What to expect from WWDC 2021

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Marie-Ange Demory
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A week into WWDC 2021, rumors about news Apple may have in store have been virtually non-existent, with weird and vague rumors on various topics offering little or no guarantees as to their veracity. At least we know what's new about accessibility from the source itself, Apple.

As you surely know, this year, for the second in a row, the entire WWDC will take place online, something we are sure is here to stay, even if the year 2022 will again be held in person.

The success of the support and the criticism that anyone interested could be trained in new Apple technologies, we are sure will be maintained for years to come.

We start from the safe presentations, and then delve into the unstable world of speculation provided by the "anonymous sources" with which the annual salad of application developers for the stupid Apple is dressed.

iOS 15

As we said, Apple has tightened the bolt on the news this year and few things have leaked as to which directions Apple's mobile operating system can evolve.

While it may be that, after the great advancement iOS 14.5 has made in new features, iOS 15 will focus on maintenance and weight reduction (which Apple has done a few times in its desktop system), it will always bring new features that allow to elicit some surprise exclamations from the developer community.

It is said that Apple will expand the notifications functionality and how they are handled. You can set different preferences depending on the status (such as “work, sleep or custom categories). You would do this from a menu in the Control Center and on the block screen, which is also rumored to be redesigned (admitting the widgets on the cover).

It is also rumored that Messages will see its features expanded, to include more social features, although it hasn't leaked exactly how it will be done, so it could perfectly be a fanciful hoax.

Apple will also continue to push with the privacy in iOS 15. There will be a new setting that will show which apps are collecting data without the user's knowledge, something important after releasing the rule on the transparency of monitoring of app (ATT).

With regard to new apps, there are rumors that Apple is working to put an app to hold into iOS 15 track of meals, possibly integrated into the Health app, even if - in our humble opinion - it will include Artificial Intelligence and object recognition functions. in Photos, so that taking a photo of a dish automatically calculates the calories it contains (there are already apps that do).

In the field of security, it has also been rumored that iOS 15 will include dual biometric authentication (optional), so that to access the device, two parameters (such as voice and face) must match.

iPadOS 15

With the arrival of Apple's proprietary M1 chip on the iPad, we have no doubt that the iPad has begun its migration to macOS integration, so that it can benefit from existing apps for traditional computers, instead of requiring a ' extension of the capacity of iPhone applications.

This puts the operating system in a kind of impass as it adjusts to its impending future, so it will continue to inherit some things from the "generic" iOS by incorporating the wickers needed to build that new bin that will finally make the iPad take advantage of all the its potential, without being bound by the software.

It is said, as in iOS 15, that you can put widgets on the lock screen and anywhere on the home screen. Additionally, professional Apple applications such as Final Cut Pro and Xcode may appear (although this may only be for iPads with M1).

Watch 8

The Apple Watch operating system is mature, due to the inherent limitations of the device, and few innovations can be introduced without modifying the hardware. New complications, or widgets, new spheres… but few radically new things.

macOS 12

If Big Sur has already surprised us by abandoning the macOS X brand, moving from version to version, the rumors insist that Apple will continue to progress further with version numbers and the next will be macOS 12.

Leaks this year on macOS news have been close to zero, which isn't strange considering Apple is deep in the middle of the processor transition, so most of the work will be in optimizing the system for the M1 chips. (or M1 Pro, or M2, or as Apple wants to call the generation of processors it will apply to its professional computers).

As we said at the beginning, macOS 12 could perfectly be one of those optimization and maintenance releases, with minor improvements but with a focus on agility and speed.

Apple could make up for this lack of new features with the announcement of a computer intended for developers, whether it's a high-end Mac mini or a MacBook Pro with M1 pulverizing comparisons.

According to Bloomberg, the name of the chip would be "M1X" with 10 cores and two highly efficient cores. Apple would offer two versions of the chip, one with 16 GPU cores and one with 32 GPU cores.

The new Apple 3D

Of all the rumors we've read, this is the most intriguing, as daring… as plausible. Such a thing would explain why there have been so few escapes, and it's because all the work was done "inside the house", with no need for it to transcend Cupertino (similar to the secret life of the M1 until they were revealed).

For years we have seen Apple promote augmented reality as a capability of its devices, but nothing, neither yours nor anyone else's, made that ability transcend the anecdote, other than filling minutes in presentations.

Just as Siri is the eternal promise that never materializes, Augmented Reality has gone from being aroused to watching her passively, because it is known to be going nowhere.

This speculation says this year's WWDC will be about 3D. According to Robert Scoble, blogger and book author:

There will be some announcements throughout the year and these changes will lead to new products, services and experiences that will last for decades. This is Apple's fourth paradigm shift. The precedents were the personal computer, the graphical user interface and the iPhone.

Robert Scoble

The jarring element is that if there had been some kind of paradigm shift that would have carried over to sessions with Apple engineers at WWDC 2021, so developers can understand what can be done and how with the new technology.

Everything looks like another WWDC so far, so that "paradigm shift" doesn't seem ready to see the light of day.

This would result in moving from 2D interfaces, displays and experiences to 3D interfaces, displays and experiences.

What you need for this type of change is a list that will make you squint:

  1. A new real-time 3D map of the whole world.
  2. A new Siri and a new search engine.
  3. A new mesh network that offloads artificial intelligence work to your home's M1 chips.
  4. A new VR / AR device, as well as many other devices such as glasses or contact lenses (the first in 2022, glasses before 2025).
  5. A new kind of programmatic surround sound (spatial audio is just the beginning).
  6. New 3D experiences inside cars.
  7. A new car - when it touches.
  8. A new operating system for wearables, facials, computers.
  9. A new set of tools that developers can work with.
  10. New 3D services for things like music, exercises, education, and more.
  11. A new portable gaming device that will interact with this 3D world.
  12. A new 3D audio service (already launched).
  13. A new kind of audio cancellation, using a set of microphones and a new network dude to share audio and video.

Get used to knowing what a voxel is

All of this, according to Scoble, requires a world map made of voxels. A voxel is a volumetric (i.e. three-dimensional) pixel. Each voxel has some unique things (note that each object is made up of millions of voxels):

  1. A unique identifier. Probably an IP address, but owned by Apple. This means that a computer at some point in the world can modify the data in each cube, or show other users the shape of something like a three-dimensional object (from a monument to a street).
  2. A virtualized microphone. That is, you can talk to objects (and they answer you).
  3. A virtualized speaker. So that they can communicate with you on the go (you will need those devices that need to be presented, such as glasses, etc.).
  4. A virtualized screen that allows you to modify an object and turn it into a video screen or an animated character. 
  5. A virtualized database. This way developers can drop data on literally any surface, or even into the air around you.
  6. A virtualized computer. You may be performing distortions in the real world.

I know, in our everyday language this is called "una ida de olla" (losing your head, delirious). But Robert Scobler is a little respected kid, addicted to fantasies or free titles. In fact, he says he has talked to hundreds of people in the industry and these are the conclusions he drew.

It also seems unlikely that this could happen suddenly within a week, but hey, you came here wanting to have reasons to get excited, and that's the best thing to dream about… right?

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