Apple could finally reveal its augmented reality (AR) glasses at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2021), which kicks off today.
The conference, which is being held online for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, runs from June 7 to 11.
Apple will reveal a range of new hardware products, as well as its major annual software version, from its Apple Park HQ in Cupertino, California.
The event will kick off at 6pm BST tonight (10am local time) and will be live-streamed on Apple.com and YouTube.
Apple’s placeholder image for tonight’s livestream also shows a range of memojis looking adoringly at the WWDC 2021 logo. WWDC usually marks Apple’s unveiling of its next major software version, as well as new hardware products
Here’s a look at all the potential announcements expected to be made at WWDC 2021.
When Apple confirmed the date of WWDC 2021 at the end of March, it shared an intriguing image that hinted at its of long-rumored AR glasses finally being announced.
The image shows a memoji character wearing a pair of glasses, which have a reflection of a laptop in the lenses.
A promo image released by the tech giant in March shows a memoji character with glasses and a reflection of the laptop in the lenses – possibly a reference to AR glasses
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AR AND VR?
Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of an environment or situation
- It immerses the user by making them feel like they are in the simulated reality through images and sounds
- For example, in VR, you could feel like you’re climbing a mountain while you’re at home
In contrast, augmented reality layers computer-generated images on top of an existing reality
- AR is developed into apps to bring digital components into the real world
- For example, in the Pokemon Go app, the characters seem to appear in real world scenarios
Of course, this could be a mere coincidence – but, if rumours are to be believed, the product is long overdue.
Last year, leaker and technology analyst Jon Prosser said he saw two prototypes of the AR glasses at the company’s premises – one white and one black.
Both models, which are described as ‘clean’ and ‘slick’ in appearance, will be 5G-compatible, Prosser said.
The AR glasses, simply called ‘Apple Glasses’, are allegedly not sunglasses but normal prescription glasses that display an interface on the inside of the lens – not dissimilar to what’s depicted in Apple’s promo image.
Wearers would be able to simply use their gaze to select apps on the AR display, which would be similar to a smartphone homepage, rumours suggest.
Anyone facing an Apple Glasses-wearing user will not be able to see the AR display, which will overlay digital images over the user’s real-life surroundings.
Apple Glasses will have its own operating system called ‘Starboard’ according to Prosser, who is described as an Apple leaker ‘with sources throughout the company and supply chain’ by Apple Insider.
A 2019 patent application from Apple suggests the firm is considering technology described as a ‘Display Device’ that uses a ‘reflective holographic combiner’.
This holographic technology could more seamlessly blend objects rendered in the headset’s display, increasing the depth-of-field and reducing the resulting eyestrain and nausea often associated with AR and VR.
Apple has long been rumoured to be developing its own pair of AR glasses. The tech giant filed a patent in 2019 (pictured above) that gives a glimpse into what it may be developing behind closed doors
iOS 14.6 FEATURES
– Apple Card can be shared with up to five people.
– Subscription support for channels and individual shows in Podcasts.
– Lost mode option to add an email address instead of a phone number for AirTag and Find My network accessories.
– Voice Control users can unlock their iPhone for the first time after a restart using only their voice.
Read more on Apple’s website
Apple reveals a new software update at WWDC every year, which rolls out the following autumn, so iOS 15 is certain to be announced.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is ‘readying a major revamp of its mobile software’ for iOS 15, which would be released in time for Apple’s next flagship iPhone (likely to be called iPhone 13).
Prominent changes for iOS 15 will be an updated Lock Screen and ‘additional privacy protections’, Bloomberg said, citing ‘people with knowledge of the matter’.
Apple is also likely to reveal details about iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, for its tablets, computers, smartwatches and TVs, respectively.
iOS 14.6, Apple’s most recent software update, was made generally available at the end of May, featuring tweaks to Apple Card Family and Podcasts.
It came a month after the release of iOS 14.5, which includes support for unlocking an iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a face mask, as well as a controversial feature called App Tracking Transparency.
