WWDC 2018: iOS 12 release date and what to expect from Apple's annual developer conference

Apple's WWDC is next weekApple's WWDC is next week
Apple’s WWDC is next week

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2018) is today, where the iPhone giant is expected to announce the latest changes to its iOS smartphone operating system, is just around the corner.

Every year thousands of developers and Apple fans gather for its . Last year, Apple revealed the HomePod, its new smart speaker system using Siri. This year it is expected to launch an evolution of iOS, possibly iOS 12, as well as upgrades to its iPad Pro range.

In previous years it has also used the event to launch some hardware upgrades, such as a new iPad Pro version last year. Although many people will be hoping for news about upcoming iPhones, Apple hasn’t used WWDC to launch a new iPhone since 2010.

When and where will WWDC take place?

WWDC will take place from today (4th June) to 8 June in San Jose, California.

What time is the WWDC keynote?

The WWDC keynote presentation from chief executive Tim Cook will take place at 6pm BST if you are watching it in the UK.

How to watch WWDC 2018

You can watch WWDC on Apple’s website if you have a device running iOS or macOS. A livestream is available here.

WWDC rumours

This year there may be some changes in what is seen at WWDC. While in previous years, Apple has tried to push out hundreds of new features in an annual upgrade cycle this has begun to take its toll on the quality of its software.

Last year, bugs such as the iPhone X not taking calls properly and bugs in its messaging were just some problems faced by Apple. According to Bloomberg, Apple is now taking a slower run at its upgrade process, meaning there may be fewer headline announcements this year.

Tim Cook - Credit: BloombergTim Cook - Credit: Bloomberg
Tim Cook is expected to deliver the keynote at WWDC Credit: Bloomberg

iOS 12

What Apple can be expected to launch is its latest upgrades to iOS. Apple is expected to launch a iOS 12, which will be an upgrade on iOS 11, although there are few concrete details about what analysts expect, and more than a few contradictions.

The biggest change could include apps that work across iPhone, iPad and Mac, Bloomberg reports. The project has been codenamed Marzipan, although according to Apple blogger John Gruber the project is unlikely to come to fruition this year, and may instead be planned for 2019.

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Apple launched iOS 11 at WWDC last year

In addition to an upgrade to its phone software, Apple is likely to make improvements to its macOS High Sierra operating system for Macbooks. It often uses WWDC to add new features to its watchOS operating system for smartwatches and its tvOS operating system for Apple TV.

Digital well-being upgrades

There are also expectations that Apple could follow Google’s Android and add more so-called “digital wellbeing” features to iOS. It is thought to be adding a new digital health tool that will allow parents more control over screentime. 

Last week, The Telegraph reported iOS developers had seen an uptick in Apple’s support for digital wellness apps, while Apple has also come under pressure from investors to curb smartphone addiction.

Improved NFC

Apple has been using NFC, or near-field communication, in its phones for years now. The technology is used for making payments using contactless or as a method of connection instead of Bluetooth. Apple is now thought to be adding new features to NFC as part of iOS 12, according to technology site The Information.

The main use of this feature would allow Apple to use NFC to replace features like car unlocking or smart-lock apps on doors. These often require a specific app to work, but the report suggests Apple could allow these to work without an extra app.

More ARKit

Augmented reality, or AR, was a big reveal from Apple last year at WWDC. Tim Cook has long expressed the view that AR has more use than virtual reality and last year Apple revealed its ambition with the launch of ARKit, a developer kit that allows for the creation of apps and games using augmented reality on iPhones.

ARkitARkit
An iPad using augmented reality in a classroom setting

Apple called out AR in its press release for WWDC, suggesting it may show off some of the use cases for its new AR software. Apple said: “Last year at WWDC Apple debuted ARKit, and since then, developers with apps in every category on the App Store have embraced inventive ways to engage customers with virtual experiences overlaid in the real world.”

Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning to release ARKit 2.0 in 2018, while tech news site Cnet reports that Apple is working on an ambitious AR and virtual reality headset, although this is unlikely to be revealed until 2020.

Will Apple release new hardware at WWDC?

HomePod - Credit: APHomePod - Credit: AP
Last year, Apple used WWDC to debut the HomePod Credit: AP

Last year, Apple used WWDC to tease several pieces of new hardware, not least its challenger to the Amazon Echo with the HomePod. It also released a new 10.5-inch version of the iPad Pro.

Apple has form in unveiling new hardware at WWDC and this year it is expected it may launch a new version with Face ID, its facial recognition system which was revealed on the iPhone X.

WWDC - Credit: Getty/VCGWWDC - Credit: Getty/VCG
Tim Cook revealed the new iPad Pro 10.5 at WWDC last year Credit: Getty/VCG

Bloombergreported in November last year Apple was working on a new premium version of its iPad Pro, while analysts Rosenblatt claim Apple will release an improve iPad Pro and possibly a smaller version of its HomePod smart speaker.

Will we see a new Macbook Pro or iPhone SE 2?

There are also plenty of rumours that Apple will release a smaller version of its iPhone, such as a new version of the iPhone SE, however most analysts expect Apple to make new iPhone announcements later in the year. 

The iPhone SE has proved popular with its longevity as Apple’s cheapest and smallest version of the iPhone. With a 4-inch screen, it is also a popular choice for people who don’t want to use a bulky phone with a 6-inch screen, which has become a growing trend. Apple is thought to be working on three phones for release later this year.

iPhone SEiPhone SE
The iPhone SE has not had an update for two years

The iPhone SE 2 may also not appear at WWDC as it is rarely used to show off a new iPhone. In fact, the last iPhone to be released at WWDC was back in 2010.

As for a new Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, any upgrades to this lineup are expected to happen later in the year. Apple could announce that it will upgrade some of the internal powers of its Macbooks at WWDC, as it did this time last year. 

Or no hardware at all?

Some reports say we shouldn’t expect a new Mac, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or even an Apple TV to be revealed at the conference. 

It is believed the announcements will be made later on in the year rather than at WWDC, for example a new iPhone hasn’t been unveiled at the developer conference since 2010.  

WWDC 2018 | Everthing you need to knowWWDC 2018 | Everthing you need to know
WWDC 2018 | Everthing you need to know

Apple Watch?

Since launching in 2015, the Apple Watch operating system, called watchOS, hasn’t caught on. Instagram, Google Maps, Twitter, Amazon and eBay have discontinued their watch apps for the platform.

Despite watchOS not showing the same early promise as the iPhone, is working on a pair of new Apple Watches that keep the overall size of the current models, but include slightly larger, edge-to-edge screens, according to a reports.

Despite watchOS not showing the same early promise as the iPhone, is working on a pair of new Apple WatchesDespite watchOS not showing the same early promise as the iPhone, is working on a pair of new Apple Watches
Despite watchOS not showing the same early promise as the iPhone, is working on a pair of new Apple Watches

These changes will be the most notable external enhancements since the Watch launched about three years ago, but the new models will still support watch bands from earlier models, another person said.

Upgrades to Siri?

It’s widely expected that Siri will get some upgrades this year, now that the voice assistant is central to Apple’s HomePod technology for controlling the smarthome.

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Siri isn’t giving any clues about WWDC yet

However, recent claims that Siri was giving clues as to what users will see at WWDC have been shown to be false. In previous years, Siri has offered a tease as to what users may see at WWDC when asked.  Some sites have reported that Siri is giving new answers to what users will see at WWDC, although it appears these are from WWDC 2017. 

For now, Siri just directs users to visit Apple’s website to find out more.

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