WWDC Preview Part 1: All’s Quiet on the iPad Front

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In a little less than 24 hours, Tim Cook will take the stage and Apple’s 2019 WWDC Keynote will begin. It’s usually a lengthy event that will reveal the company’s software roadmap for all of its devices and services for the next year. Considering that Apple only has a few public-facing events per year and that WWDC is the only one that touches on all Apple’s entire ecosystem, it is probably the biggest. In fact, with the iPhone having leveled out in growth, WWDC should become the unquestioned king of Apple events going forward.

So what’s going to happen at WWDC? A lot, I’m sure. If recent past is an indicator, around two hours worth. There have been plenty of rumors and leaks so far, but I am going to focus on some items that we may not know everything about just yet. The ones that Apple locks down the tightest are usually the most important to them.

First up is the iPad. It was actually one of the stars of the early leak hit parade, as there were rumors of new multitasking capabilities, interface enhancements and file management capabilities. However, while we have seen direct screenshots of new iPhone apps and a new iOS 13 Dark Mode, nothing of these new iPad features has been leaked yet. A couple of designers came up with interesting concept art and mockups based on the descriptions, but not even the big leakers like Gui Rambo and Mark Gurman have been able to deliver any actual screen caps or video of these features in action.

In my opinion, this is great news for us iPad fans. The last time Apple kept a big trove of new iPad features under wraps until WWDC was 2017, when we got the new Dock and the first big round of multitasking improvements. None of that was even vague rumor leading up to WWDC so it was HUGE news after the event. These features and the buzz they generated after WWDC also lead to bigger sales numbers for the newly refreshed iPad Pros, which were announced and released during the Keynote that year.

We already know that Tim Cook hates all of these pre-event leaks with the fire of many suns, so it seems logical to me that Apple takes the greatest care to keep control over the details on features they think will have the most impact. While we have some descriptions of what’s should be coming to the iPad soon, the fact that we haven’t actually seen screenshots or exact details of these features leads me to believe that Apple has gone all-in on keeping them a secret until tomorrow.

The iPad may not be the biggest seller for Apple anymore, but Tim Cook and Co have proven over the last two years that they still see it as being instrumental to the future of the company. They made an effort to separate it from the rest of iOS devices two years ago with new productivity enhancements and then redesigned and revamped the hardware for all but the base model of the entire line over the last year. I believe WWDC and iOS 13 will bring us one step closer to the iPad being a complete replacement for a basic personal computer.


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