Apple in 2016:
Here’s everything you should expect at Apple’s yearly convergence of developers and surprises.
Last June, something interesting happened. After having just spent a significant amount of time unveiling iOS 9, OS X El Captain, and watchOS 2.0, Tim Cook invited Jimmy Iovine up to the WWDC 2015 stage to unveil Apple’s long-awaited music streaming service: Apple Music.
The segment, which lasted a good thirty minutes, was the worst in modern Apple event history.
Every year, right before Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference, I take a look and attempt to analyze what Apple has in store.
This year Apple will continue its yearly tradition of updating device operating systems, with all new versions of iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS, as well as a few other surprises along the way.
Here is everything you should expect:
This year, Apple plans to unveil the tenth major update to its iPhone and iPad operating system: iOS 10.
The update, which is set to launch for developers at WWDC and for consumers in September, is said to include a host of new features and updates, more so than last year’s iOS 9, which was focused on stability improvements.
Amongst the new features, Apple plans on launching a new ‘Home’ app to control HomeKit devices. Similar to the Health app, the app will connect to all your connected smart home devices and give you statistics and options in one centralized location.
Apple also plans on introducing the ability to hide default apps in iOS 10. Up until now, Apple has included a sizable suite of apps with every iOS device, many of which aren’t relevant to every user. The new feature would presumably allow users to go into the Settings application, and hide the apps from their home screens.
Following the launch of the 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, Apple has been preparing a slew of iPad-specific, and possibly iPad Pro-specific, updates. These updates include features such as multi-app support (as opposed to dual) and multi-user support. It is unclear if these features will launch as a part of iOS 10, or as a new, rebranded operating system specifically for iPads.
iOS 10 also includes major updates to Siri and Apple Music, which are discussed further down.
Apple intends on rebranding it’s Mac operating system ‘macOS’, leaving the infamous OS X name behind.
The new update, which will either be called macOS 11 or (more likely) 12, will feature a line of updates, as well as long-awaited Siri support. Apple has also been reportedly working on interface tweaks for the Mac operating system, though it is unclear if those tweaks are ready for the update.
Coinciding with the Apple Music update, Apple will unveil a brand new, redesigned version of iTunes alongside the new OS.
Additionally, the new OS is said to include a new feature that will allow users to unlock their Macs using their phone’s TouchID.
macOS 12 will launch for developers at WWDC and for users this Fall.
Apple will announce watchOS 3.0 at WWDC, which will include more features targeting independence from the iPhone and performance improvements.
The update will also lean heavily on the updated Siri and Apple Music, which are discussed further on.
watchOS 3.0 will launch for developers at WWDC and for users this Fall.
Apple will also launch tvOS 10 at WWDC, which will likely be focused on stability improvement, as well as new features and a new Siri Remote app for the iPhone.
tvOS 10 will launch for developers at WWDC and for users this Fall.
Apple is planning a series of major updates to its various App Stores at WWDC.
Many of the updates focus on the Mac App Store, and will attempt to entice developers with new features such as subscription pricing, paid updates, looser sandboxing restrictions, and deep user analytics.
Apple plans on introducing many of these updates across the board, not just on the MAS, as well as an option for developers to promote their listings in the App Store.
Apple has drastically improved App Review times in the past few months, and it is likely the company will discuss its efforts in this area.
The App Store updates will launch alongside the new operating systems this Fall.
While Apple hasn’t unveiled hardware at a WWDC since the Mac Pro preview in 2013, it appears Apple may be ready to introduce some Mac and Apple Watch accessories at the event.
The Apple Watch Summer Collection
Apple has been clear in its intentions to launch seasonal lines of Apple Watch bands, and it seems lilkely they will take WWDC as an opportunity to introduce a new ‘Summer’ lineup.
The lineup will include updated color options for existing bands, as well as new bands from partners, including the rumored partnership with Coach.
Apple 5K Thunderbolt Display
Apple is working on an update to its Thunderbolt Display, which will feature a 27-inch 5K Retina display.
While earlier reports claimed the device was on the docket for WWDC, Apple in not prepared to show off the updated display at this event.
Apple is preparing to launch an overhaul of its Apple Music streaming service, which will be previewed at WWDC.
Launched at WWDC last year, Apple Music allows users access to unlimited streaming and downloads of most songs on iTunes for a monthly fee. Since the launch, Apple has been in a heavy war against other streaming services, such as Tidal and Pandora, but mainly against Spotify.
After spending the year locking up exclusive albums from musicians such as Dr. Dre, Drake, and Chance the Rapper, and launching a student subscription matching Spotify, Apple Music is growing at a startling rate, and will likely overtake Spotify in the far-future. Apple would like to speed up the process even more.
Part of the update, which was first reported by 9to5mac, is a new user interface, which on the iPhone includes deep integration with 3D Touch. The update will take up more design cues from Apple’s language, largely changing the way users interact with the service.
The ‘For You’ tab will become a focal point of the service following the update while most of the features of the ‘New’ and ‘Connect’ tabs will be placed in a new ‘Browse’ section. Additionally, the service will now natively support song lyrics.
The updated Apple Music will launch alongside Apple’s Fall lineup of devices, along with the new operating systems, later this year.
Apple is preparing a drastic overhaul of its voice assistant, Siri, in preparation for its new line of operating systems and a new home companion device set to launch later this year.
Following the success of competitors Amazon Alexa and Google Now, Apple has been working on an update to Siri that, thanks to a number of acquisitions, will be able to understand users much better than the current virtual assistant. The AI should be able to understand a much wider array of queries, as well as better understand context and learn from previous encounters.
However, the biggest update to Siri will have nothing to do with AI at all. Apple intends on unveiling a Siri SDK for developers at this year’s WWDC. This means a developer could tap into Siri, and allow users to interact with their service straight from the assistant.
While the new Siri will be a headlining feature in the new versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, its main purpose is to prepare for a new home companion device coming from Apple later this year.
The device, similar in concept to the Amazon Echo, will function as both an AirPlay speaker, and a virtual assistant for your house. Users will be able to speak to it by saying ‘Hey Siri’, and the device will learn about you and your family, while also being able to control HomeKit accessories.
Both the updated Siri, and the new Siri device, will launch in the Fall.
WWDC 2016 will begin at 10 AM PDT on June 13 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, with a livestream at Apple.com, and continue the rest of the week at Moscone West. It should be a fun one.
Read the rest of the Apple in 2016 series:
Here’s everything you should expect from Apple’s first 2016 event.MullingApple.com