What not to expect at WWDC 2024

A MacBook, iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple gift box on a grey background
(Image credit: Apple)

Here's what you shouldn't expect: hardware. Not only is Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference typically focused on software, but serial Apple tipster and Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman claims there’ll be no new products at WWDC 2024

So if you’re into slick Apple tech, does that mean you should skip the event's coverage and our how to watch WWDC 2024 guide? Of course not. 

That’s because, rather obviously, software needs hardware to run upon it, and the potential upgrades and tweaks to the likes of iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS could breathe new life into existing hardware. 

There are hints of a hefty Siri AI upgrade that could transform the rather lackluster virtual assistant — at least in comparison to the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa — into a genuinely useful tool complete with generative AI capabilities; think of it as coming up with holiday plans based on your bookings and air travel tickets or neatly summarizing calls and meetings. 

If such Siri machinations come to pass, that could mean a big upgrade for the likes of the iPhone 15 and recent iPads. But it could also hint that the iPhone 16 range could be a far more AI-centric phone, with generative AI-powered features to take on the likes of the Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24

And AI is likely to play a big part in WWDC 2024 overall, especially as we’ve seen the new iPad Air and iPad Pro models come with the M4 chip that’s been designed to be more efficient for AI workloads. 

From there we can posit there’ll be macOS upgrades or future features that will have AI and automation at their core; think AI-assisted editing in Final Cut Pro or AI-powered virtual instruments in GarageBand. 

Don’t expect any Mac hardware refreshes, as we’ve recently had new MacBooks and desktop Macs. It would be nice to see a reworked iMac with a 27-inch screen but that’s wishful thinking. 

I’d also like to see Apple throw some AI into its audio-visual kit. I'd like to see smarter AI control and tools for tuning things like audio balance with AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, or combining various sensors in the headphones and connected iPhone to provide information on things like wellness tracking without needing an Apple Watch

Any developments on this side could also hint at what we could expect from the rumored AirPods Pro 3 and AirPods Max 2 — both of which I suspect will have smarter features for their upgrades rather than huge steps up in audio quality. 

Smarter watches, clever contraptions

A person tracks a pickleball workout on an Apple Watch.

(Image credit: Apple)

Further touching on the Apple Watch, we can expect new watchOS features that could tap into the AI processing provided by connected iPhones — likely the more recent iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models. These could involve better-tailored fitness routines or clever recommendations of places to visit based on your location and walking speed; slow wandering could suggest that one is looking around for a place to eat.

From there, we could get an idea of what the Apple Watch 10 could feature, and maybe if an Apple Watch Ultra 3 is on the horizon; I suspect that it won’t come for another 12 months or more, as the Apple Watch Ultra 2 came out September last year.

Flipping to products that haven’t had much of a refresh, we’d be looking at the HomePod range. While rather capable speakers, neither the full-size nor compact HomePods have had much in the way of significant updates or capabilities. I highly doubt that’ll change with WWDC, but I’d be curious to see if Apple adds some AI tech to HomeKit, providing more home automation and smart routines between its products and third-party devices.

Ultimately, the answer to the question posed by this article is that the software and platform upgrades and changes Apple could showcase are likely to boost the abilities of existing hardware and show a direction future products can take in 2024 and beyond.

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Managing Editor, Mobile Computing

Roland Moore-Colyer is Managing Editor at TechRadar with a focus on phones and tablets, but a general interest in all things tech, especially those with a good story behind them. He can also be found writing about games, computers, and cars when the occasion arrives, and supports with the day-to-day running of TechRadar. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face and a nose for food markets.