Predicting the Big WWDC 2021 Announcement

Apple has a knack for building things under our noses over the course of years… actually, even decades. They’re really good at building onto their technology when it works. When it doesn’t work, they throw it out and start over, only to build it up in the way that matches their final vision. We saw this happen with the M1 chip. It took them more than a decade, but they finally cashed in on their vision. I think we’re about to see that happen again at WWDC 2021.

Apple declared at WWDC 2020 that they were transitioning every device to the ARM-based system-on-a-chip design that they have been working toward for many years. This transition was expected to take two years and so far, the reviews have been nothing but positive. The move has signaled a disruptive shift in the computing world.

In April, Apple moved the iPad Pro to the M1 line of chips. This had the expected benefit of increased performance. But I believe the next advancement here has been under our noses all along. For many years, developers have been moving their Mac applications into containers of sorts - following an iOS model that each application gets its own read-only copy of the operating system and a small space with which to work. It’s like a docker container, but it’s not. It’s a native application with its own sandbox that doesn’t have the ability to harm other applications. Many developers saw this as a restrictive move and decried the loss of control. Over time, Apple and developers have met in the middle to the benefit of the user.

That’s clue #1.

Clue #2 lurks under the Catalyst technology. Apple introduced the ability to run iPadOS and iOS apps onto M1-based Macs. This had varying degrees of success from a UI perspective. But what’s important to note is that this allows the unified sandbox approach to work on Macs. It’s cashing in on the success (whatever you want to beliebe, it was a success, like it or not) of moving toward a sandbox enivronment on the Mac.

That’s clue #2.

Put these clues together, and I think you can figure out what the next announcement will be. I used to think it was just going to be the announcement of Xcode on the iPad Pro M1. But now I think it’s going to go deeper.

I think Apple is going to announce that Mac applications will now run natively on M1 iPad Pros, as long as they’re on the App Store. I think Apple is unifying the platforms by way of the App Store, not the operating system. They’ve unified the internal workings of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. Now that the chips are unifying as well, it’s time to cash in that investment.

iPadOS will run Mac App Store applications natively. That’s my prediction.

If you want to run a Mac app that is not available on the App Store, that’s where you’ll need a Mac.

I see this as a very, very positive move. It’s so Apple.