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WWDC 2016: What to expect from Apple's developer-centric event

By Michael Low & Kenny Yeo - 10 Jun 2016

WWDC 2016: What to expect from Apple's developer-centric event

Image source: 9to5 Mac.

Next week is Apple’s annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) event. This is the event of the year where Apple announces all of its major software updates. As usual, Apple has been tight-lipped about what it would announce, but there's been no shortage of rumors leading up to the event. Here's what we think could be announced based on what we have seen and heard.

 

No hardware updates =(

Here's what the new MacBook Pro with an OLED touch panel could look like. <br>Image source: MacRumors.

Let’s hear the bad news first. Remember those leaked photos of the allegedly new MacBook Pro that we showed just a few days ago? Yup, we have heard from numerous sources that there will be no announcements of any new hardware updates at this year’s WWDC. Which is strange considering this is an event for Apple developers, who are predominantly MacBook users as well. What better place to announce a new MacBook Pro than in front of your most loyal and fervent users?

That said, the new hardware updates could still happen (fingers crossed), but it’s looking very unlikely for now, based on what we’ve heard and read. Instead, some are suggesting that the new MacBook Pros could be announced at another event later this year. 

 

OS X

Siri is expected to finally debut on the Mac. <br>Image source: 9to5 Mac.

It looks like 2016 will be Siri’s year. The big rumor is that Siri is expected to finally be integrated into OS X. Plus, we have even seen leaked screenshots here. According to the rumor mill, Siri will work very much in the same way as she already does on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Siri in OS X will be able to do things like launch apps, send messages, adjust the brightness of the display, and get answers to questions like, “How’s the weather?” or “What’s the score of last night’s football game?”

Screenshots suggest that Siri will become a mainstay in OS X’s menu bar for quick access, or she could also be invoked using a regular dock icon. Some reports also suggest that Siri can even be voice activated with the phrase, “Hey Siri”, if the Mac is plugged into a power source; and that newer Macs can have always-on “Hey Siri” support much like the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Finally, the next version of OS X will likely be renamed to macOS to follow the naming convention of Apple's other operating systems like iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

 

iOS

iOS 10 isn't likely to be radically different from iOS 9. Siri, however, is said to finally be able to work with third-party apps.

On the iOS front, Siri in iOS 10 is expected to be more powerful and useful than ever. Even though Siri was introduced nearly five years ago, Siri could never work with third-party apps. So you could never use Siri to play a video from YouTube, or have Siri hail a cab from you with taxi apps. However, numerous reports say Apple will finally open up Siri to all third-party apps, which will make it easier and more convenient to control your Apple devices using voice.

Siri aside, iOS 10 will also likely receive some design changes, with some reports even suggesting that Apple could even introduce a new dark theme that would affect the entire OS. There’s also talk of new photo editing features, which won’t be surprisingly at all given how much Apple loves to talk up its iPhones photo-taking abilities.

 

iTunes & Apple Music

iTunes is set to receive a major design update to make it easier to use and less bloated.

The other likely major announcement would be iTunes. Introduced in 2001, over a decade ago, iTunes was initially designed to be a music playing app and was then used for iPod owners to organize and sync their music collection. But over the years, it grew to become more and more. Today, it’s responsible for syncing your iPhones and iPads; and it’s the gateway to Apple’s new music streaming service, Apple Music, on Macs. Plus, it is also home to the iTunes Store and App Store. To say that it has become bloated wouldn’t be a stretch, and users have complained about this and slow performance for some time now.

The rumor mill suggest that WWDC 2016 would be the time when Apple announces a major revision of iTunes. Some say that Apple will do away with certain parts of iTunes, like the iTunes Store, as music streaming becomes more popular. However, Apple themselves have denied this. There's also talk of iTunes being split up into dedicated applications for different functions, but we don't think that will happen.

More likely than not, what we will see at WWDC 2016 will be significant changes to the user interface to make its various functions and features more clear and accessible. In particular, we can expect Apple Music to stand out more prominently within iTunes. What we would like to see also is a less buggy Apple Music, and better integration between Apple Music and our own personal music library.

 

Other announcements

Apple is rumored to be working on its own car, so don't be surprised if you hear more about Carplay at WWDC 2016. <br>Image source: Apple.

Given the focus on software at WWDC, Apple will also likely make mentions about watchOS and tvOS. However, there’s been precious little rumors to surface about the two. Given that the two OS are relatively new, Apple would likely focus on building increased functionality into the two, as well as focus on making them perform better and more stably.

We should also hear more from Apple about their ResearchKit and HomeKit initiatives, and also its open source Swift programming language. Finally, considering all the rumors about Apple working on its own car, don’t be surprised to hear updates about Apple CarPlay either.

The latest rumor we've heard is that Apple will introduce iMessage for Android. Obviously, bringing iMessage to Android will increase the service's user base, but it remains to be seen how many Android users would want to sign up for iMessage given that there's no shortage of good instant messaging apps around.