Apple’s first-ever virtual Worldwide Developers Conference — which the tech giant its hyping as the biggest WWDC to date — kicks off Monday. Here’s how to watch the key events, along with a rundown of rumors and reports that have surfaced ahead of WWDC20.
WWDC, now in its 31st year, runs from June 22 to 26. During the event, Apple is planning to again divulge news and details about the future of its proprietary platforms — including iOS, macOS, and Apple TV’s tvOS — and this year will provide a way for its base of 23 million developers to engage with the company’s engineers.
The main event will be the June 22 special keynote, which starts at 10 a.m. PT. Apple promises “exciting new innovations and updates coming to all Apple platforms later this year.” The keynote address will be available via apple.com/apple-events, in the Apple Developer app, on the Apple Developer website, via the Apple TV app, and on YouTube. It also will be available for on-demand playback after the conclusion of the stream. (In China, the keynote will also stream on Tencent, iQIYI, Bilibili and Youku.)
Also June 22, beginning at 2 p.m. PT, will be the “Platforms State of the Union” address, with presentations from Apple engineering leaders across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS. It will be available on demand via the Apple Developer app and the Apple Developer website.
So what’s in store?
First up are announcements related to the upcoming iOS 14 operating system. One of the bigger rumors making the rounds is that it’s supposed to include a redesigned home screen feature, which will let users organize apps with a list-view option, making it easier to scroll and see everything alphabetically, per TechCrunch.
In what could be another big change, Apple may let iPhone and iPad users set third-party apps — like Spotify or Google Maps — as the default instead of Apple’s own apps, a Bloomberg report earlier this year suggested. Last week, the European Union formally opened an antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store business practices, following a complaint from Spotify.
The iOS 14 update may also include a new augmented-reality app that can read QR codes to provide more info on products or services, such as in Apple Stores and Starbucks locations, and perform tasks like launch movies in the iTunes Store. Word on the AR app, code-named Gobi, was first reported by 9to5Mac.
On the hardware front, Apple may officially announce its shift away from Intel processors in Macs to an in-house produced ARM processor, which is already used in its iPhones and iPads. This could provide longer battery life and better support for graphics. Macs with the new chip will ship in 2021, per the New York Times.
Apple watchers also anticipate celebrity-cameo drop-ins on the keynote livestream.
From June 23-26, WWDC20 will feature more than 100 technical and design-focused sessions led by Apple engineers. Videos will be posted each day at 10 a.m. PT and will be available in the Apple Developer app on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, as well as on the Apple Developer website.
Apple also is letting developers schedule one-on-one “Developer Labs” by appointment during WWDC20. In addition, Apple last week announced 350 Swift Student Challenge winners from 41 different countries and regions, selected based on their original Swift playground submission. The program is part of Apple’s annual WWDC student challenge, which recognizes and celebrates the next generation of coders and creators.
Last week, Apple released a new study, conducted by research firm Analysis Group, which claimed the App Store ecosystem supported $519 billion in billings and sales worldwide in 2019. About 80% of that ($413 billion) came from physical goods and services sold through App Store apps, per the study.
The study found that the highest-value categories were mobile-commerce apps (representing $268 billion of the 2019 total), digital goods and services apps (accounting for $61 billion in sales, including apps for music and video streaming), and in-app advertising ($45 billion).