After a few years of ho-hum macOS announcements, recent WWDC keynotes have brought with them some significant Mac announcements, resulting in much-needed excitement for the Mac platform. With WWDC 2022 just around the corner, will Apple be able to continue the momentum of the Mac?
That’s certainly possible with a few important announcements that we hope to see at the event. Nothing will be as significant as Apple’s first silicone announcement, but Apple could make some significant disclosures that will continue to shine the spotlight on the Mac. Here are the Mac announcements we hope to see at WWDC 2022, in order of preference.
When Apple began the Mac transition from Intel CPUs to its own M1 System on a Chip (SoC), the company said it would be a two-year process. WWDC 2022 is two years old, and as Apple Senior VP John Ternus pointed out at the Mac Studio event in March, there’s only one Mac left to make the switch, the Mac Pro.
However, the expectation about the Mac Pro is less about the SoC (I’ll elaborate in the next section), but more about the machine itself and what Apple will do to meet the needs of the Mac Pro user. Will Apple build a tower Mac? What are the capabilities of the components? What kind of access do users have to the internals? How upgradeable will it be?
So many questions we hope to have answered by June 6. I can’t help but think Apple wants to close this transition in a big way, so I have high hopes for this announcement in particular.
Next Gen Apple Silicone
Apple is completing a transition, but another is about to begin: the transition from the M1 series to the M2 series SoCs. The Mac Pro will likely have a configuration that improves the performance of the M1 Ultra, the fastest Mac SoC, so the company has peaked for the M1 series. It appears that Apple is on a two-year cycle with its Mac silicon, so the timing seems right for the start of the next series, although recent rumors suggest the wait may be a little longer.
But if Apple decides to unveil the M2 at WWDC, it will likely be more of a “preview” than a fully detailed reveal with product announcements. John Ternus could even do another one-line tease about it – any kind of acknowledgment would help continue the M Series’ marketing momentum. Apple released the M1 Macs in the fall of 2020, so expect the entry-level M2 to be released in the fall as well. That’s when we get to the heart of the matter.
(While I personally have lost interest in what Intel is doing, chip enthusiasts and those eager to participate in technology debates are very focused on the biggest PC chip maker. Intel’s Raptor Lake and Meteor Lake CPUs are on the way, so Apple says something about the M2 will add some spark to the game of one-upmanship marketing.)
WWDC isn’t usually the place for consumer notebooks, but the MacBook Air could be an exception. It’s been rumored for over a year that it would get a massive redesign with sleek bezels, an even smaller footprint, and colors other than space gray, silver, and gold. The MacBook Air hasn’t been that exciting for a while – even the 2018 model was largely a repeat of the previous version – but if the rumors are true, the new model will be one of the most exciting laptops in years.
We hope for a return to the original iBook, just as the 24-inch iMac was a nod to the original iMac. The M1 MacBook Air is a great machine, but it’s not an exciting one. A redesigned model, with or without an M2 processor, would be a fantastic way to bring the tension back.
macOS 13 features, fixes and proper name
We’ve posted our macOS 13 wishlist, and we’ll be following the keynote closely to see if any of our wishes come true. There are a few items on the list that we want more than others, most notably Desktop widgets (the ability to pull widget from Notification Center and place it on the desktop), and a more robust Control Center that is customizable and has more modules -maybe even from third-party developers.
All Apple really needs to do with macOS is fix old bugs and optimize the system. As I mentioned in the macOS 13 wish list, if that’s all Apple did and nothing else — no new features — I’d be very happy.
The name macOS can indicate the size of the release update. For example, macOS Monterey is named after Monterey Bay, which is part of the greater Big Sur region of central California, and the version of macOS before Monterey was called Big Sur. And Big Sur, with its UI changes, support for iOS and iPadOS apps on M1 Macs, and more, was a bigger upgrade than Monterey.
But if you’re not familiar with the California locations that Apple uses, you’re out of luck. Then it’s just a name, and in the case of macOS, it doesn’t mean much more than being an alternate reference point for the version number.
Either way, Mac users are investing in the name of macOS and it’s a highly anticipated announcement. When Apple Senior VP Craig Federighi gets to this point from the WWDC keynote, the anticipation and excitement grow, and the name allows the vague idea of an OS update to coalesce and become a reality. Once the name is established, a vociferous debate ensues as to whether it is a good choice or not.
Based on Apple’s trademark registrations, the money appears to be on “Mammoth” as the next name of macOS. Besides being a location in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada in California, the word itself would imply that macOS 13 has some big changes and features for the Mac. The rumor mill isn’t filled with macOS 13 notifications of major changes, so I don’t think “Mammoth” is the name. I think they will save it for a bigger release later.
M1 Pro/M1 Max Mac mini
When Apple’s John Ternus said the Mac Pro is the only Mac left to Apple silicon, he was referring specifically to the Mac Pro, but it’s not the only Mac left. There’s also the high-end Mac mini — this $1,099 model still uses an Intel CPU.
There’s a gap in Apple’s M1 lineup between the iMac and the Mac Studio, and a professional Mac mini would fit in that slot perfectly. According to reports, this Mac mini could be upgraded with an M1 Pro and M1 Max and could also have more GPU cores and support for more RAM.
Apple discontinued the iMac Pro last year, but reports seem to indicate that Apple may be bringing it back. It could have a 27-inch display and an M1 Pro and M1 Max SoC, and it could have a design similar to the 24-inch iMac, but not in the professional color palette of silver and space gray.
Reports have also surfaced of a 27-inch standalone Mac mini LED display, but could this be a case of swapping the display with the iMac Pro? That’s what happened with the Studio Display; leakers mistook the Studio Display for an iMac. At least Apple seems to be working on a 27-inch display for somethingand we hope it gets unveiled at WWDC.