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WWDC 2021: Everything Apple didn’t announce at its developer show

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote has finished, and it brought with it a deluge of new products, software features, and general tech goodness. But there were plenty of things widely rumored to make an appearance at the blockbuster show that did not.

That could mean they are just expected at a later date this year, or it could signify a much longer delay to the products in question. Either way, here is everything Apple did not announce at WWDC 2021.

New MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 models

Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the biggest rumors going into the event was that Apple had MacBook Pro revamps up its sleeve. According to the rumblings, the MacBook Pro 13 was getting completely overhauled and replaced with a 14-inch variant. The MacBook Pro 16, meanwhile, was due to get a more modest update but would still feature a new chassis and Apple Silicon chips for the first time.

However, there were indications before WWDC that these rumors might not be quite on the money. Nikkei Asia reported in March that the production of two MacBook Pro models had been put back to the second half of 2021, and it looks like that report — apparently referring to the MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 — was accurate. Apple traditionally releases new MacBooks in the fall, so that is probably now the most likely target for their release.

A miniature Mac Pro

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple’s Mac Pro is by far its most powerful Mac — and its most expensive — but it has not been updated since its 2019 debut. There was talk that Apple was working on an updated Mac Pro (possibly with Intel chips) before this year’s WWDC, as well as a half-sized Mac Pro with a potentially beastly Apple Silicon chip. In the end, neither was announced at WWDC.

It could be that Apple wants to announce both new Mac Pros together and to do that it needs to make sure its pro-level Apple Silicon chips are ready for the demanding workloads their users will put them through. Apple must also ensure enough professional apps are ready in time. It seems the company did not feel the chips and apps were at that stage.

New Mac Mini with an updated design

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Mac Mini has only just transitioned to Apple Silicon chips, but that did not stop the murmurs that Apple was already planning to reveal a redesigned version at WWDC. According to leaker Jon Prosser, itwould feature an aluminum body with an acrylic top, a slimmed-down profile, and an updated Apple M1X chip.

We never saw this redesign at the WWDC show, though. The M1 Mac Mini launched less than a year ago, so perhaps Apple felt it was too soon to undercut it with a fresh new look.

A resurrected iMac Pro

Apple iMac Pro News

Apple unceremoniously ditched the iMac Pro in March 2021, and with a little hindsight, it seems the company was clearing the way for the M1-equipped 24-inch iMac. But with rumors of upgraded Apple Silicon chips launching imminently, a new idea formed: Could Apple resurrect the iMac Pro with upgraded Apple Silicon chips?

It looks like the answer is no, at least for now. The iMac Pro was a no-show at WWDC 2021, and Apple is likely content to keep it that way for the time being. Once its pro-level chips are ready (and third-party developers have updated their professional apps), the iMac Pro might reappear on the scene. We will have to wait and see.

Redesigned AirPods and new AirPods Pro

woman wearing airpods pro
Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

There is no doubt that AirPods have become wildly popular since their launch, and AirPods Pro, their high-end cousin, have found their own successful niche, too. Given that achievement, updated versions at WWDC felt like a distinct possibility. That idea was boosted by the slate of rumors surrounding the devices, including that the AirPods would be redesigned and the AirPods Pro would boast health-tracking features.

In the end, Apple announced a slate of new software features for the AirPods range, but no hardware changes. A clue why might be found in the upcoming Beats Studio Buds. These wireless earphones are also owned by Apple, and it could be that the company did not want to launch them so close to the AirPods and have each device cannibalize the sales of the other.

New smart home devices

Homepod Mini Lifestyle Shot
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It is rare for Apple to spill its own secrets, but it might have done just that in a recent job posting that mentioned a system called HomeOS. Could Apple be working on a new operating system for home devices? And if so, does that mean new compatible devices are right around the corner?

Well, no one outside Apple knows for now, because nothing came of it at WWDC. As with AirPods, there were software updates relating to smart home devices, but they were all for existing systems like the Home app and Siri integration. Whether HomeOS means an updated HomePod Mini with new features, a better way to control HomeKit devices, or something else entirely, we will have to wait a little longer to find out.

An all-screen iPad Mini

iPad Mini 2019
iPad Mini 2019 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The ongoing pandemic has spurred a surge in iPad sales as more and more people look to work and entertain themselves from home. With interest in the device revitalized, we started wondering whether Apple would update the iPad Mini at WWDC to try to meet some of this demand. Those hopes were bolstered by reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who previously claimed a new iPad Mini was coming in the first half of 2021 with a larger display among its upgrades.

That never came to pass, but it does not mean we will have to wait too long for the iPad Mini’s next update. When it comes to Apple rumors, Mark Gurman is considered one of the most reliable sources, and he recently published a report alleging a new iPad Mini with narrower bezels and possibly lacking the Home button could be released “later this year.” Keep your eyes peeled.

Apple’s mixed-reality experiment

Apple's rumored virtual reality headset
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The idea that Apple would launch a mixed-reality headset (one that combined augmented reality and virtual reality) at WWDC always felt like a long shot, and that belief was confirmed when the headset failed to make an appearance at the show. Some things are too good to be true.

But it might not be as far away from being revealed as you might expect. Gurman, who has an excellent record for Apple leaks, reported in March 2021 that Apple was planning to introduce the device “within the next several months.” The kicker, though, is that Gurman says Apple wants to unveil the headset at an in-person event, and as we know by now, WWDC was online-only. Still, we might be getting a taste of Apple-flavored mixed reality sooner rather than later.

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