What to expect at WWDC 2022: iOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9 and possibly new Macs


What to expect at WWDC 2022: iOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9 and possibly new Macs

Apple’s 33rd annual Worldwide Developers Conference is scheduled to begin Monday, June 6 at 10:00 am. Like the 2020 and 2021 events, it will be held digitally only, making participation free for all developers worldwide.

The keynote event will give us our first look at new operating system updates including iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, tvOS 16 and watchOS 9, as well as rumors that we may see new hardware. Everything we’ve heard about this year’s event is below.

iOS 16

Most of the “iOS 16” rumors have been vague, so we know little about the OS update at this point. In years past, new versions of iOS leaked early, giving us a glimpse of upcoming features, but that didn’t happen this year.

However, we’ve heard some rumors about what to expect, with a lot of the information coming from there Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, who has reliable sources of information on Apple’s plans.

Rumored new features

  • Redesigned lock screen with wallpapers that have “widget-like abilities”.
  • There will be “significant” improvements to notifications, although we don’t know the exact details.
  • News app with “social network-like functionality” with a special focus on audio news.
  • Health app with advanced sleep tracking functionality and medication management. Apple is working on a tool that will allow users to scan their pill bottles into the app, and new health features for women are expected.
  • New Apple apps are in the works, with no more specific information.
  • Apple is also working on “new ways of system interaction,” but it’s not entirely clear what that means.
  • New Fitness+ types of training.
  • Classic Apple Music app with interface based on Primephonic, an app Apple acquired in 2021.

Possible features based on iPhone 14 rumors

  • Always-on display for iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max (not coming until September).
  • Likely revised status bar interface for “iPhone 14 Pro” and Pro Max to accommodate the punch and pill design intended to replace the notch on these devices.
  • The iPhone 14 models are expected to get a car crash detection feature that will automatically call 911 if a collision is detected. This would require new “iOS 16” functionality.
  • Apple may also add a satellite-based emergency feature to the “iPhone 14” models, which would be supported in “iOS 16”. This feature would allow iPhones to send texts in emergency situations when cellular coverage is unavailable, and to report major emergencies when coverage is unavailable.
  • ‌iOS 16‌ could include support for Apple Pay’s Buy Now, Pay Later feature that Apple is developing.
  • It could also introduce support for the hardware subscription program, which allows customers to pay a monthly fee for an iPhone, iPad, or a Mac.

To learn more about what we’re expecting in “iOS 16,” we have a dedicated iOS 16 roundup.

iPad OS 16

iPadOS 16 will get many of the new features introduced in “iOS 16,” but Apple is also working on additional features that are “iPad” specific.

With iPadOS 16, Apple aims to make the “iPad” behave more like a laptop than a smartphone, and the new “iPad” software will be one of the biggest updates announced at WWDC.

The update will include a redesigned multitasking interface that will make it easier to switch between tasks and see what apps are open, and allow users to resize windows. Apple also plans to implement new ways for users to deal with multiple apps at once, in what sounds like a much more Mac-like multitasking experience.

macOS 13

We don’t know much about the feature set of “macOS 13” as there have been few leaks. There’s rumored to be an overhauled System Settings UI, making it more in line with the Settings app on ‘iPhone’ and ‘iPad’, with the update including individual settings organized by app.

macos 13 text model

Apple is also expected to overhaul some of the stock apps, so we could see improvements to Messages, Mail, Safari and more. News in particular is rumored to be getting features like social networking with improvements in audio news. That’s an “iOS 16” rumor, but news usually has cross-platform feature parity.

As for naming, “macOS 13” could be macOS Mammoth based on Apple’s trademark filings. Apple registered trademarks for many California landmarks back in 2013 and Mammoth is the one that has been active the longest, although its status is unknown at the time and Apple has picked some names in the past that were never on that list, the company said Naming is not certain.

watchOS 9

watchOS 9 will include some updates that will affect day-to-day operations and navigation on the wrist-worn device.

