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Apple's WWDC 2019 invite is full of iOS and MacOS hints and Easter eggs

Apple's artwork suggests Mac Pro, iTunes being split up and much more.

James Martin/CNET

In a matter of hours Apple will begin the keynote at its Worldwide Developers Conference 2019. This year's WWDC presentation takes place at 10 a.m. PT on Monday, June 3 in San Jose, California. The weeklong conference will likely show off upcoming versions of iOS 13 and the latest MacOS as well as possibly reveal new hardware.

Read: How to watch and livestream WWDC 2019

If previous years are any indication, the WWDC invitation usually hints at a theme or initiative Apple is likely to unveil. So like Batman and Robin (the '60s TV version) I tried to solve the riddles inside the media invites Apple sent out on May 23

This year, there are five illustrated drawings each of an Animoji character: monkey, robot, skull, alien and unicorn. Sorry, no koala or dragon. The artwork shows each character having their Animoji mind being literally blown with a puff of smoke projecting emojis, coding symbols and icons for things like Swift and Metal. There are even head and skull fragments drawn in -- ew.

monkey

This drawing of an Animoji monkey having its mind blown might indicate a new Mac Pro.

Apple

A new Mac Pro… finally

The choice of Animoji character is curious but could shed light on where Apple is going. The monkey drawing has icons of a paint brush, musical notes and a camera eliciting a definite playful creative vibe. In previous years, Apple has been criticized for its seeming lack of support of creative professionals.

Last year, Apple informed a handful of reporters that it is working on a major overhaul and update to the "trashcan" Mac Pro -- one of the symbols of Apple's creative neglect. That update is said to be released in 2019. So this monkey with a paintbrush coming out of his head could signal that we will finally see a new 2019 Mac Pro.

skull

This exploding skull could mean that we'll hear more about Apple Arcade at WWDC.

Apple

Apple Arcade and more gaming

The skull illustration includes a joystick and bowling pin as debris. At Apple's last event in March, the Arcade subscription gaming service was announced for iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs. Arcade will have more than 100 new and exclusive games made by studios and developers from around the world, including Annapurna Interactive, Lego, Sega, Cartoon Network, Konami, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Will Wright and Ken Wong. Despite the showy teaser there weren't many details like price and release date about the service. Perhaps Apple will share more about it at WWDC.

wwdc-logo-only

There are some hints in the robot's head debris of iOS and MacOS development improving.

Apple

Marzipan dreams of iOS and MacOS together

The drawings of the robot and alien are two sides of the same coin. There is an iOS calculator icon exploding out of the robot's head and the MacOS launchpad icon jettisoning out of the alien's noggin. These symbols could point to the unification of iOS and MacOS app development, a so-called OS unicorn -- get it?

The unicorn picture also incorporates icons from iOS and MacOS. At WWDC 2018, Senior VP Craig Federighi said that iOS and MacOS will not merge into one operating system. But Apple showed its iOS News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home apps ported over to MacOS. Apple could bring this cross-platform framework to third-party developers. Apple has been rumored to have a project codenamed Marizpan that will offer such functionality.

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More Apple Pencil support and more Animojis

All of the artwork looks drawn which could indicate more Apple Pencil functionality. Could that mean full support for using an Apple Pencil on an iPhone XS Max a la the S-Pen on Samsung's Galaxy Note 9? Or is this a more literal indicator that you'll be able to draw your own Animojis? Just spitballin' here. It most likely indicates that more Animojis will be coming to your iPhone and iPad.

Bye, bye iTunes

The musical notes on the monkey drawing is a MacOS Easter Egg supporting the rumor that Apple is breaking apart iTunes in favor of several smaller standalone MacOS apps including one called Music.

The iPad gets trackpad support

Nearly all of the drawings have what looks like either a location arrow or cursor arrow. The more ambitious rumor is that the iPad might finally get trackpad/mouse support which would mean the addition of a cursor of some kind. This would truly transform the iPad Pro and its bonkers fast processor into a true laptop replacement.

It's more likely the icon is a location arrow which would support rumors of an upgrade to the Maps app that lets you save important addresses.

New iPhone mute switch or iOS toggle switch

Several of the WWDC drawings have an oval with a circle to one side. I immediately thought this was the iOS toggle switch and perhaps it hints at more improvements to iOS notifications.

But my colleague Vanessa Hand Orellana pointed out it could also be a reference to a rumored new mute switch on the next iPhone. Apple hasn't released a new iPhone at WWDC since the iPhone 4 and I'd be dubious if it released one there this year.

Dark mode

All of the drawings have one major thing in common. They have a dark background and light colored artwork. Last year, MacOS Mojave got a dark mode, but it's now official: Dark Mode is coming to iOS 13 (In the meantime, you can try these apps with dark mode settings.)