Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be held from 8 – 12 June this year, and as usual, there’s a lot of speculation as to what consumers can expect to see come out from the tech behemoth.
We’re pretty excited by what’s to come, and we know you are too, so here’s the lowdown on what you can expect from the opening keynote of the WWDC.
Apple typically uses the WWDC as the stage to showcase the major update of its popular mobile operating system. Expect this latest version of iOS to comprise of much under-the-hood improvements to stability, performance and security of the product. It’s much like how OS X Snow Leopard was released to improve the OS X Leopard experience. We should also be expecting a few new features in this version, but here are three of the more significant ones that are more or less confirmed.
This is a new lifestyle management feature in the new update which is rumoured to replace the existing Spotlight search, and compete against Google Now. With Proactive, when you pull down the search bar and search for apps or contacts, it will display content from those apps based on contextual cues – such as flight details in Passbook or appointments in Calendar when the search is done at the appropriate time.
Proactive also remembers users behaviours, and will also have, for example, the Mail app displayed on its screen first thing in the morning if it learns that the user checks his email at that time every day.
This is a huge leap forward for Apple’s Maps app. It really brings Apple Maps much closer to compete with Google Maps. We can certainly also expect Apple Watch integration for this new feature.
Home automation is the next big thing now, and HomeKit was announced at last year’s WWDC. This year, we should be able to see a dedicated Home app on the iPhone that will allow users to manage various HomeKit-compatible devices such as lights, locks and other home appliances.
OS X 10.11
Similar to iOS 9, this latest update Mac OS update will focus on stability and performance enhancement.
Nothing much as been said on this front, except for two main things: the system font will be changed to “San Francisco” – same as that on the Apple Watch – for greater readability, and a quick access Control Center panel on the left edge of the screen for features similar to what users get from the bottom-up swipe on iOS devices.
iTunes Music Streaming Service
This feature has been in the rumour mill for the longest time, especially since Apple acquired music company Beats last year. Without a doubt, Apple will be going after Spotify’s massive market share. What we’re curious to see is how Apple manages to offer greater value-added service and features that distinguishes itself from Spotify – it certainly has the existing experience and infrastructure in the music business to shake it up. Hopefully this doesn’t disappoint, like the much-criticised Tidal streaming service.
iTunes Radio revamp
This is supposed to complement the above mentioned music streaming service. It will be available for free, with supposedly more local content and new stations hosted by DJs.
Native Apple Watch apps
The Apple Watch currently runs apps while paired with an iPhone, which could result in slower performance, and less than ideal usability. Developers at the WWDC will be provided with updated tools to allow them to develop apps that run natively on the Apple Watch. Expect these native apps to come to the Apple Watch later this year.
We’ve been waiting eons for an update to the Apple TV, and were fully expecting something to be announced at the WWDC, until a report on The New York Times poured cold water over this rumour. Seems like the product isn’t ready to see the light or day at this point. We’ll keep holding our breaths, but it’s likely we’ll get to see this later this year at a separate keynote event.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference will be held at 0100hr on 9 June Singapore time. The opening keynote coverage will be streamed live on Apple TV.
Other alternatives to keep up with the keynote would be to follow the major tech live blogs.