Apple WWDC 2019: date and keynote predictions

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Image credit: TechRadar

We just a couple weeks away from Apple's WWDC 2019 keynote and we anticipate a lot of new stuff from CEO Tim Cook and the rest of the company. The Worldwide Developer's Conference is where new mobile, Mac and Apple TV software will almost certainly debut – and perhaps we'll get a peek at new hardware to boot.

The first WWDC 2019 date is Monday, June 3, Apple confirmed back in March. Once again, the show will happen at the McEnery Convention Center, where Apple has put on WWDC the previous two years. 

The keynote has typically been Apple's showcase to hype new and improved versions of its software suite on a big stage. Developers get inspired by additional features several months ahead of their typical launch date, while the rest of us get teased by all the cool stuff coming down the line.

We could potentially see new hardware, too – though that hasn't always been the case. Apple introduced its HomePod smart speaker along with new versions of the iPad Pro WWDC 2017. But the company only unveiled software at last year's event, waiting to unveil the new iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9 at its hardware-focused show later in October.

We're also expecting to see how the new softwarae will integrate all the streaming services Apple previously introduced this year. Apple TV Plus is the company's platform to house the handful of prestige shows it's been purchasing and producing over the last couple years, while Apple Arcade is the gaming service to play across every Apple device (except the Apple Watch).

In any case, here's what we heavily suspect (if not outright know) Apple will talk about at WWDC 2019.

iOS 13

The iOS 13 update is the next big release for Apple's mobile operating system, and it's poised to build on the increased speed in older iPhones and Group FaceTime expansion that arrived in iOS 12. 

The next Apple mobile OS update is expected to bring long-awaited features like Dark Mode and perhaps iPad layout changes on the table. iOS 9 and iOS 11 brought big changes to iPad software, so we expect the same from iOS 13. 

A Bloomberg report has outlined other features allegedly coming in iOS 13, like one that lets users swipe their fingers around a keyboard to spell words (presumably like SwiftKey), along with expansions of Screen Time and the Health app. Another new feature supposedly enables folks to use their iPad as a secondary screen, while a HomePod upgrade lets the speaker respond to different users' voices.

At this point, we don't know which older devices will be compatible with iOS 13. Apple typically requires devices to run a particular chip or newer to run their OS, with iOS 11 and iOS 12 supporting iPhones and iPads with an A7 processor (iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini 2) and better. But a report claims that Apple will move up the threshold, and the iPhone 5S, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6S all won't be able to upgrade to iOS 13, per SlashGear.

Based on previous iOS rollouts, the first iOS 13 beta for developers will likely arrive during or a few days after WWDC 2019. Everyone else will be able to try out the new OS when its public beta launches, which is expected at the end of June. We're anticipating an official release alongside the iPhone 11, which should be coming in October, if Apple follows its usual schedule.

macOS 10.15

We loved macOS 10.14 (aka Mojave) for finally introducing system-wide Dark Mode and additional creative tools, but we haven't heard much at all about macOS 10.15 – which doesn't even have a cool nature-themed codename yet (in keeping with recent releases, it will likely reference a California biome).

We don't know much about what's officially coming, but macOS 10.15 could include iOS features like Siri Shortcuts (and potentially the Shortcuts app), Screen Time, improved Apple ID management and special iMessage effects. We've also seen rumors that iTunes will be split into four different apps: Music, Books, TV, and Podcasts. 

There's also the possibility that macOS 10.15 enables Mac users to link up their iPads as secondary displays.

On the other hand, it's also possible that we'll only see incremental improvements, as happened with the move from 10.13 Sierra to 10.14 High Sierra. If that's the case, perhaps we'll see that minimal upgrade in the name – Dry Mojave, maybe?

Apple ruffled feathers when it raised minimum system requirements for macOS Mojave and locked out older machines, so we don't expect those thresholds to change this time around. To be specific: we expect anything newer than a 2015 MacBook, mid-2012 MacBook Pro, any late 2012 MacBook Air/Mac mini/iMac, late 2013 Mac Pro or 2017 iMac Pro to be able to run the next macOS.

Assuming Apple runs its usual schedule, it will introduce macOS 10.15 and release it in late September.

watchOS 6

We haven't heard anything about watchOS 6, but we're assuming that update will be announced at WWDC 2019 for owners of the newer Apple Watches. Perhaps it will be the long-awaited sleep tracker feature (Apple did buy sleep tracking company Beddit two years ago), though that's rumored to be coming to Apple's wearables in 2020.

But sources told Bloomberg that Apple plans to sever its wearable's close dependency on iPhone by adding an App Store directly to Watch (and ergo, watchOS). This opens the door to third-party developers (finally!) but Apple reportedly also plans to toss in some basic apps that have been on iOS for years, liek Calculator, Voice Memos, and the ability to send Animoji and Memoji stickers. There will also be two new health apps: one called 'Dose' to monitor pill reminders and the other 'Cycles' to track menstrual cycles.

watchOS 6 will almost certainly be compatible with the latest Apple Watch 4 and previous Apple Watch 3, while support for Apple Watch 2 is likely. We don't have high hopes for the original Apple Watch, however, as it stopped getting updates with watchOS 4.

We expect Apple to follow precedent and launch a watchOS 6 beta shortly after WWDC 2019, then release a final public version in September.

tvOS 13

If you thought we hadn't heard much about Apple's other probable software updates, we know even less about tvOS 13, which we expect to be announced at WWDC 2019. 

But Apple TV devices will certainly support the company's new streaming services. Apple TV Plus will have exclusive shows from big names like Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and M. Night Shyamalan, and is expected to launch in later 2019. That's around when Apple Arcade is set to launch, which will have a host of games you can play across iOS, macOS and tvOS devices.

At last year's WWDC, Apple mentioned very little about the then-upcoming tvOS 12, which brought Dolby Atmos overhead surround sound, Dolby Vision HDR standard and zero sign-on that auto-filled passwords from your home Wi-Fi network (for US users, at least).

We don't know about any features coming with the supposed tvOS 13, but if it follows precedent, it will arrive in mid-September.

Mac Pro...and more

Apple is reportedly considering introducing a new version of the Mac Pro, according to Bloomberg. While we didn't get any details of how the desktop machine might be revamped, but there's plenty to update, given the second and last generation Mac Pro came out in 2013.

This fits last year's news that Apple was aiming for a 2019 release of a wholly revisioned Mac Pro, per a lengthy TechCrunch report. Gone is the 'trash can' design, as the company is allegedly considering a ground-up revision.

Apple is also preparing its own brand of external monitor (going by the codename J290) that will pack HDR support, per Bloomberg. Other rumors suggest a 31.6-inch 6K screen with mini-LED backlighting, according to Pocket Lint.