What can we expect Apple to reveal next week?
With this year’s Apple Worldwide developer conference On the horizon, we wanted to take a look at what to expect from the conference.
Apple will start another high profile event next week to highlight the latest developments from Cupertino. And while rumors are circulating that Tim Cook and Co. may announce new hardware with an updated M1X chip, it’s far more likely that WWDC will set the stage for a major fall rollout with updates to almost every operating system they have. But never say never
Spice up the football
Since Apple launched the M1 Mac Mini and MacBook Air last November, the new ARM-based processor has enjoyed positive reviews, high customer satisfaction and brisk sales figures. It has become clear that Apple has literally paid off in leaving Intel for its own processors, and you can expect Cook and Co. to bask in the glory of the M1 during next week’s event.
But since Apple only started the M1 era eight months ago, it is unlikely to be heralding a next-generation M1X or M2 processor just yet.
Apple traditionally had little to do with hardware announcements at WWDC. It’s a software conference, after all. When hardware is announced, look for Cupertino to expand their M1 MacBook Pro range.
MacBooks take center stage
There are strong rumors that a 13-inch, 14-inch, and even a 16-inch MacBook Pro will be the newest addition to the M1 family to be unveiled next week.
In all honesty, I think a 14-inch MacBook Pro is a bit of an outlier that would compete with the mobile-oriented 13-inch model. So it’s more likely that in addition to the 16-inch model, one or the other will receive the M1 treatment. The pro-level MacBooks are also rumored to have more than a single USB-C port. Rumor has it that MacBook Pros will have HDMI, an Ethernet-enabled Magsafe port and even an SD card slot. These options would open up to connect multiple displays rather than just a single one.
There are also rumors that the next model to undergo an M1 transformation will be a larger 27-inch iMac.
L.Last month, Apple gave us the 24-inch iMac in a bevy of pastel colors and an ultra-slim design. It therefore seems a bit premature to expect that Apple will expand the iMac range, especially during a software developer conference. Expectations should therefore focus on the MacBook line and expect new iMacs to arrive for the Christmas shopping season this fall.
What about the MacPro?
Apple has been notoriously slow in offering updates to the Pro-Tower platform over the past few years and has had to be kicked and yelled at to improve it. Not only does MacPro sales make up a small fraction of their market share, they are also designed to be upgraded with independent graphics cards. The M1 has its own GPU architecture and it may take a while for the M1 feature to work with an AMD GPU. And with a GPU shortage causing graphics card prices to skyrocket, there’s no rush to release an M1 upgrade until Cupertino has all of the GPU ducks in a row.
So it’s good to bet that the high-priced pro-level tower will only receive the M1 upgrade with the last model out of the gate.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any new hardware updates. It just suggests that software updates might pave the way to prepare for the next generation M1. Software updates will certainly introduce new features and further improve the performance of the M1 architecture.
It’s likely that Apple, working with software companies, could announce new updates to push their applications to the M1 processor instead of relying on Rosetta 2 as an intermediary. The more software that can be run natively on M1, the faster it will run and the sooner it will be ready for an upcoming M1x or M2 update.
What does this mean for filmmakers?
Apple is currently in the “Tok” or TikTok development cycle, so it is not really likely that we will see any innovative new features, but more performance gains and improvements. When the M1 was introduced, some functions weren’t translated too well in the first generation. This included no support for an external GPU and a maximum of 16 GB of RAM.
Does that mean macOS and iPadOS are adding these options on WWDC? May be. How cool would it be to have external GPU support for an iPad Pro? It’s already as powerful as the MacBook Pro. Some say it’s too powerful to be a pro-level tablet.
However, mobile filmmaking is one thing that content creators write, rotate, and even edit on an iOS or iPadOS device. With the M1 iMac Pro, you can do whatever it takes to save visual effects, and with advanced features like external GPU support and more RAM, Apple could open up a whole new world of post-production options for those who shoot on the fly. But that’s just blue-sky thinking on my part.
At the end of the day, since WWDC is a conference for software developers, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the keynote was heavily software-centric and Apple comes up with a hardware-centric event later in the year like in 2020.
After that all bets are out.