Apple today announced its Worldwide Developers Conference for 2014. As has become tradition, WWDC 2014 will be held at Moscone West in San Francisco and will give developers attending, and the world watching, an insight into the future of Apple’s mobile and desktop software and possibly some new hardware to get excited about.
I thought I’d put together a list of things I want to see at this year’s “dub dub”, from the entirely expected to the completely speculative.
Apple has previously used WWDC as a platform to preview the newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS, to developers and the wider public through its keynote presentation. Therefore, it would be no surprise for WWDC 2014 to give us our first glimpses at iOS 8 — the next iteration of iOS.
Hopefully, we’ll get previews of new software features for our iPhones and iPads, such as the oft-rumored Healthbook — and how it could revolutionize the connected fitness accessory industry — as well as Preview and TextEdit apps. With these new apps, it would be nice to have the ability to hide stock iOS apps. I’d also like to see some updates to Siri, Notification Center and stock apps like Messages, Mail, Maps and more as well as better inter-app communication to make iOS a more productive operating system (particularly on the iPad).
Overall, I expect to see a refinement of everything iOS 7 brought to the table in an OS that has matured a little since making a splash last year.
OS X updates
As well as showing off its mobile OS at WWDC, Apple also uses the event to showcase its Mac operating system — OS X. Last year, OS X 10.9 Mavericks brought some useful features and a lot of under-the-hood improvements to make the overall experience better.
However, the overall appearance of Mavericks remained almost unchanged from Mountain Lion, to the chagrin of some. Now that iOS and OS X teams are headed up by one person — the coiffured Craig Federighi — I hope to see some of iOS 7/8’s design language make its way back to the Mac.
I’m not saying OS X should be made completely flat and transparent like some of the recent concepts have imagined, but I’d like some visual parity for stock apps that cross OS X and iOS (like Notes, Reminders, Calendar, etc) just to make for a more unified experience.
Apart from visual improvements, actual new features would be extremely welcome too. How about AirDrop compatibility between iOS and Mac? Maybe some Siri love on the Mac? More iCloud integration and expanded features?
Hey, we might need a new name too. Can we really have OS X 10.10? OS X 11? Or just OS 11, perhaps?
New Apple TV
Just this week, we’ve seen Amazon go on the offensive and try to take on the Apple TV with its new fireTV set top box and gaming device. It’s feature packed, has a lot of access to content through Amazon’s offerings and plugs into a fair few third-party services too.
WWDC could provide Apple with a great opportunity to launch the new device. As well as having the world’s media in attendance, WWDC also brings together Apple’s biggest and brightest developers. If Apple opens up the Apple TV to third-party app developers with an App Store of sorts, WWDC is the ideal place to get people on board early in order to get the new store off to a good start.
Retina MacBook Air
We’ve heard rumors of a new, possibly 12-inch MacBook model which many are assuming to be the highly anticipated MacBook Air with Retina Display. In lieu of iOS hardware to announce, which is more likely to be revealed in the fall if tradition holds, a Retina version of Apple’s ultra-portable line of notebooks would be a welcome announcement even if the actual release wasn’t until later in the year (à la the Mac Pro at WWDC 2013).
Hints of the future
In the wake of Apple’s keynote and workshops at WWDC, we always get a few hints at what is to come in the near future. At WWDC 2012, we saw code in iOS that hinted at a larger screened iPhone. Shortly thereafter, we saw the iPhone 5 launch with its 4-inch display. Similarly, at WWDC 2013, new builds of iOS alluded to a fingerprint sensor in a future iPhone model. Lo and behold, 3 months later we get the iPhone 5s with Touch ID.
These little bits of code and hidden features often leave us cryptic clues as to what the future holds and what we can expect from future Apple hardware. I’m really looking forward to WWDC 2014 for what it reveals about the next generation of iOS and Mac hardware, as well as Apple’s software and services.
With all the talk surrounding one, or maybe two, larger screened iPhones in the near future and a heck of a lot of chatter surrounding the as-yet-mythical iWatch, will we see some signs of these impending products?
Will we see hints of a larger-screened iPhone or fitness device from Apple? Will there be some new, interesting camera trickery in the iOS code? Will Tim Cook and Co.’s slides of new features show us words that we don’t yet understand the importance of?
We’ll have to wait and see but I, for one, am EXCITED.
What do you want to see most at WWDC 2014? Are you looking forward to iOS 8, a new OS X or some new hardware? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me: @TiP_AdamO.