Apple’s developer conference beginning Monday and the company is expected to outline its strategy beyond the iPhone.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and other leaders will make a keynote presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, to unveil updates of Apple’s operating systems and a new approach to apps.
Apple is expected to showcase Apple Watches that are more independent from iPhones, iPads with software that reduces the need for a laptop, apps that run on any Apple device, and also talk about growth areas such as augmented reality and personal health-care management.
This year Apple will most probably not show off a new Apple Watch or an iPhone at the event.
Currently, the Apple Watch has cellular connectivity and with the next software update, watchOS 6, it will further be seperated from the iPhone by adding an on-board App Store, new apps like a calculator and voice recorder, and new messaging features.
WWDC will also reveal enhancements to the home screen and new features around using multiple apps at once to help the iPad satisfy more computing needs.
Developers will get new tools to build iOS apps for Mac laptops and desktop computers, essentially unifying Apple’s app ecosystem. This follows last year’s rollout of iPad versions of Apple’s News, Voice Memos, Home, and Stocks apps on the Mac. The expectation is that single versions of all apps will eventually be able to run on every Apple device. As part of the shift, more underlying technologies will also merge.
Apple is also readying major revamps of the Reminders and Health apps and tweaks for Maps, Messages, Apple Books, Home, and Mail. It’s also planning to merge Find my iPhone and Find my Friends into a single app.
Apple has added new AR features to its iPhone and iPad software annually. But until Apple launches its AR glasses, the technology, which superimposes 3-D images over views of the real world, is unlikely to take off. At first, the headset will probably need an iPhone for certain tasks. Internal versions of iOS 13 have begun to add technology that supports a future headset, according to reports. Apple is unlikely to talk about this publicly at WWDC, but the moves indicate the company is ramping up development of the glasses, which could be showcased as early as 2020.
This year, Apple is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes. That matches Apple’s media app strategy on iPhones and iPads. Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple gadgets through the Music app.
For this year, beyond the revamped Health app for iPhones, the company will push into monitoring hearing health. It also plans more comprehensive menstrual cycle tracking on iPhones, and a pair of health apps for the Apple Watch: menstrual cycle tracking and pill reminders. There will also be a new Sleep Mode for Apple mobile devices and better support for hearing aids.