WWDC is Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) annual World Wide Developer Conference. This is the event where some of the company’s most important product announcements have taken place.
While it’s aimed at developers, AAPL has used the opportunity to launch not just new software and services, but also new hardware. WWDC 2017 is just days away and the there are rumors Apple could reveal anything from upgraded new MacBook Pros to an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro and even a Siri speaker to take on Amazon.com, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN), Echo.
We’ll find out on June 5 what surprises AAPL has in store. In the meantime, to set the stage for what Apple might reveal, here are 10 of the biggest WWDC announcements from prior years.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2002, OS X Takes Over from OS 9
WWDC 2002 was a turning point for Apple’s Mac business.
The company had bought Steve Jobs’ NeXT at the end of 1996, brought Jobs back on board as interim CEO in 1997 and began the task of using that NeXT software expertise to create OS X, the next-generation Mac operating system.
In 2002, after several years of co-existing between OS 9 and OS X, Apple announced at WWDC that OS 9 was dead. The future of the Mac would be purely with OS X.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2005, Mac Moves to Intel CPUs
One of the biggest AAPL WWDC announcements of all time took place in 2005.
AAPL CEO Steve Jobs told WWDC attendees that Apple’s Mac computers would move to Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) x86 CPUs — the same hardware that powered PCs running Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows operating system.
This was a huge development, leveling the hardware playing field between Macs and Windows PCs. It also ushered in a new era where Mac users could choose to also install Windows on their computers, and run Microsoft’s OS natively.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2006, the Mac Pro Debuts
At WWDC 2006, Apple introduced all-new Mac hardware aimed at its creative professional users.
The new Mac Pro replaced the Power Mac, and leveraged the Intel transition with a pair of Xeon processors for extreme performance.
The new Mac Pro was a tower form factor, in an aluminum case that featured easy access for upgrades such as video cards, RAM and storage.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2008, iPhone 3G + App Store
WWDC 2008 was another big event, and the first in a series of AAPL developer conferences that saw new iPhone hardware unveiled.
At WWDC 2008, Apple showed off the new iPhone 3G, the followup to the original iPhone. The new iPhone replaced the aluminum back of the original with plastic and gained 3G data capability.
The biggest improvement — and what would soon become a defining iPhone advantage — was also revealed at WWDC 2008. Apple introduced the App Store, which truly turned the iPhone from a mobile phone to a smartphone with features that could be expanded by downloading apps.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2009, iPhone 3GS
The following year, Apple showed off the iPhone 3GS.
The latest version of the iPhone was visually similar to the iPhone 3G, but it was packed with improvements. A new CPU made it twice as fast as its predecessor (the “s” stood for “speed”), it got a significantly improved display, a new 3.0 MP autofocus camera that was capable of shooting video, and voice control.
The iPhone 3GS originally came with storage capacities of 16GB or 32GB — a base storage capacity that remained in place for iPhones until the iPhone 7 finally moved the bar to 32GB in 2016.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2010, iPhone 4
The final big WWDC iPhone launch took place in 2010, when Apple introduced the iPhone 4.
This was a big deal for AAPL.
The iPhone 4 was the first major overhaul of the iPhone design since the original was released in 2007. The new design was a glass back, with a stainless steel frame. This basic design stayed in place through the iPhone 5s and is still used in the iPhone SE.
The changes were much more than superficial. With the iPhone 4, Apple moved to its own A4 processor, boosted the display size to 3.5-inches with Retina resolution and upgraded the camera to 5MP with an LED flash. It also added a new front-facing camera to support the new FaceTime video calling feature.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2012, MacBook Pro with Retina Display
WWDC 2012 was another big moment for new Apple hardware.
The company introduced a revised version of the MacBook Air. But the big splash was made by the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
Thinner and lighter than previous MacBook Pro models and with increased battery life, this MacBook Pro was equipped with AAPL’s new “Retina” display. At a resolution of 2,880 x 1,800 pixels, Retina was greater than Full HD and superior to almost all Windows laptops available at the time.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display was available with a discrete GPU from Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), making it a true mobile graphic workstation.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2013, New Mac Pro
At WWDC 2013, Apple showed off an all new Mac Pro.
This one was a complete redesign, a compact, polished black aluminum cylinder. It was beautiful, nearly silent and meant to be looked at instead of hidden away under a desk.
That Mac Pro also proved to be controversial. AAPL’s core creative professionals complained about its lack of upgradability, accusing the company of ignoring user needs in the name of making its products look visually impressive.
Several months ago, Apple executives admitted they had missed the mark and promised a new Mac Pro will be coming that returns to the days of being able to upgrade video cards, storage and other components as needed.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2015, Apple Music
At WWDC 2015, AAPL leveraged its purchase of Beats Audio with the announcement it would be launching its own streaming music service to take on the likes of Spotify.
The company introduced Apple Music, with a June 30 launch date, a $7.99 monthly fee (undercutting the competition) and a three-month free trial.
There were predictions that iPhone owners would cancel Apple Music the moment their free trial expired, but it has gone on to be a huge success. In March it hit 50 million paid subscribers and now contributes a significant chunk of ongoing revenue to Apple’s increasingly important Services division.
10 Biggest WWDC Announcements: 2016, macOS with Siri
Last year’s WWDC was devoid of blockbuster developments and there were no big hardware reveals. However, AAPL did still have some big news.
OS X — the company’s Mac operating system — officially changed names, becoming macOS. And with macOS, Siri made the leap from iOS to the desktop, bring AAPL’s personal digital assistant to Macs.
The WWDC 2017 keynote takes place on June 5, and if even a few of the current rumors are correct, it should be a big one, with new hardware on top of the usual software and services updates.
Be sure to check in with InvestorPlace for all this year’s key WWDC announcements as soon as that keynote wraps up.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.