What Apple’s Future Devices Could Reveal: Insights from WWDC 2024

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Apple is widely expected to prioritize AI, particularly generative AI, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2024. The conference, which is geared towards developers, presents an opportunity for Apple to showcase the potential of AI and how it can be integrated into its products and platforms. While no new devices are anticipated to be unveiled at the keynote, WWDC could provide valuable insights into Apple’s future hardware plans.

Looking ahead, Apple is likely to release new iPhones and Apple Watches in 2024. The iPhone 16 is anticipated to launch in September, accompanied by the Apple Watch 10. There have also been rumors of the AirPods Pro 3 and AirPods Max 2, although the latter is not as certain. On the other hand, the recently updated iPad Air and iPad Pro models suggest that there won’t be any new iPads in the near future. Additionally, new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models may not be introduced until 2025. It’s possible that Apple might even skip the M4 chip for its Macs, as the M3 chip already offers efficiency and AI capabilities. The fate of the 27-inch iMac and iPad mini remains uncertain.

While there might not be significant changes to the design and hardware capabilities of Apple’s products, AI is expected to play a central role. Apple has excelled in the tablet market with its iPads, and its MacBooks are known for their sleek design. Any changes to these devices are likely to be minor, such as reducing display bezels or slimming down watch cases. Instead, the focus will be on integrating AI tools and capabilities into iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS. This could include features like generative AI-powered editing, improved search functionality, document summarization, and a smarter Siri. Apple may also prioritize its Neural Engine in the iPhone 16 family, enhancing AI workloads and machine-learning algorithms.

In line with this, it is possible that Apple will release an AI-centric A-series chip for the iPhone 16, as well as the Pro and Pro Max models. Apple previously separated chipsets for the standard and Pro iPhones, but with a stronger emphasis on AI, it makes sense to ensure all devices have the same capabilities. Running AI models within devices requires power, especially if it is done on-board. Given Apple’s commitment to privacy, on-board processing may be favored, even though it consumes more power. This could lead to larger batteries in the iPhone 16 range or slightly thicker devices to accommodate increased power needs.

If these predictions hold true for the iPhone 16, similar changes might be seen in future iPads and Macs. These devices could also include more powerful AI-targeted chips and potentially feature dedicated AI keys on their keyboards. MacBooks might see larger batteries, and the MacBook Air could reintegrate active cooling for demanding AI workloads. While design changes are expected to be minimal, the display notch could be reduced using AI processing to fill in any gaps left by shrunken sensors.

The Apple Watch, which has become iconic in its design, may not undergo major changes, but an additional chip for on-device AI processing could be introduced. This could lead to a slight increase in thickness to accommodate a larger battery or compensate for increased power drain. Similarly, the AirPods lineup might see low-performance AI features integrated into their chips, such as smart equalizer adjustments or dynamic track switching based on user activity. Wearables like the Apple Watch and AirPods could benefit from multimodal AI models that utilize data from various sensors to provide more accurate information and results.

In summary, Apple’s dive into AI is not expected to bring about drastic changes in product designs or hardware features. However, more powerful chips with AI capabilities are likely to be introduced. This could transform iPhones into AI-led devices and enhance the productivity potential of Macs. With the broad availability of AI-powered handsets like the iPhone, Apple has the potential to normalize the use of AI tools in everyday life. This could help dispel any skepticism around AI and make it more accessible to the average consumer.

As WWDC 2024 approaches, it will be interesting to see if these predictions come to fruition. TechRadar will provide the latest rumors, news, opinions, and analysis leading up to and during the conference. For those interested in watching the keynote, TechRadar also offers a guide on how to access the event.

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