Here’s what Apple will reveal at its WWDC 2022 conference

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For the first time in two years, Apple is welcoming app makers in person to its sprawling Cupertino campus to kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference today. But that’s not why people are paying so much attention to it this year.

Apple primarily uses its WWDC keynote, which will air live at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (10:00 a.m. Pacific), to highlight new developments in the software that runs its iPhones, iPads, computers and smartwatches.

But as talk of the Metaverse continues to grow, many fans and industry watchers are also expecting Apple to reveal it’s working on a ‘mixed reality’ headset – a kind of wearable display. intended to blend digital objects and environments with your view of the real world.

Apple isn’t alone in exploring the benefits of mixed reality; Microsoft’s Windows 10 and 11 operating systems already support MR headsets, and Facebook-owned Meta began teasing its powerful “Project Cambria” headset late last year. Even so, some view this new type of product as crucial for a company that refreshes existing products more than it invents new ones.

“AR/VR technology will be a key expansion of the Apple ecosystem as the company aggressively pursues the metaverse opportunity with Apple Glass,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives wrote in an investor note. .

A surprise hardware reveal at a software expo wouldn’t necessarily be irrelevant to Apple. The company has regularly used WWDC to reveal new gadgets for the first time, although a steady stream of leaks has made real surprises hard to come by for many years.

In 2017, attendees got their first taste of the Siri-powered HomePod, a high-end smart home speaker that struggled to catch on but spawned cheap spinoffs. Two years later, Apple unveiled the expensive Mac Pro, a very powerful workstation that looked a bit like a cheese grater on wheels.

Apple watchers think the chances of seeing a portable display during Monday’s keynote are unlikely. A Bloomberg report released earlier this year suggested the company would likely push back the official reveal of the headset until later in 2022, if not the year after. More recently, Ming-Chi Kuo, a TF International Securities analyst with a record of accurate Apple predictions, cast doubt on the notion of a headset reveal at WWDC. on Twitter.

“I’m sure that if Apple announces the AR/MR headset and its operating system at WWDC, competitors will immediately start copying projects and happily copy Apple’s great ideas, and hit store shelves before Apple’s 2023 launch,” he wrote.

Apple declined to comment on its product plans.

While the company may discuss what software will eventually power this new device, Apple will likely stick to the bread and butter of its conference keynotes: new announcements of software features for the rest of its products.

iOS, which powers the company’s iPhones, is expected to pack several new features, including new accessibility tools that Apple publicly outlined last month. Meanwhile, iPads could undergo more fundamental changes.

A report claims that the new version of iPadOS will give Apple’s tablets more flexibility in how they display multiple running apps. Such a feature could make iPads more capable replacements for traditional computers, though Samsung’s smartphones and tablets already have an edge there.

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Other announcements expected at the show include an improved power-saving feature for the Apple Watch intended to extend its battery life, as reported by Bloomberg, as well as more sophisticated heart monitoring tools. for the laptop. The software that powers Apple’s tiny set-top box and personal computers is also regularly in the spotlight, though it’s not yet clear what new features will be included.

And maybe, just maybe, Apple will have some hardware to announce, after all. Reports suggest the company plans to follow up last year’s well-received MacBook Pro lineup with an updated version of its popular MacBook Air laptop.

We’ll update this story as the Apple Live event unfolds.

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