WWDC 2024: Will last year's Vision Pro reveal be followed by no hardware at all?

Tim Cook at WWDC 2022
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference is only one week away, so excitement is building around what might get announced. At WWDC 2023, Apple unveiled the long-awaited Vision Pro headset, so the bar is high. This year's WWDC will be all about AI with the spotlight on iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS 15. 

AI features aren't the only thing we're expecting Apple to announce. iOS and macOS are getting some much-needed quality-of-life updates and we may even see some changes to iPadOS. However, Apple's big hardware reveal last year will be a tough act to follow. 

WWDC 2024 kicks off with a keynote at 10:00 am PST/1:00 pm EST on Monday, June 10. We'll be covering everything Apple announces live, but if you can't tune in, here's a preview of the highlights we're expecting at WWDC 2024. 

Apple's big plans for AI will be center stage for WWDC

Tim Cook during the Apple "Let Loose" event livestream on May 7, 2024.

Apple has reportedly struck a deal with OpenAI to use its AI tech for Siri (Image credit: Apple)

Siri is getting a makeover. If there's one big change iPhone users will notice after WWDC 2024, it's the revamped Siri AI. It will be the hub of new AI features in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. Upgraded Siri integrations are expected for core apps like iMessage, Photos, Safari, and Notes. 

Apple is overhauling Siri using large language models, which means it will have better natural language processing and likely more natural speaking patterns. Users may already be familiar with large language models through tools like ChatGPT. Siri will still do everything it's currently capable of, but now it will perform more tasks and understand a wider range of questions and prompts. 

Siri will also be the underlying tech behind AI integrations in other apps. For example, you may be able to ask Siri to help you edit a photo or draft an email. We won't know the full extent of these features until the keynote presentation at WWDC, but Apple is expected to focus on small yet practical AI tools that run mainly on-device. Some AI features will still require cloud computing, but Apple will likely cover its security precautions for any cloud-based AI in depth. 

The features rumored for this new-and-improved version of Siri may sound familiar to those who have used ChatGPT or Google Gemini. That may be because Apple was negotiating with both OpenAI and Google to use their AI tech for Siri. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple ultimately chose to work with OpenAI. However, it's still unclear to what extent OpenAI's tech will be integrated into Apple devices. 

Considering the OpenAI deal appears to be fairly recent, ChatGPT may not make an appearance at WWDC. So, for this year we can expect Apple to focus on simple, yet practical on-device AI features and the long-overdue Siri makeover. 

Will Apple reveal any new hardware at WWDC 2024? 

Apple Vision Pro

Apple announced the Vision Pro headset at WWDC 2023 in a "one more thing" presentation (Image credit: Bloomberg / Contributor)

The Vision Pro set the bar high for hardware announcements at WWDC. However, it's unlikely Apple will reveal any comparable hardware this year. The central focus of the event will be Apple's first foray into AI, so it likely won't want any hardware distracting from that. 

Plus, Apple just announced a new line-up of iPads in May. Last month's "Let Loose" event also included the unveiling of the new M4 chip, which debuted in the iPad Pro. If Apple had other hardware announcements planned for WWDC, it likely would have saved the M4 reveal for next week. 

Additionally, Apple doesn't currently have any rumored products that are likely to be ready in time for WWDC. The only one that could potentially make an appearance is the M3 Ultra chip, which is still missing from the current M3 Mac line-up. However, it would still take a backseat to Apple's AI announcements. 

Control Center, Settings, UI, and other non-AI updates

Apple announces live captions for visionOS

visionOS is getting its first big update with new accessibility features like live captions (Image credit: Apple)

AI will steal the show at WWDC 2024, but Apple is also expected to announce some smaller, yet welcome quality-of-life updates. For example, the Settings app in iOS 18 and macOS 15 is getting a UI redesign, as reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. It won't look dramatically different, but Apple is improving the app's search function and tweaking how menus are organized. 

iMessage is also getting some new features, including AI-generated emojis and new tapback icons. The Control Center will soon feature a music widget and more streamlined integration with smart home devices. The Photos app may also get a UI update. 

The iPad, Apple Watch, and Vision Pro appear to be taking a backseat at this year's WWDC, but they could still see some improvements. iPadOS is desperately in need of major changes, but Apple will likely just give it some smaller tweaks, such as improved Stage Manager and access to the same AI features coming to iOS. 

The Vision Pro is getting its first big software update, though, which will include new versions of Apple's in-house apps designed specifically for visionOS (rather than ports of iPad apps). Hopefully, this update helps Vision Pro bounce back from declining sales over the past few months. 

While we may not be getting another groundbreaking hardware announcement at WWDC 2024, we are in store for a big reveal: Apple's first round of AI features. Apple faces stiff competition in AI with the likes of Google and Microsoft recently launching its new features and devices. 

So, stay tuned for our live updates on WWDC next week to see exactly what Apple announces and how it stacks up with Apple's rivals. 

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Stevie Bonifield
Freelance Writer

Stevie Bonifield is a freelance tech journalist specializing in keyboards, peripherals, gaming gear, and mobile tech. Outside of writing, Stevie loves indie games, photography, and building way too many custom keyboards