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9 things that blew us away at WWDC 2021

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Apple CEO Tim Cook wraps the WWDC21 keynote on June 7, 2021.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wraps the WWDC21 keynote on June 7, 2021.
Photo: Apple

Some new features really stood out when Apple revealed the next versions of all its operating systems during Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. Users of iPhone, Mac and iPad, and Apple Watch, too, can look forward to welcome improvements this fall.

We picked out the best of these to make sure they don’t get overlooked.

Apple’s executive board gets Memoji makeover ahead of WWDC 2021

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Leadership
Apple introduced Memoji in 2018.
Photo: Apple

Apple has switched out the photos for its leadership team for Memoji versions on its website ahead of today’s WWDC keynote. Apple did this once before in July 2018, when it adopted the cartoon avatars to celebrate World Emoji Day.

This time, it’s likely a preview of one of the things users can expect as part of the WWDC keynote. Apple has utilized Memojis as part of the advertising aesthetic for the virtual, developer-focused event. Apple is expected to show off iOS 15 today. One of the rumored features for iOS 15 is an upgraded Messages app, which will — by the look of things — lean into Memoji.

What to expect at WWDC 2021 [Cult of Mac Magazine 404]

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What to expect from WWDC 2021: Get ready for a glimpse into Apple's future.
Get ready for a glimpse into Apple's future.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Are you ready for the Worldwide Developers Conference? Apple’s biggest keynote of the year happens Monday, and it will give us our annual look at Cupertino’s road map for the future.

In the run-up to WWDC, Apple did a pretty good job of keeping its software secrets under wraps, but our top story will give you an idea about what to expect.

Elsewhere in this week’s free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine, we’ve got some the latest rumors about upcoming Apple hardware, along with a passel of how-tos to help you get the most out of all your gear.

And don’t miss this week’s reviews of the latest Apple TV+ shows to catch our interest. The new Stephen King miniseries Lisey’s Story just landed on Apple’s streaming service. And The Mosquito Coast just wrapped its first explosive season, so you can binge the whole thing while you wait for WWDC.

iPadOS 15 to MacBooks: Everything we’re looking forward to at WWDC 2021

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What to expect at WWDC 2021: iOS 15, macOS 12, new MacBook models, and more.
Get ready for updates to five operating systems. And maybe a pair of new MacBooks.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

June 7 will be the single most important day of 2021 for Apple. It’s the start of the annual Worldwide Developers Conference where the company will ceremoniously unveil fresh operating system updates for iPhone, Mac, iPad, Apple Watch and more.

Big changes are anticipated for iPadOS 15, and some nice enhancements are also predicted for iOS 15. The improvements in macOS 12, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15 are likely to be more modest.

But the show won’t stop there. While WWDC is supposed to be about software, there’s a good chance we will see new MacBooks announced Monday as well.

How to watch Apple’s big WWDC 2021 keynote [Updated]

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How to watch WWDC 2021
Don't miss a thing from WWDC 2021.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

One of Apple’s biggest events is right around the corner. This year’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote promises to deliver our first look at the company’s next-generation software updates for iPhone, iPad, Mac and more on June 7.

Just like past WWDC keynotes, this year’s will be streaming online, so you’ll be able to watch it in its entirety as it all unfolds. Here’s how.

Update: Now that the WWDC 2021 keynote is a wrap, you can watch the archived version on YouTube below.

Expect to see updated MacBook Pros at WWDC

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Antonio takes rumors and makes them into renders. Not pie-in-sky dreams
A MacBook Pro concept could be a first look at a 16-inch model Apple is about to release.
Concept: Antonio De Rosa

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives thinks overhauled 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros will be among Apple’s announcements at the usually software-focused Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

Recent rumors provide a pretty decent picture of what the new MacBook Pro might look like. The updated laptops supposedly will be a pretty major rethink of the pro-grade, M1-powered notebook Apple introduced last November. Among the changes will be a redesigned chassis, built-in SD card reader and HDMI port, a MagSafe charger and a faster M2 chip. However, the next-gen MacBook Pro supposedly will not come with an LED Touch Bar.

Apple highlights diversity of winners in this year’s WWDC Swift Student Challenge

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WWDC students winners
WWDC kicks off next week.
Photo: Apple

Ahead of next week’s WWDC 2021, Apple is highlighting the young developers who have won its Swift Student Challenge. The annual contest exists to reward up-and-coming coders who are on Apple’s radar. They typically win some great Apple swag for their troubles.

This year, for its second virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple handed out prizes to 350 next generation Swift coders from 35 countries and regions. They had to submit an original Swift playground in order to win a spot. Apple seizes upon this year’s competition to show off the diversity of the people who entered.

Clue in WWDC image might mean new MacBook Pro coming soon

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Is this a hint that WWDC 2021 will include a new MacBook?
Look closely and you’ll see the Unicode for the laptop emoji in the WWDC 2021 image released Monday.
Photo: Apple

A tip that a new MacBook will be unveiled at WWDC 2021 in two weeks could be hidden in the image Apple released Monday for the developers conference. It appears in the reflection in a pair of glasses.

Noted Apple tipster Jon Prosser apparently moved quickly to confirm the report.

Apple details plans for WWDC 2021

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Apple’s all-online Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off June 7 with keynote address at 10 a.m. PST.
Set your alarms! The WWDC 2021 keynote kicks off at 10 a.m. PST.
Image: Apple

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is scheduled for June 7, and on Monday the iPhone-maker revealed that the all-important keynote address for WWDC 2021 will be held at 10 a.m. PDT on that day. This is almost certainly when they wraps will come off the next major upgrades for iOS, macOS and the company’s other operating systems.

New hardware is possible but far from certain.

Apple spends $50 million on WWDC each year

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Phil Schiller
No one knows the App Store better than Phil Schiller.
Photo: Apple

Apple fellow Phil Schiller took the stand Monday in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit and during testimony revealed the cost of the annual Worldwide Developers Conference: $50 million. He’s in charge of both WWDC and App Store so he brings unique insight to the ongoing court battle.

This is one of many details the long-standing Apple executive talked about on the stand.