The feature requires all phone apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across websites or apps owned by other companies.
Apple’s latest software update, iOS 14.5, has made it easier for mask-wearing users to unlock their iPhone in the pandemic era
As well as last week’s promo image, Apple’s placeholder image for tonight’s livestream also shows a range of memojis looking adoringly at the WWDC 2021 logo.
The Memoji avatar capability allows users to create animated versions of themselves from within Apple’s Messages app.
It’s possible Apple is about to announce some new kind of memoji functionality within iOS 15, although one can only speculate what this might be.
It’s worth bearing in mind that new coronavirus-themed memoji and emoji designs came with iOS 14, revealed last year.
The Worldwide Developers Conference, which happens every summer, typically serves as Apple’s opportunity to reveal new hardware and its next big software update
Apple may reveal its third-generation AirPods – the wireless Bluetooth headphones that come with their own charging case.
The second-gen AirPods, which were unveiled two years ago, start at £159. AirPods Pro, with additional noise cancellation technology and water resistance, cost £249.
For the third-generation, Apple is working on more affordable ‘entry-level’ AirPods, according to MacRumors – albeit with a lack of higher-end features like active noise cancellation.
The decision not to include wired EarPods in the box of the iPhone 12 should turn consumers towards its £250 AirPods Pro (left) and AirPods (right)
Apple is already pushing consumers towards AirPods. iPhone 12, released last October, didn’t include a pair of standard wired headphones (EarPods) in the box, unlike its predecessors, prompting outrage from some buyers.
Cheaper AirPods will therefore come as good news for iPhone fans – although consumers can still buy EarPods for an extra £19.
Prosser has also claimed that Apple will introduce two new sixth-generation MacBook Pro models at WWDC 2021 – one with a 14-inch screen and another with a 16-inch screen, and both powered by Apple’s own M1 chips.
According to MacRumors, there will be a redesigned thermal system to accommodate M1 chips, an HDMI port and an SD card reader.
‘The 2021 MacBook Pro models will feature an HDMI port and an SD card reader in addition to a trio of Thunderbolt/USB-C ports, and multiple color options are a possibility,’ it reports.
Apple’s first lineup of Mac computers powered by its in-house-designed M1 computer chip was revealed last November.
Apple had previously relied on Intel chips for its Macs, but these have been ditched in favour of M1.
According to 9to5 Mac, Apple will also reveal a new model in its Mac Mini desktop line, also powered by its M1 chip line, featuring a stylish glass-like top finish.
‘It will seemingly use the same style of magnetic power connector that Apple debuted in the M1 iMac,’ the report says.
Apple’s latest update to the Mac Mini, powered by M1, was also released last November, along with the M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
In November, Apple revealed its first lineup of Mac computers – MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini – to feature its in-house-designed M1 computer chip. Pictured, Mac Mini
Although WWDC is scheduled to last throughout the week, today is the one to watch.
This is when Apple CEO Tim Cook will take the stage to share the latest and greatest Apple devices and software to-date.
The other days are designed for developers to participate and learn about software and other technologies.
‘We are working to make WWDC 21 our biggest and best yet, and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play,’ said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of worldwide developer relations.
iPHONE USERS COMPLAIN iOS 14.6 IS DRAINING THEIR BATTERY
iPhone users who have installed Apple’s new software update, iOS 14.6, are complaining that it’s draining their entire battery within hours.
Apple’s Community Forum is littered with complaints about the update, which Apple released to users on May 24.
One user on the forum posted the message: ‘My battery life on iOS 14.6 is terrible what can be done to fix?’
Another said: ‘I’ve never seen this battery drain before. This is really serious issue!’
YouTube channel iAppleBytes also found ‘horrific results’ in battery performance with iOS 14.6, as shown in its video review.
The video shows seven iPhone models running iOS 14.6 as they lose battery power – and all but one all conk out within five hours.
This problem was especially pronounced on older models iPhone SE and iPhone 6S, as well as the iPhone SE 2, which isn’t even old – it was only released in 2020.