivers the opening keynote at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 6, everyone from the company’s developers to investors will be looking for signs of where the company is headed. At a time when tech layoffs and hiring freezes have panicked investors, with many predicting a tech slowdown, everyone is looking to Apple and how well positioned the Cupertino company is to survive in the post-pandemic world.

The challenge for Apple is not only to ensure healthy year-round iPhone sales amid uncertain market sentiment and the global chip shortage, but also to build trust among developers to keep the critical app ecosystem running. On Monday, like every year, Apple will give the developers who make apps for the most popular iPhone, iPad and Mac a glimpse into the future.

There will also be new features in iOS 16, although the expected changes will be incremental. According to a Bloomberg report, the lock screen could undergo a major transformation. Apple’s iOS 16 would support an Always On Display, which would provide basic information such as date, time, and notifications by looking at the screen. Samsung’s Galaxy phones have had this feature for years, but Apple may market the always-on mode on select iPhones as a premium feature. Apple could also bring “social” features to the Messages app and even update the Health app on the iPhone, as well as “big widgets” to iOS.

“I’d be surprised if Apple makes too many radical changes with iOS,” said Andrew Cornwall, Senior Analyst for Mobile Technologies at Forrester Research.† “They compete with Android and Android hasn’t forced much change,” he adds. But Cornell expects Apple to bring new privacy-focused features to iOS 16. “I think a lot of iOS changes will be aimed at that.”

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The only operating system that could get a major update is iPadOS 16. Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple has consistently marketed the iPad as a replacement for the computer, but iPadOS is holding it back from its true potential. Although Apple has already made it clear that it wants to keep iPadOS separate from macOS, there is increasing pressure to make the iPad function more like a laptop and less like a phone. At WWDC, Apple will likely update the iPad’s operating system with a redesigned interface that makes it easier to switch between tasks and see which apps are open. Apple will also reportedly introduce the ability to resize app windows and process multiple apps simultaneously at its online-only developer conference. Currently, iPad apps can only run in full screen mode or two apps side by side.

Over the years, Apple has improved the hardware capabilities of the iPad (the iPad Pro with the M1 chip is just as powerful as the MacBook Air), but it hasn’t made many changes to the software or user experience. The iPadOS needs more macOS features, and Apple can do that without turning the iPad into a Mac. One way to expand the capabilities of iPadOS is to allow developers to bring iPhone apps to the iPad. By doing that, it would be a way to bring Calculator and Weather apps to the iPad. It would also solve the lack of support for Instagram and WhatsApp for the iPad.

“There’s been an ongoing trend for years to bring the iPad a little more in line with macOS without trying to make it all one thing, forcing a touchscreen on a Mac, or forcing complicated multitasking on an iPhone,” Gartner analyst David said Mitchell. “Those aren’t likely scenarios, but they’re trying to do what they can” [these] devices together.” Cornwall also agrees that Apple is making progress in making iPadOS something that can replace a laptop operating system, but it also faces this double dichotomy, with the iPad Pro and MacBook Air competing.

There’s no either/or situation, which is exactly what’s stopping Apple from making iPadOS as powerful as macOS. Despite the iPad OS and not the macOS, Cornwall predicts that Apple will focus more on the iPad Pro in the future, with only incremental changes reserved for the MacBook Air.

Apple is also expected to announce a new version of macOS at its developer conference. While the upcoming release of macOS may not hold any new surprises, Apple will focus on how macOS and apps work natively on its ARM-powered Macs. “Apple will continue to innovate with their silicon,” Cornwall said, adding that “we will see more AI-specific processing capabilities.”

With Intel’s two-year transition to its silicon now complete, Apple would like developers to know how the second-generation M-series processors could help them optimize their apps for the next wave of hardware. There could be a new version of the MacBook Air and Mac mini with the second generation of its processors. But given the chip shortage and lockdowns in China, Apple could also delay the launch of new Macs until September or October.

Analysts don’t expect any major changes for watchOS and tvOS this year. Apple is the world’s largest smartwatch company, but it has been slow to introduce new health sensors for the Apple Watch due to technical and regulatory challenges.

Selling a $179 Apple TV box to consumers who already own a smart TV at home or who rely on cheaper streaming sticks from Amazon and Google has also been an uphill task. “I don’t see Apple just getting into the smart TV business, but there’s a chance we’ll hear about a strategic partnership with a smart TV supplier,” Cornwall said.

This year’s WWDC is expected to be dominated by software, although Apple might surprise fans with the launch of a new MacBook Air with an all-new “retro-inspired” design and the successor to the M1 family.

Plus, Apple fans are clamoring for a mixed reality headset, which many believe is closer to an official unveiling. “There’s a good chance something will come, whether it’s coming next week or not [WWDC] nobody knows,” Mitchell says. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s board of directors got a preview of the headset last month, suggesting the device could be ready for unveiling. “I think they will, although they won’t announce any dates or details,” Cornwall predicts, but questions remain about whether a mixed-reality headset is the right device for Apple to get into a new product category. .

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