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WWDC 2022: Everything to expect at Apple’s iOS 16 event

iPhone 13 Pro Main

WWDC 2022 is slated to kick off this Monday and, as in years past, the week-long developers’ conference will begin with a keynote address where Apple will show off the next iterations of iOS, macOS, watchOS, iPadOS, and tvOS. If we’re lucky, we might even see some new hardware announcements as well. 

Like the last two years, this year’s WWDC keynote will be an online-only affair due to a recent surge in COVID-19 infections in California. Naturally, the notion of bringing thousands of people together for a multi-hour indoor event simply doesn’t make sense at this point.

That notwithstanding, Apple’s WWDC keynote should be chock-full of interesting announcements and we’ve recently pored through dozens of Apple rumors to bring you a comprehensive rundown of everything Apple will likely introduce this coming Monday.

WWDC 2022 Keynote

Apple’s WWDC keynote is the draw of the entire event because this is where the company announces all of the new products, services, and developer tools. This year, we’re expecting iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, and hardware updates to lots of popular products. There also is a strong possibility Apple announces a refreshed MacBook Air, which a ton of people have been asking for.

iOS 16

A slew of minor but interesting enhancements

As always, iOS will be the main event of Apple’s WWDC keynote. While the days of new iOS releases introducing game-changing features are arguably long-gone, that’s not to say that iOS 16 will be a boring release. There are some interesting iOS 16 rumors floating around and, of course, it’s also possible that Apple this year has managed to keep some iOS 16 features from leaking out.

All that said, here’s what we know about iOS 16. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who is usually reliable with respect to Apple rumors, iOS is poised to be a “fairly significant upgrade.”

iPhone 13 Pro Front
iPhone 13 Pro Front Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

To this point, iOS 16 may offer up some interesting changes to the Lock Screen. What these changes remain to be seen, but Gurman notes it may include “wallpapers that have widget-like capabilities.”

We can also expect some improvements to the Messages and Health app. With respect to the Health app, the expected changes include fleshed-out features for sleep tracking. There’s also a good chance we’ll see new features pertaining to women’s health and medicine scheduling and management. There are also rumblings that iOS 16 will allow users to scan their pill bottles and subsequently receive reminders about when to take their medication.

There’s also a rumor that iOS 16 may introduce a new car crash detection feature. Similar to how fall detection works on the Apple Watch, the car crash detection feature will recognize when a crash has occurred by detecting a sudden stop in movement. When an accident is detected, the iPhone will automatically call 911. This is an intriguing feature but it’s worth noting it already exists on some other smartphone models.

And lastly, Bloomberg adds that we might see some “new audio and social-networking features to Messages.”

Always-On Display

Another, and in my opinion, more interesting iOS 16 feature is an Always-On display. We saw this rumor sprout up last year but it was reportedly pushed back for reasons that remain unclear. Still, we can expect iOS 16 to support an Always-On display for iPhone 14 Pro models.

The implementation of this Always-On display will be limited in nature to the extent that it will only show the time, new notifications, and the battery life percentage.

Noted leaker Max Weinbach said the following last year:

Always-On Display will have minimal customizability. Current design basically looks like a toned-down lock screen. Clock and battery charge is always visible. Notifications seem to be displayed using a bar and icons. Upon receiving, the notification will pop up normally except that the screen will not entirely light up. Instead, it will display it just like you’re used to right now, except dimmed down and only temporarily.

iPadOS 16

iPad Air (2022) Main
iPad Air 5th-generation. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Rumors regarding iPadOS 16 haven’t been too plentiful, but we’ve certainly seen a few crumbs of information in recent weeks. Most notably, there’s a good chance the new iteration of iPadOS will introduce a completely redesigned multitasking interface. According to Bloomberg, the revamped design should “make it easier to see what apps are open” and to switch between active applications.

