New iOS, macOS, iPadOS software expected

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Apple is about to announce new versions of its software for iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple TV and Apple Watches at its annual developers, which kicks off today at 1p.m. ET.

WWDC, which stands for Worldwide Developer’s Conference, is Apple’s annual software summit. This year, it’s taking place online through a series of videos and calls due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

At WWDC, Apple reveals the newest versions of its operating systems, which developers and early adopters can try out in beta form over the summer. In previous years, the final versions of Apple’s new software launches to the public alongside new products in the fall. 

Apple also uses the opportunity to persuade software makers to build apps for its phones and computers. Software sales are a key part of Apple’s services business, a fast-growing unit that brought in over $46 billion in 2019, accounting for nearly 18% of the company’s revenue.

But the conference is kicking off as Apple’s App Store has faced a new wave of complaints from software makers and inquiries from government officials over whether the platform’s cut and rules are fair. 

This year, developers and analysts expect one of the biggest announcements to be a transition from Intel chips to ARM chips in Apple’s Mac desktop and laptop line. The transition would require significant work from app developers to ensure apps still work before Apple releases an ARM mac.

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted in a note over the weekend that Apple could launch a new ARM-powered MacBook Pro and iMac computers as soon the end of the year, with all new Macs running on ARM chips sometime in 2021.

The software updates for iOS and iPadOS could include several new consumer-facing features, according to Bloomberg, which said Apple may launch a new ability that lets you use an iPhone as a car key and a new translation feature. Bloomberg also said Apple will focus on improving software stability and removing bugs.

Apple doesn’t typically launch a large amount of new hardware products at WWDC, preferring to keep the focus on software, but Kuo has previously said that there are a number of new products being worked on that could launch at the conference, including lost item tags, and over-ear headphones. 

This story is developing. please check back for updates.

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