Update: Apple’s WWDC keynote has an official start time, according to recently sent out press invites, so we’ve added that must-know information below.
WWDC is Apple’s annual Moses moment: it’s when developers gather to see what Tim Cook’s got on his tablet, and that gathering starts in a few days time.
Apple’s WWDC keynote starts on Monday, June 13 at 10am Pacific (that’s 1pm Eastern, 6pm GMT), and it promises to be one of the more interesting ones for the Cupertino company.
Not only will we likely see new versions of Apple’s OSes, but we’re expected to be treated to important new hardware refreshes. Here’s what we expect to see at WWDC 2016.
MacBook Pro 2016
The most obvious update for the MacBook Pro 2016 is to use Intel’s Skylake processors, which are already in PC rivals. The move to Skylake is more dramatic than the move to Broadwell processors, which were mainly about improved battery life; Skylake delivers significant speed improvements, plus support for WiGig and WiDi wireless data transfer and wireless charging, although we don’t expect to see those features this year.
A redesign might be on the cards too – the design hasn’t changed much in eight years – although many Pro users are rather keen on their expansion ports so we might not see a razor-thin MacBook-style Pro just yet. Thinner with USB-C ports, yes. Razor-thin with just one port, probably not.
MacBook Air 2016
The MacBook Air is overdue an update: it’s still on Broadwell processors while rivals run faster, more efficient Skylakes, so the announcement of a MacBook Air 2016 is likely.
Multiple reports late last year predicted a “significant refresh” of the Airs in mid-2016 with Retina displays, USB-C, Skylake processors and the end of the 11-inch model, but there’s a great deal of uncertainty over the Air’s future: does Apple really need to make the Air when it has a range of super-portable Retina MacBooks alongside refreshed MacBook Pros?
We’re hearing conflicting reports on this: some say a refresh, the end of the 11-inch and the introduction of a 15-inch Air; others say that the Air is going to be grounded.
Apple Watch 2
A new version of watchOS is inevitable, but leaks suggest that a new, thinner Apple Watch 2 is on the cards as well. That makes sense, as a June announcement would give developers several months to work on apps for an Autumn release.
We don’t expect it to look significantly different – there’s already an ecosystem of screen protectors, stands and expensive straps, and it’s a bit early for Apple to junk that in favor of a new design – but the internals are expected to be significantly improved. The most tantalizing rumor comes via the Wall Street Journal, which says that the Apple Watch 2 will have its own cellular modem.
If true, that means the Watch will become approximately eleventy billion times more useful. We already know that Apple wants all third party apps to run natively on the Watch rather than on the iPhone, something that should make apps run significantly faster; giving those apps a phone-free data connection too would significantly boost their powers.
It’s also been rumored that Apple will base its Watch 2 processor on the ARM Cortex A32, which is 25% faster than the current ARM-based processor and offers vastly improved battery life, addressing one of the Watch’s biggest issues. The current Apple Watch uses a System on a Chip (SoC) based on the ARMv7 architecture, but the Cortex A32 is based on ARMv8 and was designed specifically for wearable devices.