WWDC 2024 rumors: Possible dates, major iOS 18 updates, and more

Apple WWDC 2024 graphic design
(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

WWDC 2024 is still a couple of months away, but we've collected quite a few solid rumors to suggest Apple's upcoming developer conference might include some of the biggest software releases we've ever seen.

Much of our information comes from reputable tech leakers and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who says Apple believe the iOS 18 software release will be "one of the biggest iOS updates...in the company's history." 

While we might not get another major hardware announcement like we did last year (we're looking at you, Vision Pro), there's still a lot to look forward to at WWDC 2024.

WWDC 2024: Latest news (Updated 3/27)

When is WWDC 2024?

Apple has hosted a WWDC event every year since 1987, and the event has happened in June every year since 2007. This year will be no different with Apple officially announcing it will run from June 10-14, 2024.

Each WWDC event starts with a signature Keynote speech on a Monday and lasts through Friday of the same week. 

How to watch WWDC 2024

Typically, only developers and Swift Student Challenge winners can attend Apple's WWDC event in person. If you're part of the general public, you'll have to watch the Keynote speech and the Platforms State of the Union virtually.

To catch either of these major speeches when the time comes, you can head to the Apple YouTube Channel or Apple's WWDC 2024 page once it's live. Individual sessions are reserved for those who signed up for the event and won't be broadcast live to the public.

WWDC 2024: iOS 18

Apple WWDC 2024 iOS 18 graphic design

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Apple's most notable announcement at WWDC 2024 will likely be its iOS 18 software release. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple views this release as "One of the biggest iOS updates — if not the biggest — in the company's history."

This update will include the addition of the RCS text protocol, a more advanced technology than SMS or MMS that's been on Android for years. In short, RCS support will allow typing indicators and read receipts in cross-platform conversations and finally let iOS users send images and videos to Android users without major compression.

While Apple introducing the RCS protocol is great news for iPhone users, that's not the most exciting update planned for iOS 18. What's going to make iOS 18 the biggest software release ever from Apple is 2024's hottest term: artificial intelligence.

According to Gurman, Apple's SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, gave an "edict" to the team working on iOS 18 to ensure it's full of "features running on the company's large language model." Apple hasn't been shy recently about shelling out millions of dollars to publishers for AI-training reasons or acquiring AI-related businesses. With Apple being slow to enter the AI race, we can only hope the final result is highly capable.

That said, where will AI show up in iOS 18? Well, early rumors suggest Apple intends to integrate an AI code named Ajax, thanks to code found in the beta version of iOS 17.4. Ajax will be able to summarize content, answer questions, and integrate with multiple iOS apps, including Apple Music, Keynote, Pages, Messages, and Siri.


(Image credit: Apple)

Ajax will essentially reinvent Siri, giving this famously bad voice assistant a long-overdue, healthy upgrade that'll potentially allow it to compete with ChatGPT and other more capable virtual assistants.

However, for Siri 2.0 to reach its fullest potential, new hardware might be required. Some AI elements might be delivered to older iPhones via cloud-based solutions, but others might require on-device AI that won't arrive until the iPhone 16 in late 2024.

The same code that discovered Ajax within the iOS 17.4 update also revealed how AI might work in Apple's Messages app. According to Gurman, Ajax would make it possible to "field questions and auto-complete sentences."

If you've struggled to respond to difficult texts or switch on your professional voice at a moment's notice, Apple's new integrated AI might be able to help you form cohesive thoughts.

It's not clear yet whether the changes planned for iOS 18 will be primarily AI-related, or if they could include UI changes alongside other quality-of-life improvements.

WWDC 2024: visionOS 2

Apple WWDC 2024 visionOS 2.0 graphic design

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Apple's much-anticipated Vision Pro headset was announced last year at WWDC 2023, and it just released in early February, so the chances of Apple announcing the Vision Pro 2 at WWDC 2024 are incredibly slim. However, we might get a glimpse of how Apple plans to improve the headset with visionOS 2.

The operating system the headset launched with—simply named visionOS—has been praised by reviewers for some features and criticized for others. A mere four-month span between the Vision Pro's launch and the announcement of visionOS 2 might seem too quick, but it's entirely possible.

Announcing visionOS 2 with fancy new features in June might renew hype for the headset by the time the updated OS rolls out in September. And considering many Vision Pro owners returned the headset shortly after trying it out, the sparkle of a new OS might be just what Apple needs for its Vision Pro sales.

WWDC 2024: Other software updates

At WWDC, each of Apple's devices usually receives a new software release. Some contain small quality-of-life improvements, while others might include bigger changes, like UI redesigns. 

iOS 18 will probably be the headliner for WWDC 2024, decked out with major new features and AI capabilities for iPhone users. Some iOS 18 features, especially the AI-related ones, are likely going to show up in iPadOS 18 as well.

We haven't heard much about watchOS 11, but the Apple Watch X—which reportedly boasts a huge redesign—will probably be one of the first new smartwatches with this OS. Similarly, rumors on tvOS 18 are pretty quiet. And the only news we've heard on macOS 15 is that it might be the end of support for Intel MacBooks.

WWDC 2024: Any new hardware?

WWDC is a software-oriented event, first and foremost, and with last year's conference including a few major hardware announcements, we're thinking this year's WWDC might be more software-heavy.

MacBook Air 15 M2 in silver open on a white desk facing you with a pink wall behind it

(Image credit: Future)

In 2020, the only hardware-related announcement was Apple transitioning to Silicon chips in MacBooks, and WWDC 2021 focused solely on software announcements. Then, a few hardware refreshes debuted at WWDC 2022, like the revised MacBook Air and an updated M2 chip.

When you look at the past four years of WWDC events, WWDC 2023 is the anomaly. At WWDC 2023, we saw Apple introduce a 15-inch MacBook Air, the M2 Ultra chip, and the company's event showstopper: the Vision Pro headset.

As of right now, we don't think Apple will debut any updated products—like iPads, MacBooks, or iMacs—because those will likely be announced as a focus in the March, September, or October Apple events. The only new hardware we think Apple might show off is the M3 Ultra chip, which is rumored to boast outrageous power.

Bottom line

So far, it's looking like WWDC 2024's shining star will be iOS 18. Rumored to be an incredibly AI-heavy operating system, iOS 18 will probably roll out on previous iPhones as a cloud-based version, but it'll truly shine on the iPhone 16, which will likely be announced at Apple's September event and feature on-device AI capabilities that'll mesh better with iOS 18.

Past the iOS 18 update, we should also see new versions of Apple's other operating systems. Plus, Apple might debut an M3 Ultra chip, which could be twice as powerful as the M3 Max chip.

We'll continue to update this as we get closer to WWDC 2024 in June and learn more about Apple's upcoming plans.