Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is the biggest stage to showcase its latest software developments and discuss the roadmap. However, this year, the online-only event was pretty lackluster. While the hype surrounding the event is partly to blame, there are other valid factors this time around.
Despite being packed with nearly two hours of content, WWDC 2021 didn’t impress most people, including Apple fans. But, if you didn’t watch the event fully, you might not know where Apple went wrong.
So, here’s a look at five reasons why Apple’s WWDC event failed to grab eyeballs this year:
1. No Hardware Launches
We did say WWDC is a software-focused event, and we do stand by that statement. However, Apple has launched amazing products at WWDC in the past.
Apple unveiled the HomePod and the iMac Pro at the WWDC 2017 event. In 2019, Apple announced two of its most expensive products at the WWDC, namely the Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR. Did you forget all the memes about the $999 stand around that time?
Apple has even launched a MacBook at the WWDC before. However, it was way back in 2012.
As you can tell by now, Macs have had their spotlights at the WWDC events in the past. This year, the stage was perfect for Apple to reveal the first high-end MacBooks based on Apple Silicon, especially since we’re exactly one year into the two-year transition period that began at last year’s WWDC.
The rumors and leaks surrounding the M1X MacBook Pro models did not help, either. In fact, it only ramped up people’s expectations for the event. All eyes were laser-focused on Apple to reveal the redesigned MacBooks.
Well, WWDC has come and gone, and we still have no official information on these upcoming MacBooks. People didn’t get to see what they wanted to see. The result? Disappointment, but that’s what we get for expecting too much.
2. It’s an “S” Year for iOS
When it comes to software, iOS is what most people look forward to every year at the WWDC event. Sad to say, iOS 15 looks like an incremental update rather than a feature-rich one, as opposed to iOS 14 last year.
Make no mistake. There are a bunch of new features and quality-of-life improvements, but most of them focus on FaceTime and Messages. Yes, Safari has been revamped, but that’s about it.
None of these new features change the way you interact with your iPhone’s home screen. Considering Apple introduced home screen widgets and customization last year, many users were expecting more in that department.
All in all, we’re not getting a design overhaul with iOS 15 or any major functional features, and that’s why we can call it a boring year for iOS, similar to the “S” year for iPhones. The good news is that the iPhone 6S will be entering its seventh year of software support with iOS 15, which is truly remarkable.
3. No Pro Apps for iPadOS 15
The iPadOS announcement was arguably the most disappointing part of WWDC 2021. This was supposed to be the year of the iPads. Everything was set up for iPadOS to take center stage at the event. Here’s why:
Just recently, Apple launched new iPad Pros with the same flagship M1 chip that powered the Macs. This launch quickly created a fuss in the community, and several users started assuming that Apple had big plans for the iPad this year.
Fans were expecting professional apps like Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, and others to make their way to iPadOS this year. This would ideally make the iPad a laptop replacement, right?
Well, that didn’t happen. The closest we got to something professional was a new version of Swift Playgrounds, which allows you to develop and submit apps to the App Store directly from the iPad.
We seriously don’t understand what we’re supposed to do with all the power of the iPad. Unfortunately, the M1 chip and 16GB RAM on the iPad Pros will continue to remain overkill, at least for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, iPadOS 16 can change that. Fingers crossed.
4. No Major Changes in watchOS 8
Moving on to the next iteration of watchOS, we have a couple of cool features like being able to use Portrait mode photos as your watch face or unlock your smart door locks with a digital Home key on the Apple Watch.
There’s a new Mindfulness app, which is just the rebranded Breathe app with a new meditation-assistance feature called Reflect. Apart from that, watchOS 8 is full of nifty tweaks.
The issue here is that several users were looking ahead for some major new features like Control Center widgets and food tracking using the Health app. The rumored glucose monitoring app failed to make an appearance, too.
So far, we got nothing new that will change the way you use your Apple Watch.
5. No Love for the HomePod
In May, Apple announced Lossless Audio quality support for both the HomePod and HomePod mini in a future firmware update. However, at the WWDC event, when Apple stated that they’ve begun rolling out Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio to all Apple Music subscribers, the HomePods were left out.
No details were given on when these smart speakers will receive support, and it was pretty much a let-down since every other major Apple product was ready for Lossless Audio.
Also, it has been four years since the original HomePod was first announced. Considering how often Apple refreshes its products, don’t you think it’s time for a second-generation HomePod with audio improvements?
More Apple Events to Look Forward To
WWDC is just one of the many events that Apple holds in a calendar year. So, it’s completely fine if it didn’t turn out to be great as most of us anticipated. On the bright side, there are more events to look forward to, and they’re all mostly going to be focused on hardware in one way or the other.
As we’ve learned from previous years, Apple tends to hold separate events for their Macs, iPhones, and iPads. So, we just need to wait a little longer to see what the Cupertino-based company has in store for us. Perhaps, Apple can knock it out of the park in the hardware department.
Here’s what we learnt about iOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS Monterey, and everything else Apple announced at WWDC this year.
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