Apple's annual developer conference begins next week, and investors should tune in for clues on what Apple has in store this year and beyond.
WWDC kicks off with a keynote address on Monday, followed by a week of sessions catering to Apple's worldwide community of app developers. Between Apple's recent services reveal and a new lineup of devices expected in the fall, the event is also a chance for Apple to articulate how its core software products fit into the bigger picture. In March, Apple (AAPL) - Get Reportunveiled a slate of new services, including TV+, News+ and Apple Arcade. In addition, a new generation of iPhones is expected in fall 2019.
Apple shares closed Thursday up 0.5% to $178.30 and are up 13% overall this year following a recent swoon.
Here are some of the key themes to watch for at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, which runs from June 3 through June 7.
1. iOS13 and More Apple-Made Apps
Despite Apple's ongoing forays into new services, iPhone sales are still at the core of Apple's business and account for the majority of its revenue. As such, developments with Apple's iOS are always worth keeping an eye on. Expected upgrades include long-desired features such as Dark Mode, multitasking enhancements and better cross-platform app function -- an under-the-hood improvement that Apple announced last year -- that will help developers to simplify app development. Apple is also said to be working on new apps of its own: A recent Bloomberg report said the Apple will roll out more homegrown apps across multiple platforms at WWDC, which could also put Apple in competition with its own development community.
2. An Independent Apple Watch
In a January interview with Jim Cramer, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he believes Apple's "greatest contribution to mankind" will be in health, and needless to say, Apple Watch is central to that vision with new features on the Series 4 model that include an ECG monitor and a fall detection system. Soon, the Watch could function more independently from the iPhone as well.
Apple is reportedly building a dedicated app store for the Watch along with a new WatchOS, which could potentially draw more developers to the device. A bit of healthy distance from the iPhone could also drive sales of the Apple Watch as a standalone device for the health-conscious. Though Apple doesn't disclose unit sales of the Apple Watch, it's viewed as a bit of a sleeper hit for Apple since the device was introduced in 2015. The research firm Strategy Analytics estimated that the Apple Watch accounted for more than half of all smartwatch sales in 2018.
3. New Mac Pros (Finally)?
Apple is due to roll out a fresh operating system for Macs, version 10.5, which could highlight apps that are newly accessible on Macs by way of cross-platform functionality. It could also shed light on a rumored breakup of iTunes into discrete apps for music, TV and podcasts. But the event could potentially come with another surprise: a new Mac Pro, a long-awaited update among Mac power users. Apple hasn't made a significant update to Mac Pro since 2013, and told fans back in 2017 that a new model -- which is rumored to be modular in design and more customizable than prior versions -- was in development.
4. A Peek Into Apple's TV Plans
Last but not least, Apple is expected to roll out enhancements to tvOS. Though that operating system may not get as much attention as iOS or other updates, any tvOS announcements could offer a glimpse into Apple's plans for its forthcoming video streaming products TV Channels and TV+. Apple's media streaming capabilities are currently scattered across a number of apps and devices, from the Apple TV set top box to iTunes and the Apple TV iOS apps. Any upgrade to tvOS, along with other WWDC announcements, could assist in streamlining Apple's various TV services and clear up any confusion about its streaming plans.