We're about to get a definitive look at what Apple's thinking for this year when WWDC 2019 gets underway today (June 3).
Apple uses its annual Worldwide Developer Conference to set the tone for the rest of the year — and beyond — for what's coming to the iPhone, Mac, iPad and assorted other products that Cupertino churns out.
Following along with Apple's announcements from WWDC is fairly easy, and you don't even need to pony up $1,599 for one the event's hard-to-come by tickets. Apple provides a livestream of Monday's keynote — really, the highlight of the event for most of us — so that it's easy to watch on any one of a number of devices.
Here's what you need to know about WWDC 2019 and how to watch.
When is WWDC 2019?
The Worldwide Developer Conference is a week-long event, running from June 3 to June 7 in San Jose, Calif. Unlike with other tech giants — Google, say — most of Apple's conference takes place out of the public view. It's a really developer-focused event, unlike Apple's assorted product launches.
The exception is the opening keynote, which will take place on Monday, June 3 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. Apple may be speaking to developers during that two-hour keynote, but it wants the rest of us to hear what it has to say about upcoming versions of its many operating systems.
How can I watch the WWDC keynote?
If you've got an Apple TV, just head to the Events app just as the keynote's about to begin at 1 p.m. ET. Apple always lives streams its public events through that Apple TV channel, and this year will be no exception.
Apple also has an Events section on its website where it streams presentations like the WWDC keynote. (You'll also find a back catalog of previous events in case you're nostalgic for past iPhone launch events or want to hear about Apple TV+ all over again.) You’ll need an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 10 or later or a Mac running Safari on macOS 10.12. Windows users can hop on a PC running Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge.
There's also a likelihood that Apple will stream the event on YouTube, as it has many of its recent big keynotes. Prolific leaker Guilherme Rambo also just published a link he claims will point directly to Apple's live stream of the keynote (though it isn't active now).
What is Apple going to announce at WWDC 2019?
Apple usually has a few surprises up its sleeve when it comes to events, but WWDC's agenda is pretty predictable. We're going to hear about software, specifically the various operating systems that power Apple's many product lines.
Expect a preview of iOS 13, the update to the iPhone and iPad OS that's likely to come out in the fall. Details about iOS 13 have already come out in drips and drabs, but WWDC will be Apple's first chance to publicly talk about features like Dark Mode and the iPad-centric improvements we're expecting iOS 13 to deliver. Perhaps we'll see if the iPad can finally become the laptop replacement many thought Apple's tablet would be when it debuted in 2010.
In another sign that iOS is going to add a lot of iPad-focused changes in this year's version, word broke just before today's keynote that Apple is spinning out an iPad-specific version of iOS that will be called iPadOS. A post on Apple's developer downloads portal confirms this change.
Similarly, Mac users will get to hear about macOS 10.15, which is also likely to debut in the fall. The new version of the Mac operating system is likely to see a bunch of iOS apps make their way over to the iMac and MacBook lineup, as part of Apple's year-long effort to make it easier to bring iOS apps over to the Mac. Expect to also hear about Apple's plan to split up iTunes into separate apps: The move has been rumored for a while, and more evidence of iTunes' imminent demise surfaced in the weekend ahead of WWDC.
Those won't be the only OSes getting stage time. Apple will also show off the latest versions of watchOS and tvOS, along with the features those will bring to the Apple Watch and Apple TV, respectively. Like the other OSes, those will most likely debut in the fall, so that developers have time to rewrite their apps to take advantage of any new OS features.
Defending the App Store
Apple typically gives an update on how the App Store is doing (Spoiler alert: It's doing quite well!) and how app makers are reaping the reward of building for Apple's ecosystem. That part of the keynote could take on greater prominence this year, as Apple is coming under increasing criticism, with some rivals like Spotify that Apple abuses its power over third-party app makers.
Just this week Apple posted a page to its web site defending its practices and stressing the opportunities open to app makers. We imagine that's going to get worked into CEO Tim Cook's introductory remarks.
Apple Arcade and other services
Apple had a press event two months ago to introduce people to its efforts to beef up subscription services like Apple News+ and Apple Channels. We're likely to get a recap of those efforts, though Apple could expand on Apple Arcade, its upcoming gaming subscription service since so many game makers will be in attendance at WWDC.
What about hardware?
Traditionally, WWDC doesn't see Apple introducing new products, and with the company rolling out new MacBook Pros and even an updated iPod touch in the last two weeks, hardware news becomes an increasingly less likely prospect.
Still, there are exceptions, particularly if the hardware in question appeals to the developers packed into San Jose's McEnery Convention Center. That description would seem to fit the Mac Pro to a T, and it's well known that Apple has an update of that machine in the works for 2019. WWDC would be an ideal venue to show off the updated workstation-class desktop.