6 WWDC 2021 predictions
Apple has taken the wise decision to hold WWDC 2021 as an online event, just as it did last year. What’s going to happen?
Here’s a rather random series of predictions based entirely on the traditional skills of speculation and guesswork:
This won’t be the last online WWDC
The future remains to be written, but the strength of WWDC as an online event is that Apple became able to reach developers and key partners really effectively by holding the event online.
Apple already offered much of the event as an online show, with keynotes and symposia made available to developers soon after they took place.
Apple (and others) will maintain this momentum and reconfigure WWDC as a hybrid event in future, making personal attendance more of a matter of choice than it has been before.
We’ve all bemoaned the opportunity Apple lost with FaceTime. Lack of cross platform support and a limited feature set means even Apple uses different solutions for internal collaboration. However, the WWDC press release makes explicit mention of new interactive experiences for developers – has Apple developed a new collaboration technology, or simply assembled some valuable building blocks to enable developers to build them?
AR in focus
I don’t expect the company to introduce AR glasses this year (though it could surprise us). We know they are coming, however, which means this year more than any other year Apple will want to press home its support for AR, and the potential implementations of it.
That’s going to mean new API’s, new domains for movement and person recognition, improvements in graphics and image rendering and the addition of new machine vision intelligence tools, alongside additional improvements to make AR robust. Google’s doing the something similar.
This also leads me to anticipate new mapping tools to implement AR experiences, QR codes and App Snaps.
Yeah, Macs are a slam-dunk. The Apple Silicon transition is going well. Apple will want to draw attention to that. It may also want to draw attention to the work it is doing to miniaturize processor design toward 4nm, 3nm and beyond. Though I do anticipate the conversation will turn to SoC design, new transistor technologies and really geeked out discussions around materials and lithographic processes in microprocessor design. In the meantime, here’s a look at the M2 MacBook Pro (or something).
Apple is investing a lot of cash in 5G. It announced investment of over a billion dollars in its European Silicon Design Center in March 2021. It’s already looking at chip development at a sub-molecular level (see above) and is working hard to develop its own 5G and 6G technologies. As it should, given the growing importance of those networks to IoT.
One more thing
Health. AirPods and Apple Watch. Just a hunch. Think diabetes sensors in the watch and AirPod 3 as a hearing support device for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
What do you expect at WWDC 2021? Please let me know in comments below.