5+ things to watch for at WWDC 22

It’s a given that Apple will discuss improvements in all its operating systems. What else should enterprise IT watch for at WWDC?

Apple, Swift, WWDC, developers, iPad, AR
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Certainly one of the most important events in the tech industry calendar, Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC — a.k.a. “DubDub”) takes place starting June 6 with a keynote speech streamed from Apple Park. It’s a given that Apple will discuss improvements in all its operating systems. What else should enterprise IT watch for at the event?

New Macs and the road to M2

Apple began its transition to Apple Silicon at WWDC 2020. Two years on, every Mac now runs some form of M1 chip, the Mac Pro is likely to break cover soon, and the company is already looking toward the M2 range.

We know Apple’s Macs are a growing presence in the enterprise, so enterprise purchasers will be seeking out information about what to expect from the range and if they should purchase now or belay plans until the M2 range appears. We’ve heard conflicting reports concerning the M2, but I anticipate a 5nm chip with around 10% to 20% performance improvements in comparison to the existing models.

WWDC is not a hardware event, but there is a chance we’ll meet the first M2 or last to be upgraded M1-based Mac Pro.

Mobile Device Management

Apple builds the API’s third-party MDM companies exploit to manage Apple devices in the enterprise and education. The company purchased Fleetsmith in 2020 and leveraged those technologies in Apple Business Essentials.

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We know Apple is paying increasing amounts of attention to the enterprise market, which means we may see additional improvements made to the MDM APIs it provides, including further support to enable authentication from Google and Microsoft. Single Sign On may be improved and, along with improved windowing on the Apple tablet, there have got to be some developers hoping Xcode will become an iPad app.

Integration between iCloud and third-party online document storage services should also improve, given that all have now moved away from kexts.

A new frontier?

Services such as Music, TV, Fitness, and Arcade represent how deep a bench Apple already has in terms of delivering consumer experiences via new platforms. The company’s seeming interest in sports entertainment will add an additional dimension to this offer.

While we probably won’t see anything more than a glimpse (if that) of the Apple Glass AR product the company apparently showed directors this year, Apple seems likely to share new AR-focused features developers can exploit to build AR content, possibly dubbed ‘realityOS.’ I imagine part of this will be about additional ways to apply machine vision intelligence in daily life, along with optimizations in Siri to turn it into a contextually aware predictive search engine, supporting you, your customers, and your staff with information they need for the task at hand.

I think Apple may work to slightly underplay its bid here. I’m also curious to see if it offers a preview developer’s kit to help build apps now for its future glasses, even if we don’t actually get to see them.

The iPad thing

As mentioned above and recently here, Apple is expected to announce improved multitasking features in iPadOS 16. This should make the iPad an even more credible alternative to a Mac (or PC), which will likely give many businesses additional pause for thought as they seek to upgrade legacy equipment. I also imagine we’ll see improvements in Apple Device Manager to make it easier to manage shared devices.

The future of the App Store

Apple’s decision to publish a report concerning its fraud prevention work at the App Store and the company’s continued work to tweak the deals means it knows it must show leadership when it comes to its plans for the App Store. The best forum for this leadership will be WWDC. While I don’t expect it to capitulate to some of the pressures it faces (it won’t suddenly embrace sideloading), I do hope it will share its vision for the next App Store decade with developers at the event.

And more…

Additional highlights for developers? Swift 6.0 and additional measures to protect privacy and security across the Apple ecosystem, improvements to Apple’s offer to advertisers and additions to iCloud+. For this piece, I’ve not considered other currently mooted changes — including improvements in iOS 16, health features, improvements in Apple Watch, or claims that Mac System Preferences will become Settings.

Watching the keynote

The keynote takes place 10am PDT. It will be available on Apple’s YouTube channel, its event website, and within its Event and Developer apps.

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