After Google’s splash with I/O 2019, it’s Apple’s turn. The company’s yearly developer conference, titled the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) begins tomorrow (June 3) and the rumour mills are already abuzz. Here’s what to expect.

Goodbye iTunes

Once a cornerstone for Apple’s music and video services, the company may finally bid adieu to iTunes. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is likely to discontinue iTunes on its devices, marking an end to the aging software.

The move would also make sense, since Apple has recently revamped its AppleTV application, and separated its music services through Apple Music. Sure, the iTunes app is still somewhat relevant on Macs, but it’s nothing Apple couldn’t replace.

Furthermore, the software has often been criticised by users and experts for being slow, lacking features and being generally difficult to use.

But if iTunes will indeed end, that should also mean a slew of new apps that will help Apple push its content agenda. We wouldn’t be surprised if there are big revamps to the Music, TV and other applications.

A dark new iOS

Apple introduced the “dark mode" to its PC operating system (OS), MacOS, last year. This year it’s iOS’ turn, meaning you will get a system-wide dark mode on both iPads and iPhones. While that seems to be the biggest expected change with iOS 13, some have also speculated that there will be new health features and changes to Apple’s own apps.

Dark modes are quite common on devices nowadays, with most Android phones allowing one and Microsoft also adding the feature with the Windows 10 anniversary update. A dark mode on iPhones will make sense, since the devices now have OLED screens, and a darker theme will theoretically help preserve battery life.

An update to WatchOS

While the 2019 edition of the Apple Watch isn’t expected till later in the year, Apple’s wearable device is due a software update. Reports say that the next version of WatchOS will add an App Store to the Apple Watch.

Why is this relevant? Because if true, an App Store on a SIM-enabled device makes it largely independent of the iPhone. At the moment, the Apple Watch can function independently to an extent, but it still needs the iPhone, especially for app support. Watch versions of apps you use on the iPhone are automatically installed on the Apple Watch.

With its own App Store, Apple could, in theory increase the customer base towards people who don’t own iPhones.

Other updates

An earlier Bloomberg report also indicated that Apple will update many of its own apps, like Reminders, Books etc. What might be interesting to watch is how Apple skirts around its ongoing battle with developers.

The company is also facing an antitrust suit for allegedly taking advantage of its monopoly on the App Store. Apple charges developers a 30% commission for payments customers make using the App Store.

So, at WWDC while Apple will be providing new tools for developers to build for iPhones, iPads and Macs, the company will also be competing with these same developers by updating its own apps, which are usually the default options on its devices.

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