Apple’s about to monopolise the tech newsfeeds for several hours next week, as its annual WWDC event gets underway over there in its home country on June 13. There will be a man. He might say some things. He may even have a new object. But what things and/or objects?
AU Editor’s Note: Apple’s first WWDC keynote kicks off at 3AM AEST on June 14. We’ll be awake, bleary-eyed, and live-blogging, so tune in. — Cam
WWDC is where Apple usually pulls out a few superstar apps and ordains them in public, praising the likes of Tinder and all the other hot new sensations, before encouraging attendees to bash out their ad-ridden clones. Or something like that. I don’t know, I’ve got a Xiaomi and always leave the internet when Apple things happen.
What should happen at WWDC, though, according to rumours among people who care, is:
A Public Siri SDK
One of the many rumours surrounding Apple’s plans for WWDC is that it might release development tools for Siri, allowing third-party developers to shoehorn voice features into their apps for practically no one to ever use. Awesome. Still, with Google Assistant likely to be open to all the world’s Android developers, Apple’s going to have to make a move like this to stop Siri falling too far behind Google’s growing AI juggernaut.
Probably iOS 10
WWDC is traditionally when Apple demonstrates the new features in its next version of the iPhone and iPad operating system, to get developers up to speed before it arrives on new devices later in the year. This year, it should mean we see iOS 10, plus Apple’s desktop world’s OS X ought to be ready to hit the 10.12 milestone.
But what’s likely to get top billing in iOS 10? With the Google Assistant breathing down its neck, Siri should get a spruce up, with Siri commands worked into the iOS Remote app and potentially even being worked into its own Amazon Echo / Google Home hardware rival.
The App Store is expected to get an overhaul, improving search and discovery functionality (but also worryingly set to include paid search results too, which could muddy any hopes for better relevancy, according to 9to5Mac). Apple is also said to be considering FINALLY letting iPhone and iPad users hide the stock iOS apps that populate every fresh device’s homescreen before inevitably being dumped in a folder bin. iCloud security will be tightened following Apple’s falling out with the FBI. Plus Bloomberg says there should be a thorough update of Apple Music within iOS 10. Good news for Zane Lowe, with a cleaner black and white UI, dominant artwork and lyrics integration.
It’s been ages since Apple Watch launched. Surely by now someone’s had an idea about what to use it for? Expect people with all the old iPhones in a sock drawer to pretend to be amazed by the new ways in which smartphone features can be made worse on a smaller display, should an updated WatchOS be revealed. WatchOS 2 was the big reveal at WWDC 2015, so they’ve had a whole year to make it useful.
MacRumors reckons that a 40 per cent thinner Apple Watch has a slim chance of making an appearance, with expanded Wi-Fi abilities and a wrist-mounted FaceTime camera being the headline additions.
Seeing as there’s almost certainly going to be a new OS X, there really ought to be some new Macs to show it off to its best extent and get the Apple faithful binning perfectly functional 11-month old MacBooks because they’re now shit and old. So we’d imagine some tweaked laptops might be revealed, if we are allowed to call them laptops, with rumours expecting Apple to finally go with Siri integration across its OS X device range, too.
As for the potential new hardware, a Mac with OLED touch panel and Touch ID integrated has been teased by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. With the USB-C MacBook refresh a relatively-new addition to Apple’s hardware line-up, this would have to be a pretty desperate “one more thing” from Cook and co.
More on tvOS
Apple’s lagging streaming software ought to be refreshed as well. There are no rumours on what to expect, though, so presumably it’ll be a list of small changes dressed up to be Amazing, as anything seismic would surely have been pulled out of some config file somewhere by now.
In terms of what Apple TV needs though, would be a rethink about the latest Apple TV’s touch remote, which is temperamental at best with strange button placement. Along with that, better natural language understanding from Siri would make voice searching through the movie and TV catalogue easier. But all this should naturally trickle down from any wider Siri overhaul Apple has planned for WWDC 2016.