  • Updated power saving mode that allows apps and features to be used while reducing battery consumption.
  • Advanced atrial fibrillation detection feature with added “strain”, also known as how often a person is in a state of atrial fibrillation over a period of time.
  • Improved health and activity tracking.
  • Other types of training.
  • Additional metrics for running workouts.
  • Update existing watch faces.

tvOS 16

tvOS doesn’t often get as many new features as other operating system updates, and we don’t know much about tvOS 16, but it’s rumored to include new smart home integrations. After the update starts, you may be able to do more with your smart home products through Apple TV.

hardware possibilities

Past WWDC events have focused solely on software and have not included any hardware announcements, so it’s not yet clear if we’ll see any hardware reveals at this year’s event. In this case, the devices listed below are the most likely candidates.

MacBook Air

If Apple plans to unveil new Macs at the event, the MacBook Air is the device we’re likely to see Bloombergis Mark Gurman. Apple is reportedly “aiming” at launching the “MacBook Air” at the event, but COVID-related supply chain issues in China could prevent Apple from doing so.

MacBook Air rounded mock yellow

The next-gen “MacBook Air” is expected to feature a complete design overhaul, with a MacBook Pro-like shape that dispenses with the tapered body. It will be thinner and lighter and is expected to come in multiple colors including space grey, silver, a champagne color and blue. The ‌MacBook Air‌ is expected to feature slim cream bezels and a matching cream keyboard, and will be around 13.6 inches tall.

The ‌MacBook Air‌ will likely feature a next-gen M2 chip, which is expected to have the same number of cores as the M1 (eight), but will include speed improvements that make it marginally faster. It’s also rumored to have upgraded graphics with nine or 10 GPU cores, up from seven or eight on the current “M1” “MacBook Air”.

The “M2” chip will be the first upgrade from the M1 series chips that Apple has previously used in Apple silicon devices. Although many rumors suggest that the “MacBook Air” will come with an “M2” chip, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple may focus on redesign rather than new chip technology.

He said the next-gen TSMC N3 and N4P manufacturing processes won’t be ready for mass production until 2023, so Apple can only roll out an iterative update, which is expected to use the same N5P chip used for the A15 and the “M1” is used.

Find out more about the next-gen MacBook Air in our 2022 MacBook Air Guide.

Mac Pro

Back in 2019, the redesigned modular Mac Pro was previewed at WWDC ahead of its launch in late 2019, and there’s a chance we could see a similar unveiling this year.


Apple’s hardware engineering chief, John Ternus, confirmed at the spring event that an Apple silicon version of the “Mac Pro” is in the works and is expected to be released sometime in 2022.

Apple might be able to give us a little preview of the “Mac Pro” before it launches later in the year.

Rumor has it that the “Mac Pro” will have a chip that is even more powerful than the M1 Ultra used in the Mac Studio. It is expected to have up to 40 CPU cores and 128 graphics cores, which would make it twice as powerful as the “M1 Ultra”.

Apple could envision an M1 Ultra successor that actually consists of two M1 Ultra chips connected together, since the M1 Ultra itself is essentially two M1 Max chips connected. If that’s the case, the upcoming “Mac Pro” chip will be four times more powerful than the “M1 Max”.

AR/VR headset?

Last year there were rumors that Apple’s long-rumored AR/VR headset could be unveiled at the 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference, but it looks like that won’t happen.

Apple mixed reality headset mockup feature

BloombergApple’s “Mark Gurman” and Apple analyst “Ming-Chi Kuo” said that the headset is simply not ready for launch at this point, as Apple still has some issues to solve. Kuo believes Apple will launch the headset in 2023, and Gurman has said Apple has no plans for a “full announcement” of the headset at WWDC.

However, a trademark for “realityOS”, the operating system for the headset, was recently spotted and it has a deadline of June 8, 2022 for the overseas filing date. This is a legal requirement and it appears that the date has nothing to do with WWDC and is coincidental.

MacRumors coverage

Apple plans to live stream the WWDC keynote on its website, the Apple TV app, and YouTube, but for those who can’t watch, we’ll be covering the event and the on MacRumors.com MacRumorsLive Twitter account.

We’ll also be reporting extensively on any announcements from Apple over the rest of the week and into the future as we test the new software.

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