Apple has big plans for WWDC 2014

Apple has huge plans for WWDC 2014, which begins with a mammoth two-hour keynote speech on June 2.


The evidence

There's plenty of evidence to support this:

  • The two-hour keynote
  • The date: Keynote, June 2; 7-1 stock split, June 9.
  • Apple hasn't yet announced the content of dozens and dozens of WWDC sessions. The company is being blatant about this, giving these sessions names like, "No comment", "This one is sealed", "To be announced", "Shhh, can't tell you", "You'll never guess".
  • Click on any of them and Apple says: "The title and description of this session will be revealed after Keynote on Monday June 2. Check back to view the updates schedule."

What can Apple announce that has consequences for both OS X and iOS and is obviously implemented at a deep system level? Session descriptions show we're looking at changes across frameworks, services, Core OS, tools, media, graphics and games.

WWDC is a developer's conference, so whatever Apple announces will both improve and extend its operating systems while also enabling developers to create better apps and make more money.

Noting the proximity of the stock split, Aaron Burt warns:

"Every move Apple makes is well thought out, and I suspect that they've got something brewing. Apple is cash rich, and investors know it. Are they releasing a new product? A smart car? A solution to world hunger? Well, maybe not, but the company has a way of surprising us."

The possibilities

Apple has explicitly promised a look at iOS 8 and OS X 10.10. That it is keeping session contents secret suggests lots of news for its operating systems, this will include Jony Ive led OS X changes.

Digging deeper into the WWDC pages you'll find only one Apple Event is being kept under wraps. This hints Apple has one big thing it wants to discuss, this could be OS improvements, or could be something specific.

What might it be? There's plenty of possibilities:

  • Mobile payments
  • iTunes streaming music services
  • Apple's rumoured new "Healthbook" platform
  • Developer tools to enable third party apps on Apple TV
  • A Retina MacBook Air/Pro

I'm certain Apple won't introduce its new iPhone range until September, but it could expand its existing range with a larger iPhone model, though that's going to be an aside rather than a main attraction.

So, what's left?

Re/code reports Apple is not planning to use WWDC 2014 to launch the iWatch, or a new Apple TV. 

Perhaps not, but it's possible to speculate it may preview them. Why? Because it wants developers to build plenty of apps for its new products when these things do launch, and where better to give developers the code to accomplish this than at WWDC? Apple has done this before, using the public glimpse as a way to build up interest. Tight integration between any new platforms and its existing operating systems is a no brainer.

Apple's WWDC page reads:

"Over the past six years, a massive cultural shift has occurred. It's changed how we interact with one another. Learn new things. Entertain ourselves. Do our work. And live our daily lives. All because of developers and the apps they create," adding, "Write the code. Change the world."

Apple's focus on connected mobile solutions makes explicit note of the importance of Apple's developer community. If it does plan new product families it will definitely want its developers coming along for the ride.

Whatever Apple does have planned at the show, it's big -- though it should already anticipate the usual critical reaction.

The world will be watching.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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