The WorldWide Developer Conference is held every year by Apple in early June and as it is a software developer conference, Apple tend to use the conference keynote to make key announcements about software, usually the different operating system for Mac phones, tablets, watches and TV devices. That said, they have also been known to make announcements about hardware too, including both previous Mac Pro computers and there is a growing expectation that Apple may announce the new long-awaited ‘modular’ Mac Pro at this year’s WWDC. In this article we take a look at what Apple is expected to and rumoured to announce at this year’s developer conference.
WWDC - Who, What, Where
The WorldWide Developers Conference is Apple's summer training and networking event for software developers and begins with a series of product announcements that will be watched around the world. The conference will be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose in California from June 3rd to 7th 2019. Tickets were $1599 each but registration closed back in March 2019, so if you haven’t got a ticket then its not all lost, as Apple livestreams the keynote presentation.
11 Clues As To What Might Be Announced In The WWDC Keynote
The team at Macworld have studied the invite that was sent out to the press and also is part of the WWDC graphic at the top of this article and we thought it would be worth sharing with you…
“If you're baffled by the unicorn at the centre of the invite, remember that he's one of the Animoji you can access on X-series iPhones - just like the robot you'll see in the announcement graphic at the top of this story. After the Memoji customisation feature last year, are we going to get another new kind of Animoji?
You'll see a swift on the right (above the hammer) which suggests an update to Apple's Swift coding language. We're currently on version 5.
The capital A to the left of Apple's logo at the top signifies the App Store and this may get another revamp - or it could just refer to the general success of App Store sales. We often get an update on how much money app developers have made at Apple events.
The rocket ship on the left is the icon for macOS's Launchpad feature, an application launcher. Not the most glamorous of features, but perhaps we'll change our minds after hearing what Apple's got to say.
The Escher-style geometric shape on the left (below the rocket ship) is strongly reminiscent of Monument Valley, and we'd love to hear about the launch of a new version of that (we're currently on version 2). But mind-bending geometry has been seen in a few other games since MV came along, so could just refer to gaming in a generic way.
We thought the 'crossed fingers' icon at top right looked like the National Lottery logo... but it turns out that's a left hand. So this could refer to gambling apps (which seems unlikely, given Apple's family-friendly ethos) or just emoji in general. The 'fingers crossed' icon looks exactly like this - so Apple may announce a new way of dealing with emojis, as it did a few years back when iOS started to suggest emoji for words in messages when you activate the emoji keyboard.
The strange cube below the fingers-crossed emoji is the icon for ARKit, so expect news on Apple's augmented reality strategy. And the cylinder shape next to that looks a lot like the famous trashcan Mac Pro design - so a new Mac Pro is nailed on for the event, right?
The other icons point to various types of software. Utilities are suggested by the hammer and spanner, games by the gemstone and spider, social apps by the sharing icon (square with arrow by the unicorn's right ear) and iMessage bubble (by his left ear).
So much for the invite clues - but there's plenty more we can surmise based on past events and Apple's habits, and on the products that are due to launch soon.”
What We Do Know
WWDC 2019's opening keynote speech will reveal what Apple are planning with updates to their software running on the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV, with Apple releasing beta versions of these software updates in sync with WWDC.
In June 2019 we will find out more about macOS 10.15, the follow-up to macOS Mojave - not least what Apple plan to call it, which is likely to be based on a place in California. It is expected that this update will have some coming together of the mobile and desktop operating systems and this release enabling developers to port iOS apps across to the desktop cousin.
This is called Project Marzipan and back at last year’s WWDC Apple announced plans to make it easier for developers to port iOS apps across to the desktop OS. In March 2019 a Bloomberg report suggested that work undertaken as part of Project Marzipan, would in time, enable developers to create a single app that will work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices, but currently that aspiration is not likely to come fully into fruition until 2021.
What is planned for WWDC this year, is that Apple will release an SDK in 2019 to enable developers to start porting iPad apps to Mac computers. The News app was the first example of the work from Project Marzipan although for now there will still be two separate apps, but developers won’t have to write the underlying code twice. You may be concerned that this trend to bring the iOS and macOS platforms together might dilute their respective strengths. However, back in March 2018 Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald said…
"We don't believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two ... you begin to make trade-offs and compromises.
