Next week Apple will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s keynote speech will start at 10 a.m. Pacific time on June 2 and if you click here, you will be able to watch it live. However, if you want to watch along, you’ll need Safari 4 or later on OS X 10.6 or later; Safari on iOS 4.2 or later. Streaming on the Apple TV requires second or third generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later.
WWDC is Apple’s chance to talk to developers and most of its announcements will be geared toward app developers. With that being said, we will definitely see updates to software and maybe some hardware as well. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from Apple next Monday during the keynote…
OS X 10.10
At WWDC last year, Apple introduced OS X Mavericks, which was a free software update for their desktop and laptop lineups. The update included more than 200 new features, including completely new iBooks and Maps apps, improved Calendar and Safari, tabs and tags in Finder, and multiple-display support.
There’s little to be known about what to expect this year, however. Since the look and feel of Mavericks didn’t change much compared to previous versions of OS X, many speculate that the next version of OS X will be getting a heavy face-lift. It’ll most likely resemble iOS 7, with redesigned app icons, more white space to give a more flat design, and sharper corners.
Since Apple totally redesigned iOS 7 from the ground up last year, it isn’t likely that we will see much of a design change this time around. There may be a few design changes here and there, but it will most definitely not be as drastic as last year. iOS 8 should have some nice additions to keep app developers and users satisfied.
As far as the likely additions, probably the biggest one is the long rumored Healthbook app. Implementation of this app could help keep track of health and fitness data, like Apple’s Passbook was supposed to do for concert tickets and gift cards, for example.
The iPhone 5s’ M7 motion co-processor allows it to track a person’s steps and miles walked and calories burned. There’s no built-in hardware to help with the measurement of things like blood-sugar levels, hydration, and heartbeat, so that information would have to come from something hooked up or attached to the body in some way. This would open up the possibility that Healthbook could be integrated with Apple’s long-rumored iWatch. But with that being said, it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see any wearables, such as the iWatch, being introduced next week.
The company launched CarPlay when iOS 7.1 launched in March. It may be too soon for any major updates; however, there might be some small changes or features added to enhance the user experience.
One feature that needs a massive overhaul is the native Maps app. Apple’s Maps app was introduced alongside iOS 6 in 2012 and iOS users were far from pleased. Apple may introduce some big changes in iOS 8 regarding the Maps app, including the return of public transit information.
Another plausible feature that may be introduced alongside iOS 8 is a standalone iTunes Radio app. Apple currently hides the free streaming service in its Music app, but the radio may possibly get its own app, as well as other new features. Apple could also introduce music subscriptions since recently buying Beats Music; however, we may not see this by next week.
Siri is always improving, so there is a big chance that Apple will throw in some Siri tweaks and improvements next week. Siri might also include Shazam integration to tell users what song they’re listening to on the radio, for example. It’s possible that Apple could also unveil a Siri that gets along better with third-party hotel or flight booking services as well as open up the API in order to work better with other third-party apps, which is long overdue.
Apple may allow AirDrop for iOS to work with OS X and it could usher in improvements to iWork and iCloud. We also could see more iBeacon enhancements and other features that will be able to work across various Apple devices.
Other possible iOS 8 features
Other iOS tweaks and improvements could include improved notifications, split-screen apps for iPad, better multitasking, gaming features for Apple TV, and improved battery life.
Home automation platform
Apple might be preparing a platform that would integrate the company into the Internet of Things, according to a Financial Times report. In other words, you would have a central operating system, which would likely be your iOS device, that would allow you to use your phone to control lights, security systems, and other home appliances. This platform, however, will not likely be introduced at WWDC this year.
Along with a revamped Mac OS, Apple could also use WWDC to introduce new Macs. However, Intel’s newest chip, Broadwell, won’t be ready until later this year, so the devices wouldn’t get big performance updates if they were updated now. Much speculation points to Mac updates later this year instead of at WWDC next week. However, there is new speculation of lower-cost iMacs in the works for WWDC. I guess we will have to wait until Monday to find out for sure whether new Macs will be hitting the shelves soon.
iPhone and iPad
The company introduced its latest versions of iOS devices in the fall, and it’s likely going to do the same again this year. There is new speculation of an 8GB iPhone 5s that may be hitting the shelves for emerging markets. Keep in mind that WWDC is mostly geared toward software refreshes, but that doesn’t mean updates to hardware is completely off the table.
Apple might make some changes to its current Apple TV lineup for WWDC, particularly the software, but we’re probably not going to see a completely revamped Apple TV just yet.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised interesting new products in line for this year and many rumors have been circulating about a wearable. Apple likely will introduce a smart-watch or fitness band sometime this year, but it’s unlikely to happen this soon. Rumors have pointed to the iWatch hitting the market later in the fall.
One more thing…
Apple could, of course, have some surprises up their sleeve for WWDC this year. The company isn’t expected to introduce much hardware, if any at all, but it could end up surprising everyone. Stay tuned to find out what Apple has planned for next week.
Is there anything you guys would like to see from Apple at WWDC next week? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section down below.