Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, is scheduled to kick off this year on June 7. Like recent developer conferences from rivals Google and Microsoft, WWDC 2021 will be a virtual event this year due to the ongoing global pandemic.
The good news for Apple developers, fans, and followers is that the shift to a virtual showcase means that you can watch Apple’s keynote and developer sessions for free, a steep discount from the typical $1,599 ticket for the in-person conference.
There’s a lot to be excited about this year, so you’ll want to make sure to come back and watch on Monday.
How to watch WWDC 2021
WWDC is slated to kick off at 10 a.m. PT on June 7, which means that those on the east coast can tune in at 1 p.m. ET.
In previous years, Apple had allowed fans to follow its keynote on YouTube, and you can follow along on Apple’s YouTube channel once again this year — a link to this year’s livestream is embedded above for your convenience. However, the best bet to get all of Apple’s WWDC news is to follow Apple’s dedicated events page, where the company will also embed its livestream for this year’s keynote presentation. Those interested in viewing Apple’s livestream can head over to Apple’s special events portal, which will give you the option to add the WWDC keynote to your calendar.
The livestream will also be available on Apple’s TV app on Apple hardware and through the Apple Developer website if you’re a registered developer.
What to expect at WWDC 2021
WWDC is typically about Apple software, and this year will be no different. Apple will likely announce the next operating system revisions for some of its biggest platforms, including iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, WatchOS, and more.
With these releases, Apple could once again be doubling down on its privacy push following the launch of the App Tracking Transparency feature that debuted on iOS 14. A new privacy menu may be coming to iOS 15, along with changes to how notifications are displayed and managed, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The company is also said to be working on an overhaul to its iMessage platform, and its Health app could gain the ability to track food, which would make it competitive with third-party apps like MyFitnessPal.
On the tablet, iPadOS may bring a significant visual overhaul to the iPad. With iPadOS 15, users may be able to finally place widgets anywhere on the home screen, making it a more versatile desktop for your computing needs.
And for those who need a desktop for their computing needs, the Mac gets a surprising OS jump. After Apple retained the OS X branding for years, the company switched to MacOS 11 with the launch of Big Sur. This year, the platform gets a bump to 12. It’s unclear what to expect this year, but unlike the jump to MacOS 11 last year, the move to MacOS 12 this year may be a minor release, according to Bloomberg.
For Mac owners, however, the big news will be new hardware. Though hardware announcements are rare at Apple’s software-centric developer conference, it’s widely rumored that new MacBook Pro models could debut at this year’s show.
Ahead of WWDC, rumors suggest that Apple could unveil new MacBook Pro models with 14- and 16-inch displays. Unlike the refreshed MacBook Pro 13-inch with M1 processor that launched late last year, the new MacBook Pros are expected to come with significant design changes. It’s been suggested that Apple could remove the Touch Bar in favor of more traditional function keys with this revision, bring back the HDMI and MagSafe charging ports, and reintroduce an SD card reader.
Powering the new laptops could be a new, revised M1X processor, according to Bloomberg, featuring a 10-core heterogeneous processor design with eight high-performance and two high-efficiency cores and integrated graphics with either 16 or 32 GPU cores.