So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that's not what it's about. You know it's about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don't think that's what users want."
Apple will also announce iOS 13, Watch OS 6 and tvOS 13, but our main concern here at Production Expert is the upcoming development of macOS 10.15.
What May Happen At WWDC 2019
Let’s start with the name. The current trend is for Apple to take the name from a Californian landmark but Apple, being Apple, they could always take this opportunity to do something different and that leads us onto the numbering. Apple also could choose this point, with the dropping of 32 bit support, to jump up to macOS 11, rather than a point one increment to macOS 10.15.
Coming back to the name, looking at Apple’s trademark filing from March 2018, options for Californian landmarks could include Ventura, Sonoma, or Sequoia. Let’s hope it isn’t Sequoia as there is a DAW with that name.
It would look as though with macOS 10.15 it will be possible to use your iPad as a second screen natively rather than using a 3rd party app. This native support is apparently a technology Apple call Sidecar. According to 9to5Mac…
“The new feature can be accessed via a simple menu. This new menu will be opened by hovering over the green “maximize” button in a Mac app window for a split second. The menu will have options for making the window fullscreen, tiling and moving to external displays, including the user’s iPads and external displays connected to the Mac. Selecting one of the display options moves the current window to the selected external display or iPad, in fullscreen.
Users with an iPad that supports Apple Pencil will also be able to draw with the Pencil on iPad when it’s being used as an external display for the Mac, effectively turning the iPad into a Wacom-like tablet. Engineers are also working on options that will allow windows to be easily snapped to one side of the screen, similar to a feature that already exists on Windows.”
Coming back to the coming together of iOS and macOS, and migrating apps from iOS to macOS, it is expected that Apple will announce at WWDC plans to bring over the Podcasts app and the new merged Find My iPhone and Find My Friends app from iOS 13.
It had been thought that the rumoured break up of iTunes into separate apps for the macOS that the predicted standalone Music app would be another product from Project Marzipan but more recently information has come to light that suggests that the Music app won’t be coming from Project Marzipan but will actually be an AppKit application, based off of iTunes. According to 9to5Mac…
“It will include many of the advanced features iTunes users are accustomed to, including things such as smart playlists, advanced library management, syncing with iPods and iOS devices, and even disc reading and burning.
This new version would be the final step in the process that started with iTunes 12.7, which was updated to focus on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks. With new standalone apps for all media types on macOS 10.15, iTunes becomes focused on just music and gets renamed to Music, like its counterpart on iOS.”
The TV app will be the vehicle for Apple’s new Apple TV Plus service. Books, which already has its own app on macOS, is expected to be getting a similar Marzipan redesign to bring it into line with the iOS 12 updated app.
It is been predicted that Apple may also be breaking up the Apple Store into separate components for each of the apps as they have already done with the existing Book Store.
However, rumours suggest that macOS 10.15 will still include an iTunes app because Apple doesn’t have a new solution for manually syncing devices such as old iPods and iPhones with the Mac and so to maintain that backwards compatibility it is expected that they will keep iTunes around a little longer.
Other Apple software rumoured to be coming to the macOS include Screen Time; effects and stickers for the Messages app; integration with the Siri Shortcuts app and a new Reminders app.
Hardware Announcements At A Software Conference?
It’s not as bizarre as it might sound as Apple has a track record at doing just this. WWDC 2017 saw the launch of the HomePod and three iPhone models have made WWDC debuts.
The rumour mill is full of predictions that Apple will use WWDC 2019 to announce the long-awaited modular Mac Pro and Apple has a track record of Mac Pro announcements at WWDC. Looking back, the current Mac Pro Trashcan was announced at the June 2013 WWDC, and then released in December 2013. Rolling back even further to the launch of the Cheese-grater Mac Pro, that was announced at the August 2006 WWDC and was released within a month.
