Apple will be kicking off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today and it's pretty fair to say that a great deal of hype has been building around what could be announced.
Some predictions carry over from anticipated releases that didn't make an appearance in previous Apple events, such as the M2 system-on-a-chip, the next generation of Apple silicon after the incredible success of the Original M1 chip.
Others have been hinted at for so long that it's started to feel like Apple is gaslighting us (where is my Purple MacBook Air Tim?).
With all this excitement comes the almost certainty of disappointment. While there are a few things we believe Apple will be announcing during today's presentation, there are also a few rumors floating around that we feel are either unlikely to make an appearance later (if ever).
If you want to watch alongside hoards of other expectant Apple fans around the world then tune into the WWDC 2022 live stream at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST, or hang out with us on own very own WWDC live blog coverage.
So, here's what we expect...
1. Rainbow MacBooks are on the horizon
The colorful event banners. The rainbow decor and logos. Heck, it's even LGBTQ+ pride month.
You won’t want to miss it! #WWDC22 pic.twitter.com/k1TEnWIEAYJune 4, 2022
The stars are aligned for us to finally get some confirmation that Apple will be releasing its next generation of redesigned MacBook Air 2022 laptops, in an array of colors inspired by the original iMac G3 released back in 1997.
This won't be the first retro throwback, with the M1-powered iMac 24-inch desktop computer also being available in a vivid array of shades, but folks have been waiting to get their mitts on a pink or green MacBook for years.
There is the chance that this will simply be an announcement and that the rainbow-toned versions of the new MacBook Air will have a delayed release (we'll get onto reasons for that later), but as far as an actual reveal is concerned? We're keeping all fingers and toes crossed - and the fact the Apple Store has gone down today helps make this idea all the more real.
2. The M1 gets a gaming-ready glow up / M2 Debut
W'ere slightly cheating on this one, but caution is required as we all know that Apple loves to throw a curveball.
We anticipate that either a final version of the M1 chip will be announced for specialized graphics projects such as game development and visual effects given that many animation studios are equipped with Apple hardware, or that the M2 will be announced and that a version of this chip will function the same way.
There's even the possibility that we could see both of these eventualities. Apple has been the butt of the joke for years now when it comes to gaming hardware, which is a shame given its roots.
The original Halo was apparently going to be a Mac exclusive, until Microsoft's acquisition of Bungie, and many games were released onto Apple computers first before other brand offerings back in the late 80s and early 90s.
It's safe to say that Apple lost its head start in the gaming race, but releasing a gaming and graphics-optimized system could fill one of the few hardware gaps that the computing giant still has. In any case, we will see who's laughing by the end of the presentation if Apple decides it wants to reclaim some of the video game market.
3. Software, software everywhere
Hardware predictions may be shaky, but our faith that software and app updates will make an appearance is, well, unshakable. It is a developers' conference after all.
iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9 and macOS 13 will all certainly get a mention in this year’s event with a host of new features. We speculated that macOS 12 would be called either Mammoth or Monterey, and it proved to be the latter at WWDC 2021. Mammoth could still be in the running for macOS 13 though.
iOS 16 is widely expected to offer a new range of lock-screen apps and notification updates and is speculated for a Q3 release later this year, but Apple is as tight-lipped as it usually is regarding any official details. If you want to know what updates will be dropping across most of the Apple hardware ecosystem, tune into the WWDC stream later today.
And now we've covered the positives, here's what's going to make Apple fans rather sad:
1. No refreshed MacBook Pro 13-inch...yet
There's an expectation for hardware releases to be formulaic, and in some instances this is accurate - iPhones have been released at a pretty regimented pace over the last 10 years for example, so a lot of people believe that because the original M1 chip was launched alongside new models of the Mac Mini, the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro that we could see a similar line-up with the M2.
That's not too far-fetched, but manufacturing delays across China might mean that the pint-sized MacBook Pro will make its appearance further down the line.
The design, when it does appear, is believed to be largely unchanged from the version we saw released back in 2020, with a few exceptions - most notably, this will apparently be the MacBook that disposes of the controversial Touch Bar.
In recent weeks only two computing products have been tipped to make an appearance at WWDC, which are largely believed to be the MacBook Air and some version of Mac Mini (or potentially a new Mac Pro), which leaves fans of Apples portable workstation in the dark for a few more months, but as they say, good things are worth waiting for.
2. The Apple VR headset will be anticlimactic - or not there
Is it really an Apple event if some kind of VR tech isn't rumored to make an appearance? WWDC 2022 is no different, and there has been a lot of mumbling about the upcoming mixed reality headset in recent weeks as the ever-looming threat of the Metaverse starts to infect every major tech brand.
Thing is, we don't think the Apple VR headset will be ready for a good while yet, so if we do see something later today, it's likely to be slapped onto the end of the show as its 'One More Thing' bombshell.
We're picturing Tim Cook donning a prototype headset to prove its existence, but an actual live demonstration might be a few months away - and, in reality (sorry) it's going to be 2023 before we see anything, thanks to reported issues with battery tech.
3. Be wary of rainbow MacBook rumors
Yea, we appreciate this is rich given that the long-teased colorful MacBook Air refresh appeared first on our list of expected announcements, but it genuinely feels as though we have as much of a chance of being ghosted by it again as we do racing to add one to our basket after the presentation concludes.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman predicts that we might still get a new MacBook Air complete with the shiny new M2 chip, albeit not in pastel or neon hues.
Instead, the Apple analyst predicts the laptop will drop in the usual space gray, silver and gold tones, with a bonus navy blue shade taken from the colorful iMac 24-inch refresh.
The much-reported idea of the new MacBook Air coming in a range of “several colors” is probably exaggerated. Right now it comes in space gray, silver and gold. I wouldn’t expect more than those colors (though the new gold will be more champagne like) plus my favorite iMac color. pic.twitter.com/vYl56FOikgJune 3, 2022
We 100% believe that rainbow-toned MacBooks are coming - but this might be a delayed release due to manufacturing constraints that are causing issues for the fruit-themed company after many of its factories and assembly lines were affected by strict Covid-19 lockdowns across China.
It makes more sense for Apple to reduce the number of SKUs initially in order to deliver the actual product, and if that's the case then we can expect an announcement in the next 12 months regarding what shades will be available.