Apple WWDC 2021: How to watch and what to expect


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Keynote invites Apple sent to members of the press. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

On Monday, June 7, Apple will hold the opening keynote for its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. It’s during this event that we typically learn more about the company’s latest software plans, and sometimes Apple announces new hardware.

This year, we expect Apple to walk us through highlights of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, WatchOS 8, MacOS 12, and TVOS 15. 

In invites sent to members of the press, the event had a tagline of “And away we go.” However, the invites that developers received all said “And away we code.” It’s unclear what either one means or why there were two different taglines, but I’ll leave it up to you to speculate. Below, I’ll cover how to watch the event, which will be live-streamed, as well as what you can expect given the little information we have just a few days away from the event. 

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When is Apple WWDC 2021?

Apple’s developer conference kicks off Monday, June 7, 2021.

Keynote start time:

  • 10am PDT on the US West coast
  • 1pm EDT on the US East coast
  • 6pm GMT in the UK
  • 7pm CEST in Central Europe
  • 1am CST in Beijing
  • 2am JST in Japan
  • 3am AEST in Sydney

Can you watch the WWDC 2021 keynote online?

The keynote doesn’t have an in-person component to it again this year due to the pandemic, but anyone who wants to can tune into the live stream and watch all of the announcements. ZDNet plans to embed the stream above once it becomes available, so bookmark this page.

  • Apple channel on YouTube: The YouTube placeholder for the WWDC 2021 keynote is already live.
  • Apple Event website: You don’t have to use YouTube — you can watch the event directly on Apple’s Event website on your computer, phone, or tablet. Just make sure your web browser — Safari, Chrome, Firefox, or Edge — is up to date and supports MSE, H.264, and AAC.
  • Apple Event app: Install the Apple Events app on your Apple TV. Some of the older Apple TV devices will already have it preinstalled. The app icon will reflect the same image as the invite a day or two before the event. 

What will Apple announce at WWDC 2021?

This is one of the first Apple events in a while where, outside of knowing what Apple typically announces, we don’t know many specifics. There hasn’t been a whole lot of leaks or rumors about what to expect in any of the updates so far, outside of rumors about the iPad gaining a home screen redesign that will allow users to place widgets anywhere on the screen as you can on an iPhone right now. 

That said, there’s a lot of expectations on Apple to improve the iPad’s software after the release of the M1-powered iPad Pro. It’s an overpowered device that’s begging for more powerful software to take advantage of it. 

What we do know is that Apple will unveil iOS 15, iPadOS 15, WatchOS 8, MacOS 12, and TVOS 15 based on the yearly update cycle Apple has followed since the iPhone launched. What exactly is in those updates, is a good question. There have been some reports that the iPad is expected to gain widgets on the home screen, much like the iPhone received with iOS 14, and that both the iPhone and iPad will see improvements to Apple’s iMessage messaging platform as well as improved notifications. 

Outside of that, nothing has leaked or been reported. 

Will Apple reveal any hardware at WWDC 2021?

Occasionally, Apple uses the WWDC stage to announce new hardware. Sometimes it’s a preview of hardware that won’t be released for a few months, and Apple wants to get ahead of the release so developers have time to create apps. Other times, it’s a new device like an updated MacBook Pro that will appeal to developers and average consumers alike. 

This year, rumors have gone back and forth about whether a new MacBook Pro, possibly with the next version of an Apple Silicon processor, will make its debut at WWDC. There have also been rumors circulating for months that Apple has a new pair of AirPods ready to be announced. 

It’s possible we’ll see both devices at WWDC 21. Then again, it’s quite possible we’ll see neither device announced. The only real guarantee is software. This is a developer-focused event, after all. 

In the meantime, what are you hoping to see Apple add to any of its software platforms? Let us know in the comments.



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