There is an expectation that they may be up to 3 hardware product announcements during 2019 including the new ‘modular’ Mac Pro, a 31.6” 6K screen and an ‘all-new’ 16-inch MacBook Pro. You can read more about this in our article Apple Will Release NEW Mac Pro, Pro 16" MacBook Pro And Pro 6K Monitor During 2019 Accordingly To Latest Rumours and some of the rumours are suggesting that all 3 may be announced at the June WWDC this year.
Our view is that the most likely Apple hardware announcement to be made at WWDC is the new ‘modular’ Mac Pro. You can read all about the latest developments into what this might look like in our article The Latest On What The New Apple Mac Pro 2019 Might Look Like And What Could Be Inside? But we will have to wait until the Keynote address on June 3rd 2019 to see what Apple actually chooses to announce.
Is Project Marizpan Another Indication That Apple Plan To Drop Intel Processors?
There is one other topic that might come up at this year’s WWDC and that has to with whether Project Marzipan and the porting of iOS apps across to the macOS will mean that Apple is even more likely to drop Intel processors and go for creating their own Mac processors? What makes this more likely is that it has been reported that the iOS processors are starting to reach the processing power needed to be as good as a Mac laptop. We have seen a report that suggests that all any new combined OS would need to do is support both x86 and ARM.
Add that to the fact that the rumours continue to suggest that could Apple ditch Intel processors and move to Arm processors as soon as 2020 with the well respected source on all things Apple, Ming-Chi Kuo of TF Securities predicting that Apple will start to use its own A-series processors in Macs in 2020 or 2021.
There also appears to be evidence that development work on an Arm powered Mac has been underway for some time. Back in May 2018 there were reports that one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, Pegatron, was working on the company's first ARM-based Mac codenamed the Star Project, 9to5Mac said…
“We have been following information about the Star project for a few months, with sources in the supply chain. It is currently in prototype stage, with prototypes being manufactured by Pegatron, Apple’s partner in China which also manufactures other Apple iOS devices. A small number of units have been shipped to Cupertino for testing by Apple employees. These prototypes have been in production since at least January 2018.
There’s not much information on what the device could possibly be, but we do know that it has a touch screen, a sim card slot, GPS, compass, is water resistant and it also runs EFI. EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) is the boot system used by Macs, which leads us to believe that the Star project could potentially be the first ARM-based Mac, with a ship date as soon as 2020.”
In October 2018 some comparisons between the Apple iPhone A12 processors and the Intel i5 processors in a MacBook Pro 13” laptop in this tweet…
At around the same time there was a very technical post on Reddit in which comparisons were made between the Apple A12, Xeon 8192, i7 6700k, and AMD EPYC 7601 CPUs…
|Spec_Int 2006||Example||Apple A12||Xeon 8176||i7 6700k||EPYC 7601|
|Clock speed||(Single Core Turbo)||2.5Ghz||3.8Ghz||4.2Ghz||3.2Ghz|
|Per-core power con.||(Watts)||3.64W||5.89W||18.97W||5.62W|
|456.hmmer||Protein seq. analyses||44.0||41.0||108||34.9|
In that Reddit article the author concludes…
“The main takeaway here is that Apple’s A12 is approaching or exceeding the performance of these competing chips in Spec2006, with lower clock speeds and less power consumption. The A12 BIG core running at 2.5GHz beats a Xeon 8176 core running at 3.8GHz, in 9 out of 12 of Spec_Int 2006 tests, often by a large margin (up to 44%). It falls behind in 3 tests, but the deficiency is 2%, 6%, and 12%. It also comes quite close to a desktop 6700k.”
Why are we reporting all of this? Because there are rumours that there may be announcements about all of this at this year’s WWDC, and as we said in our article The Apple Switch From Intel To Arm Processors - How Will The Pro Audio Industry Prepare?…
So why are we talking about Apple switching to their own Arm processors in 2019? In professional planning terms, a year is not a long time, to put that in context the first Avid HDX systems were announced over 8 years ago. Universal Audio Apollo interfaces were first introduced in 2012, so you get the sense of how time flies when you are having fun.
There you have it, this is our best shot at what might be announced at the Apple Keynote address at the opening of the WWDC on June 3rd 2019.