5 things to expect at WWDC 2024

Girl talking to an AI robot

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference tends to eschew new hardware in favor of updates to Cupertino’s myriad of software platforms. And that looks to be the case for WWDC 2024, with no hardware tipped for a reveal at the showcase. 

So that leaves one questioning what to expect at this year’s WWDC. Well going by the rumors so far and some educated speculation on what’s come before and the state of the technology world, we can have a good stab at what we think will be shown off. 

Without further ado, read on for five things to expect at WWDC 2024. 

Lots of AI 

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Yuganov Konstantin)

Given the Samsung Galaxy S24 phones come stuffed with generative AI tools and Google I/O was all about AI, we’d bet a good amount that Apple will also lean into AI for its software platforms.

Now Apple is no stranger to AI, with smart algorithms used to stitch together impressive photos on iPhones, and its in-house designed chips coming with the Neural Engine dedicated to processing machine learning workloads. 

But Apple has yet to dig into generative AI, whereby smart tools can create new things rather than optimize existing data or enhance photos and videos. So we can expect Apple to showcase some generative AI tech like smart editing tools in Final Cut Pro, auto summarization of FaceTime calls, or instant agendas based on meetings or holiday bookings. 

As Apple products have often been the tools of creators, we can expect generative AI capabilities to lean on productivity; say aiding photo editors or smartly testing code for errors. 

Whether Apple develops its own AI models or partners with the likes of ChatGPT, we can expect multimodal AI — where data can be processed from multiple inputs, sensors, and sources — to play a role, given Apple’s AI efforts will surely be spread across its ecosystem rather than limited to the likes of macOS or iOS. 

Smarter Siri 

An iPhone on a blue background showing the Siri logo

(Image credit: Apple)

Rumors have been swirling around the Siri virtual assistant getting a proper AI upgrade, potentially with help from ChatGPT. 

While Siri arguably spearheaded the rise of virtual assistants with its debut in the iPhone 4S, it’s now seen as a bit of a dunce compared to the capabilities and accuracy of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. So a new injection of smarts, particularly improved natural language comprehension, better search capabilities, and access to a multimodal AI model, could make for a far more capable Siri.

We’re talking about the ability to comprehend compound sentences in natural language, say being told to craft a list of restaurants to visit based on a person’s travel agenda or plan out an entire holiday by sucking data from booked flights and hotels. 

Such upgrades combined with the wide reach of Apple’s iPhones could see Siri make a proper comeback in the virtual assistant arena. 

Big changes for iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 

An iPhone on an orange background showing Siri

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple can’t have a WWDC without featuring iOS, this year in its 18th guise. And we expect Apple to give us a big look at what new features, tweaks and changes will come with iOS 18. 

Most prominently – and you’ll likely have sniffed out a theme here – will likely be the integration of new and improved AI features. Going by the rumors, this could involve the use of ChatGPT integration across the platform. 

What form this will take isn’t clear yet, but it’ll likely follow on from a smarter Siri, with features like smart responses to emails or AI-powered editing in the Photos app, and smart composing of playlists in Apple Music being built into iOS 18. 

The same is likely to be true of iPadOS 18, given how closely it’s related to iOS. Ideally, we’d see some more productivity and creativity-led tools to tap into the potential of the new M4 chip-equipped iPad Air and iPad Pro models. A more desktop-like environment when the aforementioned iPads are connected to a Magic Keyboard would be good, but that could be wishful thinking. 

Expect things like new accessibility settings and some design tweaks across both iOS and iPadOS.

 Smart stuff in macOS 15

macOS 14 Sonoma features

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Much like iOS, the next version of macOS, which will be in its 15th guise, will be shown off at WWDC 2024. And one can expect a lot of the features added to cross-ecosystem apps like Notes, Pages, Safari, and more to make their way over to macOS equivalents. 

Not to sound like a broken record here, but AI of a generative flavor will surely have a place in macOS. We can see that as smart ways to summarize documents, presentations, and web pages, clever editing tools, smart assistance in coding environments, improvement in web searching, and other productivity-focused features. 

Equally, we can expect to see some design tweaks to the appearance of macOS, potentially with improved accessibility features and options, and perhaps more scope for customization. 

AI and watchOS 

A person wearing an Apple Watch with the Gentler Streak app showing on the Watch face.

(Image credit: Future)

To bang the AI drum once again, we can expect some smart generative AI-led features to be potentially added into watchOS, and get a full look at watchOS 11. AI would likely be used in conjunction with a connected iPhone taking care of the processing, with the goal of chewing through sensor and fitness tracking data to create tuned and customized workouts for users. 

One can see the addition of AI-powered virtual coaches and trainers and smartly using an iPhone’s cameras to film a person’s pose and poise when doing activities like yoga and then having an Apple Watch use audio and haptic prompts to direct a person to have perfect form. 

We’d also expect to see new capabilities in watchOS, such as better health tracking and detection of problems like atrial fibrillation – just don’t expect the return of blood oxygen for the Apple Watch Ultra 2. 

And the rest…

We’re not expecting to see a huge focus on home or audio tech for Apple, but we can expect some AI features to percolate through the rest of Apple ecosystem, like adding smart tuning for AirPods based on where a person is, or the ability to create clever smart home routines via Apple’s HomeKit and Home app.  

The Apple Vision Pro is surely to make an appearance, likely to get a boost in features and wider use cases. But given the mixed reality headset isn’t exactly a must-have device at the moment, Apple may not put a huge focus on it. 

We’ll be bringing you all the latest news from WWDC 2024, so stick with TechRadar. And if you want to follow the live stream yourself, check out our guide on how to watch WWDC 2024. 

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