Apple had a lot of innovations to show at the WWDC in-house exhibition. But they should only provide the basis – for one of the biggest waves of new products that Apple has ever had to show.
It’s a tradition: Apple shows its new operating systems in the summer, followed by the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPads and new notebooks in the fall. But what Apple had to show at the WWDC in-house exhibition this year (here you can find detailed reporting on site) should go beyond the usual level. Because Apple still has a lot planned for the next few months.
The group wants to relaunch its entire product portfolio in one fell swoop: According to insider sources, Apple is to launch four new iPhone models this year, three Apple Watches, new high-end and entry-level iPads, several Macs with M2 chips, new AirPods Po , a revamped Homepod, and an improved Apple TV. The group is planning the biggest innovation for the beginning of next year: With its first mixed reality glasses, which are supposed to support both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), the group wants to take the first step into the world after Dare smart phone.
Lots of omens
That emerges from a recent report by the usually well-informed Mark Gurman at “Bloomberg”. According to his numerous sources at Apple, with the new releases of iOS 16, iPadOS and macOS, Apple is not only supposed to show what we can expect from current devices in autumn. But is also said to have laid the foundation for tons of upcoming devices.
An example is the revised lock screen of the iPhone. While it was largely the same for all users up to now, with iOS 16, which is expected in September, Apple allows previously unknown customizability, for example through freely selectable widgets, new notifications and a more flexible look (find out more here). However, Gurman believes that owners of an iPhone 14 model should have the full advantage of this: Like newer Apple Watches, the new iPhones should not completely switch off their display, but should always be able to display part of the information.
Another indication that this function could play a particularly important role for the upcoming iPhones: The iPadOS 16 system developed for Apple’s tablets contains almost all the innovations of the upcoming iOS – except for the customizable lock screen.
According to Gurman, the Pro models will be particularly exciting this year. Among other things, they should get a greatly improved camera, a narrower display edge and the always-on display. With the “normal” models of the iPhone 14, Apple should hold back, they should get the A15 chip of the predecessor instead of the strong A-16 variant of the Pros. But there is one exciting development: Instead of an iPhone 14 Mini, Apple is probably planning a Max version of the entry-level iPhone with 6.7 inches for the first time. So far there was only the expensive Pro model in this size.
iPad and Mac grow together
But even with the iPads, there are first signs of what these devices could be capable of. With iPadOS 16 and its flagship feature, Stage Manager, Apple is making its tablets even more like computers (read more here). The problem: This only works on models with Apple’s M1 desktop chip. The upcoming iPad Pro should therefore now get the more powerful M2 chip, which so far can only be found in the Macbook Pro (here in our test). This means that five instead of three iPad models will be able to use the Stage Manager.
There is also an innovation in the economy iPad: As the last model, it still uses the Lightning connector. According to Gurman’s information, the switch to USB-C is now due in the fall. This would make the iPhones the last main devices that still rely on Lightning. Here he expects the change next year.
Apple should also rely on the M2 for Macs. According to Gurman, the company is unsurprisingly using the more powerful variants of its new chip in the high-end models of the Macbook Pro, which are expected later in the fall. They promise a lot of performance: The M1 Pro and M1 Max are still more potent than the simple M2, their successors are likely to grow again.
New on the wrist and in the living room
With the Apple Watch, further development is the order of the day. The Apple Watch 8 should have the same chip that already drives the predecessors Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch 7, and nothing should change in terms of design compared to the previous model. The new WatchOS 8 system suggests that Apple primarily wants to appeal to sports fans with better recognition of fitness data. The new watch could possibly offer advantages here. In addition, there will be a completely new model: A variant of the Apple Watch 8 with a particularly robust housing will be aimed primarily at outdoor fans and extreme athletes.
Gurman is also expecting innovations in the audio and home entertainment sector: the new AirPods Pro are said to sound even better, with better support for spatial audio, i.e. surround sound, Apple has also laid the foundation for new listening experiences in its systems. After the large Homepod was deleted, it is now supposed to celebrate a comeback in an improved new edition. And the AppleTV should be even better suited as a game console replacement with a new processor.
The revolution on the horizon
However, Gurman’s sources expect Apple’s biggest step at the beginning of next year: With its first mixed reality glasses, Apple then wants to tear down the boundaries between the digital and the real world. The Apple model, which is similar to ski goggles, is intended to make purely virtual rooms accessible (VR) and to be able to expand the real world with digital content (AR). For the latter, cameras bring the image of the outside world inwards.
According to insider sources, the planned mixed reality glasses can be used independently of other hardware thanks to an M2 processor. Cables or radio connections are therefore not necessary despite the large amount of power.
Augmented Reality has been seen as the next big step by Apple boss Tim Cook for years. The upcoming glasses are only an introduction. Apple’s goal is to develop AR glasses that are almost indistinguishable from normal ones. They should permanently change our perception of everyday life with additional digital information.