Additionally, the new iPadOS may allow users to resize windows themselves. If this WWDC 2022 rumor pans out, it would further point to Apple’s intention of bestowing the iPad with more desktop-like functionality. To this point, it stands to reason that the line between macOS and iPadOS will only get blurrier in the years to come.

watchOS 9

It’s crazy to think that we’re already on watchOS 9, but time flies, as they say. Bad jokes aside, watchOS 9 should include some intriguing updates, even though there’s no denying that the release of new Apple Watch hardware is always more compelling.

Apple Watch Series 6 Display
Closeup of Apple Watch Series 6. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

One watchOS 9 rumor is that the software update, when paired with Apple’s new Apple Watch, will allow users to ascertain their body temperature. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple initially wanted this feature to be part of the Apple Watch 7 and watchOS 8 releases.

Problems with the feature’s algorithm, however, reportedly forced Apple to delay its release. WWDC 2022, however, might be when it’s finally ready for prime-time.

Kuo writes:

The challenge in implementing precise body temperature measurement is that skin temperature quickly varies depending on outside environments. A smartwatch can’t support core temperature measurement in terms of hardware, so it needs an excellent algorithm to work together.

Beyond body temperature monitoring, we’ll likely see expanded fitness tracking functionality. This will reportedly include more workout options and more granular data for run tracking.

Similar to iOS 16, watchOS 9 will also include the aforementioned crash detection feature. We’ve also seen rumblings of an enhanced low power mode.

watchOS 9 will reportedly run on Apple Watch models going back to the Apple Watch Series 3.


Ironically, WWDC used to be all about the Mac, and now macOS updates are something of an afterthought. Apple will assuredly introduce a brand new iteration of macOS at WWDC 2022, but there really haven’t been any substantive rumors about what new features this update is going to introduce.

The lone macOS rumor is that we might see a revamped System Preferences pane and “redesigned apps”. So yeah, it may not be a monumental update, save for some performance and under-the-hood enhancements.

Brand new MacBook Air

While there’s no guarantee, it would certainly be exciting to see Apple announce new hardware during its WWDC 2022 keynote. Don’t get your hopes up that we might see Apple’s long-rumored AR/VR headset, but there is a chance we’ll see Apple introduce a brand new MacBook Air.

Apple MacBook Pro 2021 Display
One of Apple’s newest MacBook laptops Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Rumors of an updated MacBook Air have been floating around for quite a while now.  And seeing as how the last major update was nearly two years ago, the timing makes sense.

According to rumors, Apple’s revamped MacBook Air will boast a brand new design. Specifically, the wedge design which has defined the MacBook Air form factor since its inception may be on the way out. Additionally, we might see the MacBook Air available in a variety of colors.

The specific colors remain unknown. Some speculate we might see a range of pastel-inspired colors like the recent iMac release. There’s also a chance the new MacBook Air models will feature white bezels and a white keyboard. 

Additionally, the new MacBook Air will probably boast a notch, similar to the latest MacBook Pro models. This would allow Apple to include a slightly larger display. Specifically, the new MacBook Air display may measure 13.6-inches as opposed to 13.3-inches on the current models.

What remains unclear is if the new MacBook Air will boast a next-gen M2 processor. We’ve seen conflicting reports about this and we’ll have to wait for Apple’s official announcement to know for sure.

Lastly, there’s also a chance the new MacBook Air will boast an improved front-facing camera along with a MagSafe connector.

Apple’s Mixed Reality Headset

Apple mixed reality glasses render - side view.
Apple mixed reality glasses render – side view. Image source: Ian Zelbo

While not a sure thing, there is plenty of reason to think we are finally going to get to see Apple’s Mixed Reality (MR) headset. This, as has been written about, should in effect be ski goggles that offer augmented reality overlaid into the analog world, and if it has the horsepower and content that we would think Apple is capable of, it should be a groundbreaking device.

More iPhone 14 coverage: Read our ultimate guide on the iPhone 14 here

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.