WWDC 2024: How to Watch and What to Expect, From iOS 18 to 'Apple Intelligence'

We are less than a day away from Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. For fans of the Cupertino company, there’s always anticipation leading up to the company’s WWDC keynote. This year, that suspense is in high gear, as the world awaits Apple’s response to the artificial intelligence boom sweeping the tech industry.

The iPhone maker has been characteristically tight-lipped about what’s to come during its WWDC keynote on June 10, but there’s been plenty of speculation about what the company might showcase. Here’s what we know so far, starting with how to watch the event.

Read more: WWDC 2024 Live Blog

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Watch this: Apple’s AI at WWDC Will Take a Different Twist

How to watch Apple’s WWDC 2024 keynote

The WWDC keynote begins at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) on Monday, June 10. You can catch it on Apple’s event website or on the company’s YouTube channel

Apple has already shared the WWDC 2024 livestream link, where you can also set a reminder to be notified before the event.

What to expect at WWDC

WWDC is a software-focused event, meaning we don’t typically see a lot of hardware updates (You’ll likely need to wait for Apple’s anticipated fall event to hear about the next iPhone.) Last year’s developers conference was a notable exception, with the unveiling of the Vision Pro. Based on rumors and speculation, it’s likely Apple will this year focus on touting its software capabilities and AI-powered updates. 

Read more: CNET’s iOS 18 wish list for the iPhone

‘Apple Intelligence’

Amid a wave of AI releases from companies like OpenAI, Microsoft, Samsung and Google, Apple undoubtedly has some catching up to do. That’s why AI will likely be a centerpiece of this year’s WWDC. 

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We expect to see those new AI capabilities woven into iOS 18, although perhaps more subtly. A report from Bloomberg suggests Apple will incorporate AI by means of features like voice memo transcriptions, faster search and a more conversational Siri. It could also introduce an AI feature that summarizes news stories, documents and notifications, essentially giving a “smart recap” of what you’ve missed. 

Bloomberg also notes that Apple’s AI will “create custom emojis on the fly, based on what users are texting.” This AI initiative will reportedly be called “Apple Intelligence.” It’ll be opt-in and will work with newer Apple devices like the iPhone 15 Pro and iPads and Macs with an M1 chip or newer, Bloomberg says.

Some of these updates will reportedly be powered by on-device AI that works without an internet connection, allowing the company to lean into its focus on privacy and security. More complex tasks, like summarizing large documents, could be sent to the cloud for processing. AI capabilities will also appear in MacOS 15, according to Bloomberg, with the Apple Watch getting an upgraded Siri, too.

Read more: From iOS 18 to Siri Upgrades, New AI Features to Expect on the iPhone

There are also reports that Apple is working with OpenAI to integrate the company’s tech into iOS 18. Previous reports pointed to Apple holding similar talks with Google about incorporating its Gemini AI system, but it appears those discussions ultimately may not have led to a partnership. 

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We’ll likely find out about the next generation of Siri, powered by AI.

Screenshot by Viva Tung/CNET

The next version of Siri

It’s likely Siri will be a major focus of this year’s WWDC keynote event (the invite seems to tease as much). The assistant could morph into a more intelligent and advanced digital assistant; in fact, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that Apple is training it on large language models to improve the accuracy and sophistication of its responses. It could also get better at handling tasks with more than one step, like first creating a GIF with a set of photos and then sending it to one of your contacts. This revamp could help Siri become more powerful and context-aware — a welcome (and overdue) upgrade, as my colleague Sareena Dayaram points out.

More customizable and accessible features on iOS, iPadOS and VisionOS

We’ll probably see a range of updates across Apple’s operating systems, including relatively minor tweaks that could still feel like a big deal for users. For instance, reports suggest that with the arrival of iOS 18, iPhone users will be able to place app icons wherever they want on their Home Screen, according to MacRumors. That means you could have gaps or empty rows between icons, offering a bit more flexibility (and a feature that has long existed on Android).

Apple has already announced some accessibility-related updates across iOS, iPadOS and VisionOS that are slated for release later this year, like Eye Tracking on iPad and iPhone, and Live Captions on VisionOS. So we may hear more about those updates and get an exact timeline of their availability.

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Apple might give more details about how the iPhone will support RCS texting, which should improve texting between iPhones and Android phones.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Will Apple mention RCS?

Another feature we might get updates on is RCS messaging on iPhone. Late last year, Apple said it would adopt RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging, a protocol that replaces SMS (Short Message Service) and is capable of many of the same features as iMessage, including typing indicators, high-resolution media sharing and end-to-end encryption. Because RCS is already available across a range of Android devices, this should make texting between Android phones and iPhones more seamless (although it’s unlikely those dreaded green bubbles will ever go away).

Apple’s adoption of RCS would be a timely change to reiterate, given the Department of Justice’s ongoing antitrust suit against Apple. The suit accuses the iPhone maker of hindering competition and says the company “undermines cross-platform messaging” by not making its iMessage service available on Android. WWDC would be a good time for Apple to highlight its efforts to bridge that gap.

New, AI-packed chips

It wouldn’t be WWDC without talk of chips. We’ll likely hear about the next iPhone’s processor, presumably called the A18. It’s expected to bring — surprise, surprise — better AI performance, according to Taiwanese news outlet Economic Daily News and analyst Jeff Pu. This would align with Apple’s new M4 chips in its updated iPad Pro tablets, which the company says are more powerful and efficient and feature improved machine learning for AI-based tasks. Now, it’s the iPhone’s turn to get an AI upgrade.

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