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Apple’s WWDC 2024 gets official date for iOS 18 news and more – here’s what to expect

 The WWDC 2024 Logo.
The WWDC 2024 Logo.

Apple just announced that WWDC 2024 is set to kick off on June 10, 2024, and there's a lot of expectation that Apple will make some new AI announcements this year.

Apple's announcement event states that there will be a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, which is where the M2 chip, along with the newly redesigned MacBook Air, was announced at WWDC 2022, and where the MacBook Air 15-inch, M2 Ultra, and Apple Vision Pro were announced at WWDC 2023.

Rather than being a consumer product affair, WWDC (short for Worldwide Developer Conference) is a weeklong conference in California that is much more geared towards professional software developers in the Apple ecosystem than introducing new products. However, Apple has used the conference's opening keynote in recent years to make major new announcements, like the Mac Pro, Apple M2 chip, and more.

A lot has happened since the last WWDC, namely the explosive growth of generative AI, which Apple has said will be coming to its products later this year. Given the audience for this conference, June 10 would seem like a perfect time to lay out Apple's AI strategy to compete with the likes of Google and Microsoft.

Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about its reveals before they are announced on stage, but they do drop hints, and Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior VP for marketing, wasn't exactly subtle in his sharing of the announcement on X (formerly Twitter).

While AI likely won't be the only thing we see at WWDC 2024, all signs point to this being a major AI announcement, at least as far as Apple's strategy for AI going forward.

Tim Cook at WWDC 2023
Tim Cook at WWDC 2023

What we expect to see at Apple WWDC 2024

As far as AI goes, we expect that Apple will show some on-device generative AI, like GPTs or image generation running locally on iPhones and iPads, and probably on MacBooks and Macs, too.

The Apple M-series and A-series chips in its computers and mobile devices, respectively, have had neural processors (NPUs) built into them for a couple of years now but there hasn't been a big push from Apple to get into the kind of generative AI work that hit the industry like a meteor in late 2022.

Apple's neural engine, as it calls its NPUs, should be more than capable of running the kinds of AI workloads that an Intel or AMD NPU is running now, and Qualcomm has been pretty aggressive in promoting its Snapdragon chips' generative AI capabilities, particularly in the Samsung Galaxy S24.

To compete, Apple must deliver a generative AI answer, and a keynote to a conference full of software developers who will likely be tasked with using and expanding on new AI toolkits and frameworks in iOS, macOS, and beyond seems like the perfect venue.

That doesn't mean it will be all AI, though. We'll also likely see iOS 18 announced at WWDC, likely with new AI features leading the way, but also with other more typical quality-of-life improvements across Apple's various software platforms, like watchOS 11.

A mockup of the Apple M2 Ultra die
A mockup of the Apple M2 Ultra die

On the hardware front, it's far too soon for new iPhones to be released, though we're coming up on the perennial cadence of iPad releases, so we wouldn't be surprised to see them make an appearance. The only other hardware announcement we might see is the Apple M3 Ultra, following up on the late 2023 release of new MacBook Pro models with M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips.

The M3 Ultra is a workstation-class chip, so it'll be something that an industry and developer audience would be far more interested in than the average consumer would, so a WWDC announcement of a Mac Studio and Mac Pro refresh with M3 Ultra is a possibility.

We'll almost certainly hear a lot more speculation and many more rumors swirling around as we get closer to the June 10 kick-off to WWDC 2024, but we'll have to wait until Tim Cook takes the stage at Apple Park to know for sure what Apple has planned for the rest of 2024.

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