After a few years of ugly macOS announcements, the recent WWDC keynotes brought some significant Mac announcements, creating some much-needed excitement for the Mac platform. Now that WWDC 2022 is almost here, will Apple still be able to continue the momentum of the Mac?
With a couple of key announcements we hope to see at the event, it’s definitely possible. Nothing will be quite as significant as Apple’s first silicon announcement, but Apple could make some important revelations that will keep the Mac in the limelight. Here are the Mac announcements we hope to see at WWDC 2022, in order of preference.
When Apple began moving Macs from Intel CPUs to its own M1 system on a chip (SoC), the company said it would be a two-year process. WWDC 2022 is the two-year mark, and as Apple Senior VP John Ternus pointed out during March’s Mac Studio event, there’s only one Mac making the transition, the Mac Pro.
The anticipation for the Mac Pro, however, relates less to the SoC (I’ll elaborate on that in the next section) and more to the device itself and what Apple will do to meet the needs of Mac Pro users. Will Apple build a tower Mac? What are the component abilities? What kind of access do users have to the internals? How expandable will it be?
So many questions that we hope to have answered on June 6th. I can’t help but think that Apple wants to complete this transition in a big way, so I have high hopes for this announcement in particular.
Next-gen Apple silicon
Apple is completing one transition, but another is about to begin: the transition from the M1-series SoCs to the M2-series SoCs. The Mac Pro will likely have a configuration that boosts the performance of the M1 Ultra, its fastest Mac SoC, so the company has peaked for the M1 series. It seems like Apple is on a two-year cycle with its Mac silicon, so the timing for the launch of the next series seems right, although recent rumors suggest the wait might be a little longer.
But if Apple decides to unveil the M2 at WWDC, it will likely be a “preview” rather than a fully detailed reveal with product announcements. John Ternus might even make another one-line nod to it — any sort of recognition would help continue the M-Series marketing momentum. Apple released the M1 Macs in Fall 2020. So expect the entry-level M2 to be released in the fall, too. Then we bring the essentials to the chip.
(While I’ve personally lost interest in Intel, chip enthusiasts and people who enjoy engaging in technology debates are very focused on the biggest PC chipmaker. Intel’s Raptor Lake and Meteor Lake CPUs are on the horizon, so says Apple something about the M2 will add some spark to the game of one upmanship marketing.)
WWDC isn’t usually the place for consumer notebooks, but the MacBook Air might be an exception. For over a year it’s been rumored to be getting a massive redesign with narrow bezels, an even smaller footprint, and colors other than space grey, silver, and gold. The MacBook Air hasn’t been this exciting in a while — even the 2018 model was largely an iteration of the previous version — but if the rumors are true, the new model will be one of the most exciting laptops in years.
We’re hoping for a throwback to the original iBook, much like the 24-inch iMac was a nod to the original iMac. The M1 MacBook Air is a great machine, but not an exciting one. A redesigned model with or without the M2 processor would be a fantastic way to bring the thrill back.
macOS 13 features, bug fixes, and the real name
We’ve published our macOS 13 wish list and we’ll be watching the keynote closely to see if any of our wishes come true. There are a few items on the list that we want more than others – notably desktop widgets (the ability to take widgets from the notification center and put them on the desktop) and a more robust Control Center that’s customizable and more modules has – maybe even from third-party developers.
The only thing Apple really needs to do for macOS is fix long-standing bugs and optimize the system. As I said in the macOS 13 wish list, if that’s all Apple did and nothing else – no new features – I’d be very happy.
The name of macOS can indicate how big the release update is. For example, macOS Monterey is named for Monterey Bay, which is part of the larger Big Sur region of central California—and the version of macOS before Monterey was called Big Sur. And Big Sur was a bigger upgrade than Monterey with its UI changes, support for iOS and iPadOS apps on M1 Macs, and more.
But if you’re unfamiliar with the California locations Apple uses, you’re lost. Then it’s just a name, and in the case of macOS it doesn’t really mean much other than being an alternate reference point for the version number.
Regardless, Mac users are investing in the macOS name and it’s a highly anticipated announcement. When Apple Senior VP Craig Federighi comes to this point in the WWDC keynote, the anticipation and excitement grow, and the name consolidates the nebulous notion of an operating system update and makes it a reality. Once the name has settled, there’s a vociferous debate as to whether or not it’s a good choice.
Based on Apple’s trademark filings, the money appears to be on “Mammoth” as macOS’s next name. Aside from being in a location in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, the word itself would imply that macOS 13 has some big changes and features for the Mac. The rumor mill hasn’t been filled with macOS 13 reports of major changes, so I don’t think “mammoth” is the name. I think they’ll save it for a bigger release later.
M1 Pro/M1 Max Mac mini
When Apple’s John Ternus said the Mac Pro was the only remaining Mac set to move to Apple silicon, he was referring specifically to the Mac Pro, but it’s not the only remaining Mac. There’s also the high-end Mac mini – this $1,099 model still uses an Intel CPU.
There’s a gap in Apple’s M1 lineup between the iMac and the Mac Studio, and a professional Mac mini would fit perfectly into that slot. According to reports, this Mac mini could be updated with an M1 Pro and M1 Max, and it could also have more GPU cores and support for more RAM.
Apple discontinued the iMac Pro last year, but reports seem to indicate Apple may be bringing it back. It could have a 27-inch display and an M1 Pro and M1 Max SoC, and it could have a similar design to the 24-inch iMac but not in the Pro silver and space gray color palette.
Reports of a 27-inch Mac Mini LED standalone display have also surfaced, but could this be a case of confusing the display with the iMac Pro? That’s what happened with the Studio Display; Leakers confused the Studio Display with an iMac. In any case, Apple seems to be working on a 27-inch display someand we hope it will be unveiled at WWDC.