What Will Apple’s Virtual WWDC 2021 Reveal for Developers?

For the second year in a row, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), scheduled to take place June 7 through 11, will be all-online and free. Like every edition of WWDC, expect that the company will offer glimpses of the new versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS.

Apple will share the full schedule with developers via the Apple Developer app, the Apple Developer website, and via email. In addition to the usual keynote speeches, Apple will offer online developer sessions and 1:1 labs. 

But what will Apple actually announce this year? That’s a big question that’s unleashed the usual chatter online. Over at Daring Fireball, John Gruber plays with the idea that Apple will use this year’s WWDC to finally unveil the long-rumored “Apple Glasses” augmented-reality headset. “Glasses could be the sort of thing Apple pre-announces half a year in advance of shipping, like the iPhone and Apple Watch, because they don’t have to worry about cannibalizing the sales of an existing product they sell,” he wrote. “And they might want to get developers working on AR apps for the device.”

Even if Apple doesn’t roll out an AR (or VR) headset of some sort, there’s every chance that WWDC will feature big news for developers who work in Apple’s software ecosystem. At WWDC 2020, Apple revealed its transition to “Apple Silicon,” or ARM-based chips built in-house—a seismic shift not only for hardware but also software. This year, Apple could reveal more about its plans to eventually create a unified app ecosystem

“The good thing is that Apple is trying to make its operating systems compatible and programmers could make universal applications for all Apple platforms,” Alex Yelenevych, co-founder and CMO at CodeGym, recently told Dice. “There are applications that were originally intended only for desktops, but now they work safely on the iPad. Xcode and Final Cut Pro are good examples of such apps.”

The latest version of macOS, Big Sur, features an aesthetic heavily reminiscent of iOS. There’s every possibility that Apple will announce tooling at WWDC 2021 that makes interoperability between the two platforms even simpler. Unless Apple rolls out all-new hardware, though, it’s likely that much of what Apple reveals will be iterative as opposed to evolutionary. 

Apple also announced that it’s committing $1 million to SJ Aspires, an “education and equity initiative launched by the City of san Jose.” Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), backed by $100 million in funding, has launched projects nationwide designed to boost mentorship and education for technologists from underrepresented communities.