Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference is set to take place on the third day of June, and, given that the various leaks and rumours encapsulating it are true, this event is expected to hold immense significance for the company’s position and perception globally, and should give us answers to many of the questions users have presented to the multi-billion dollar corporation over the past few years.
It’s best to start to by looking at the category of users that perhaps have played a large part in helping Apple get to the place where they are today–power users and professionals, who’ve relied on Apple’s hardware for years. Since the introduction of the Mac Pro in 2013, however, their relationship with the company has been strained considerably. The professional desktop machine was a classic case of Apple prioritizing form over function, as despite being a beautifully designed piece of hardware, the Mac Pro’s small size made it near impossible to upgrade over time and had limited support for powerful graphics cards (amongst many other qualms). In 2017, in a fashion unlike that of Apple, top execs Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller publicly admitted the Mac Pro was not up to the mark and stated that they had gone back to the drawing board with the machine and promised a redesign for 2019. What better place to introduce it than a room packed full of professional developers at WWDC? A lot is riding for the company on it being up to the mark.
WWDC also presents a chance for Apple to address the concerns and antitrust complaints raised over unfair play in the App Store. Senator Elizabeth Warren has said that she wants to separate Apple from the App Store, which would be a major blow to the company. Spotify (a music service that competes with Apple’s own one) has recently launched an online campaign against Apple, demanding fairer rules for competing apps on iOS. Furthermore, it was recently reported by the New York Times that Apple has restricted or removed at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen-time and parental control apps, citing privacy and security, concerns, (shortly after the launch of the company’s own screen time app). Apple’s already launched a defense of their behaviour on the App Store, but that, like their cited concerns of the screen time apps, is riddled with loopholes and questionable statements. Tomorrow provides a chance for the company to redeem themselves and reinforce trust in their ability to fairly run the App Store.
Lastly, as with all WWDCs, we expect to see new versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS to be announced. And while there is a behemoth of features expected for all of them, what I wish to focus on are rumoured features that are crucial for the future of the iPad and Mac. We’re expected to receive a redesign of the iPad home screen, pushing it closer to rivalling a full-blown laptop experience, addressing a complaint dating back to the days of the original iPad Pro in 2015. Furthermore, macOS 10.15 is expected to bring the ability to use iPads as secondary monitors for Macs. While this has been allowed for a considerable time by third party apps, Apple offering this feature ties in well with iOS apps being ported over to the Mac via the company’s Marzipan Project, which is expected to be made publicly available tomorrow after being demonstrated with the company’s own apps last year. Apple is not blind, and they know as well as we do that these projects, if successful, could push us closer to the unified platform that has been promised to the world since Windows 8.
The stakes are high for WWDC. Whether Apple can deliver may define their future.