iOS users heard it first yesterday when Siri announced Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference will take place June 13-June 17. The company followed this up with an interesting, Swift-inspired WWDC home page. What can we expect?
“The Keynote and State of the Union promise exciting reveals, providing inspiration and new opportunities to continue creating the most innovative apps in the world.” The keynote takes place at the Bill Graham Center this year, which holds c.3,000 more people. Apple clearly has something big to talk to us about.
In a press release, Apple’s SVP worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller, states: "WWDC 2016 is going to be a landmark event for developers who are coding in Swift, and building apps and products for iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS.”
Swift & Metal
WWDC is primarily a developer event. Swift will see significant enhancement as the company continues to put huge energy into fast-tracking its open source system. In addition to this and as I’ve noted before, Apple’s iPhone SE attempt to to ensure every iOS user is using devices capable of working with content developed using Metal will also prove significant. Why else does the company want to stress the one billion actively used iOS devices? Why else has it recently enhanced its App Store guide for developers?
Of course we expect Apple to share some information concerning upcoming OS upgrades across OS X, iOS, watchOS and tvOS at WWDC. These are likely to include such enhancements as:
- Siri support on Macs,
- iCloud voicemail accessible across all devices
- Wider implementation of 3D Touch
- Updates to CarPlay and tvOS
- Apple Music.
I also anticipate further extension and improvements to Apple’s Continuity and Handoff solutions -- Apple is doing all it can to make the process of dancing between its different devices as stress-free, consistent and intuitive as possible.
macOS says ‘Hello’
Thirteen editions in over 15 years since launch in 2001, Apple is likely to be setting the scene for the next big improvements in the OS that underpins all its efforts. Claims the company plans to rebrand it as macOS suggests the company has big plans to craft its operating system for the next decade. However, the focus has shifted somewhat – while OS X was once all about the Mac, the OS is now a core product on which all Apple’s other products are derived: Mac, Watch, iPhone, iPad and TV. Apple is likely asking where else an OS based on OS X can be deployed. Cars? Infrastructure? Drones? Apple's WWDC pages makes a lot of use of the word “Hello”. When did you last see that? Is Apple about to put AI inside its operating systems? Are Macs about to become truly "smart"?
The move to announce the event through Siri underlines just how important it is becoming to Apple’s future plans. This will extend from Proactive and all the way into new classes of AI. Watch those Siri commercials closely.
Where there’s Siri there is also Proactive and everything about the invite screams improvements in Apple’s developing contextually intelligent assistant. You may not have made too much use of Proactive, but if you open an email on an iPhone and tell Siri “remind me about this” you used it then. Apple’s reference to “Hello” – the first thing we ever saw a Mac say – promises a “big idea” and I think Proactive will be part of that big idea.
Apple Watch is even mentioned in the invite, “Hello yogi on my wrist,…Hello double tap heart…” Quanta Chairman Barry Lam told us to expect a new Watch model by the end of Q2. I’d like to see it gain its own independent processor and embedded Apple SIM; but most people only predict a thinner model and customized watch faces. I imagine Apple has a little more than that planned – multi-function bands, perhaps?
Apple’s decision to embed a Maps image on the page announcing the event suggests it will at last open Maps up to its developer community, most likely by introducing an official MapKit API. This should enable Apple’s Maps to proliferate in a similar way to Google Maps, embedded across sites and applications.
This remains one of the most important contributions Apple is making to the world. Of course there will be something to learn – perhaps we’ll see new sensors and new families of connected health devices.
A propos of Maps we all know Apple has been driving round key conurbations taking images since Summer 2015. With this in mind might WWDC 2016 be the see Apple launch (or perhaps simply discuss) its StreetView alternative?
A MacBook revision seems likely at or around the event ** UPDATE SINCE PUBLISHING THIS STORY APPLE HAS INTRODUCED A NEW MACBOOK MODEL including a Rose Gold version (with 8GB RAM as standard)*. I’m certain Apple’s professional users want a Mac Pro update and isn’t it well past time for a 4K Apple Display? Dare I say, “ARM”?
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