Apple’s going to show us the future (at least for a year) of all its platforms at WWDC 2016 in a few short weeks time, so what can we expect for the system at the heart of everything Apple does, OS X? Here is what people are whispering about:
OS X becomes macOS?
There has been speculation Apple plans to change the name of OS X to bring it into line with its other operating systems, tvOS, iOS and watchOS. Right now of course we’re all calling OS X 10.12, but might it simply become macOS 1.0? It’s possible, Ars Technica argues. Oh, and the OS is code-named “Fuji”.
Continuity & Handoff
The company has more or less told us to expect more integration across all four of its operating systems. Even in the WWDC press release, Apple marketing VP, Philip Schiller, said: “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.” Apple is already hugely proud of its unique Continuity solution that enables us to work across all its platforms – I think it likely the company will extend this, partly because no other platform matches it, and partly because it’s so useful. Might Apple introduce improved developer tools to enable third party apps to join the Continuity party? Might we also learn a little more about the company’s seeming plan to get most every user onto its most advanced processors?
Siri for Mac
After three years of internal testing, Apple may add Siri support to your Mac. Available via an icon in the Menu bar and through a range of keyboard and application shortcuts, this will extend to ‘Hey Siri’ support when your computer is plugged into power. You should be able to use this to adjust System settings, launch apps and more. It is possible this may also integrate voice control functions currently made available using Dictation and Accessibility tools available in OS X.
Apple has introduced Night Shift across iOS devices. It makes complete sense for the company to make this a standard feature on future Macs.
A Japanese Apple-focused Website claims Photos will be updated with new tools, such as those for editing EXIF information and touch-based parameter adjustment tools, similar to those found in the latest editions of the app on iOS. The report specifically warns that Aperture-level functions won’t yet be made available. (Might Apple introduce these as fee-based Extensions to Photos app?)
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. Might we also see StreetView like features appear in some cities?
What Apple reveals about Swift, particularly as regards platform-agnostic development, will likely be underplayed, but impressive. When it does talk about Swift be sure to ponder the implications of its news on enterprise development.
Apple has been quietly making significant moves in the Web standards space:
On the one hand it has begun putting WebRTC support in place inside Safari, enabling new in-browser tools for users.
And from June all new iOS apps will need to support IPv6. The company began supporting IPv6 many years ago, but overall support is vital to the evolution of IoT and connected devices.
So what do these moves mean to Safari? At some level I think these standards enhancements in combintion with Apple's OS and development improvements should help empower Apple and third parties to create new breeds of zero-configuration applications and services via apps or the browser with which to support and manage multiple connected devices. Which leads nicely to:
Apple is widely expected to launch a standalone HomeKit app for iOS devices. Why would it only launch this for iOS devices? Surely the iMac in your office (and the Apple TV in your den) have parts to play within your smart home?
That about nails most of the whispers in circulation right now. Have I missed any? Please let me know in comments below.
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