Predictions for Apple’s WWDC

Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference kicks off one week from today, on Monday June 13th. The keynote for the event is at 1:00 PM Eastern, 10:00 AM Pacific time. Back in April I posted my wish list for iOS and OS X. Here are my predictions for what we will see next week.

Hardware

WWDC has seen its share of new hardware being released. However, last year as well as in 2014, WWDC did not see any new hardware released. Even though the past couple of years have been hardware free, I think this year’s WWDC will see some new hardware. This will include things that developers will love; a new Mac Pro and a new Thunderbolt display. If Apple were to announce high-end hardware like this, WWDC would be the best place to do so. Besides this, developers are one of the target audiences for the Mac Pro, and there is no where better to announce new hardware for developers.

Emoji

Language is a fluid and dynamic entity. New words are being created, and other words are being re-appropriated for other uses. There are times though that words do not always accurately evoke the sentiment that we are looking to express. This is where Emoji come in handy. Emoji are handled by the Unicode consortium. The latest release of Emoji are to be included with Unicode 9.0, which will be released on June 21st. It is almost a foregone conclusion that we will see the Emoji of Unicode 9.0 in iOS 10. It may not be in the first beta, but it will likely be in the 2nd or 3rd beta, and most definitely by the first public beta.

Swift

I am thinking that Swift will be a giant portion of the conference. There are a couple of indications that this is the case. The first is that the WWDC site is full of Swift code. This is the first indication. The second is that Apple is preparing Swift 3 for release. Swift 3 is set to bring many new features to the language, including it being the last one to do any major code-breaking changes.

iOS

Apple’s biggest selling product, the iPhone, is supported by iOS. There haven’t been any rumors leaked as to what we will see with iOS, but here is what I think.

Naming

With this year’s WWDC, it will be the 10th release of iOS. If tradition were to continue, Apple may just name the release iOS 10. Alternatively, Apple could name it iOS X and start changing the numbering she me. However, the 10th release is a good time to change tact. Instead of continuing to use the same numbering scheme, it may be time to change to a code name instead. Apple could start using the same code name as OS X. Given that there are times that the feature of iOS work best with the corresponding release of OS X. This approach may just work best in the long run. Yes, it would require users to know the name of the OS installed on their iPhone, yet the version of the OS could still appear under Settings.

Audio

The audio on the iPad Pro is excellent. One of the areas where iOS lacks is in the audio arena. Currently on iOS you can only record audio, but not listen at the same time. This limitation makes it difficult to be able to do a podcast entirely on an iPad, or even an iPhone. I predict that Apple will announce the ability to not only listen, but also record simultaneously. If Apple does indeed add this, there will be many happy podcasters. Additionally, this would make it even easier for non-techies to create and edit their own podcasts.

tvOS

tvOS is Apple’s latest operating system, based on iOS. There are many features that could be added to tvOS. One that users have been asking about is the ability to allow developers to be able require a controller for their game. Currently, Apple does not allow this to occur. If Apple really does want to make the Apple TV viable as a gaming platform, the ability to require a controller is key. I think this will be an increase in the number of podcasts, with decent audio, being released; beyond what is happening now.

watchOS

watchOS has been around for just about 18 months. It was originally released in November of 2014 with the first release of Xcode with WatchKit. Last year at WWDC 2015, Apple unveiled watchOS, which allows developers to create applications that run natively on the watch.

I think there will be a slight improvement with watchOS. I think the biggest improvement will come with applications becoming faster. Some of the current speed issues is due to limitations in the hardware, but the applications do need to become faster.

The only other feature that I think we will see is the ability to create and use custom watch faces. Imagine that any company, or developer, could release a custom watch face that was able to look how one wants. It could allow for even more customization for the Apple Watch.

OS X

Along with the developer betas of iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 4, comes the oldest Apple operating system, OS X.

Naming

One of the rumors for OS X is that the name of the operating system will be changed from OS X to macOS. I did not originate this idea, but as I stated in my OS X post then:

On Episode 123 of The Talk Show with John Gruber Apple’s Vice President of Marketing, Phil Schiller, was asked about the casing of the various operating systems of Apple (iOS, tvOS, watchOS). Gruber asked why OS X was different. Schiller responded “give us time”. As Jason Snell of Six Colors has postulated “OS X will be renamed to macOS”. This is entirely possible and given the hints, it is likely to occur.

I think we will see this. Instead of being macOS 10.12, it will just be called macOS, without any numbering. If Apple is going for a cleaner look, this will definitely assist in that coming to fruition.

During the 3D Touch demo at the September 2015 event, “…Apple showed an email with three place names within it. These names are Manteca, Tehachapi, and Arroyo Grande”.

As mentioned above, iOS could utilize a codename instead of continuing the numbering that has been prevalent since its initial release. I think macOS and iOS codename will be “Arroyo Grande”.

Siri

There have been rumors that Siri will make its way onto the Mac. The rumors also state that Siri will replace spotlight. Siri will be able to do everything that is possible on iOS. In addition, Siri will be able to search users files, much like Spotlight can do now, except it can be done via voice.

With having a large battery, power conversation is less of a concern for the Mac, but it is still important. I think Siri will gain the ability to perform tasks via voice. For instance, you will be able to say “Siri, turn off the screen”, and the screen will turn off. Or something similar, like “Siri, open Tweetbot”, and the Tweetbot application will open.

Recap

Here is what I think we will see, in order of likelihood.

  • Some news about Swift 3.0.
  • New Emoji that are included in Unicode 9.0.
  • OS X will be renamed to macOS.
  • Siri will appear on the Mac, replacing Spotlight
  • Siri on the Mac will gain the ability to open applications.
  • iOS will get enhanced audio abilities that podcasters will like.
  • iOS and macOS will both use code names; that name will be Arroyo Grande.
  • Apple will allow developers to require controllers for tvOS games.
  • watchOS will get faster applications and customizable Watch faces.
  • New Hardware with the Mac Pro and Display

Regardless of what Apple does end up unveiling next week, I know I will be watching the keynote live. I will also be installed the iOS on my iPhone and my iPad, macOS on my iMac and my MacBook Pro, tvOS on my 4th Generation Apple TV. I will also be posting a recap of the event as well as how well my predictions did. So be sure to check in again next week.


Originally published at www.waynedixon.com on June 6, 2016.

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