Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference will take place June 13–17 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. The venue is a change of place from previous years’ venues at the Moscone West convention center. The change is because Apple simply needs more space to hold their developers conference, which is one of the most attended and high profile developers conferences in the world.
iOS 10 isn’t the only thing that will be revealed — expect BIG updates for Apple Watch, Apple TV and Apple Music
Apple has had an immensely busy 2015/16, pumping out lots of new hardware, including two iPad Pro models, a new Apple TV, two new iPhones and, of course, more recently, the iPhone SE. Later on in 2016 the company will release the iPhone 7, although unlike previous years Apple is expected to announce three iPhones: the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 7 Pro. The latter of which will benefit from an advanced dual-lens camera and cross-over with Apple’s growing line of hybrid accessories — keyboard and Apple Pencil — previously reserved for use with its iPad Pro line.
Apple has BIG plans for Siri also. According to reports, Apple will announce that Siri will be made available to developers at WWDC 2016. And the reason: Apple wants to release an Amazon Echo rival and in order to do this it needs Siri to have more features and be A LOT more useful.
This is a pretty interesting development, as it comes just days after Google announced Google Home, the Big G’s first foray into the smart-speaker segment started by Amazon with its hugely popular Echo device.
AI sits at the heart of these smart-speakers, and while AI is still pretty remedial, the whole point of these things is that once they’re out in the world they will learn and develop. Over time things like Amazon’s AI and Google’s Assistant will power bigger and smarter machines and one day, potentially, actual androids. No wonder Apple wants a slice of the action.
And though the conference is aimed at developers, consumers and media tune into the keynote speech to see what Apple has planned for the rest of the year. Apple won’t unveil new iPhone hardware, though — that comes later on this year. At WWDC 2016 it will show off new software and give developers an update about what they can expect from future releases. Here’s everything that Apple is expected to show off at this year’s WWDC.
The App Store
Apple is also planning some pretty MASSIVE changes to the App Store too. According to a report in The Telegraph, Apple will add in a myriad of new features, some design tweaks, and also new, paid-for search option whereby developers can pay for increased exposure of their applications and games, which sounds like a nice money spinner for the world’s biggest tech brand.
Speaking exclusively, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, who in December took over responsibility for the App Stores across all four platforms – iOS, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV – said that introducing paid search ads, which will be chosen on an auction process like Google’s AdWords, would allow developers to focus their marketing budgets on the place where people actually search for and download apps.
“There are hundreds of millions of searches on the App Store every week, and 65pc of app downloads are driven by search,” he said. “It’s a very valuable tool for users and developers. For developers, this will be very efficient marketing.” Developers’ marketing budgets are presently spent on social media or online adverts, he argued, where they were less effective.
It goes without saying that Apple will show off the next version of iOS at WWDC. It’s hard to believe, but this will be the tenth iteration of iOS. And no, don’t expect it to be called “iOS X” (as for why: see below). Instead, Apple is widely expected to keep with the same numeric naming format: iOS 10. What will iOS 10 off feature-wise?
Siri is expected to feature heavily inside iOS 10’s update list. According to reports, Apple’s personal assistant will have more features, be able to perform more tasks and generally function a lot better, which is great news because at present Siri is bloody useless.
Sources claim Siri, once updated inside iOS 10, will be able to answer phone calls as well as explain to contacts why you cannot answer them. Alongside this Apple is expected to rollout bigger changes to Siri’s system that will make her more effective at answering complex questions and performing system-wide tasks.
Hiding Bloatware, Apparently
One of the chief bugbears of Apple users, pretty much across the board, is the fact that you cannot delete stock Apple apps — things like the Apple Watch companion app, utterly useless if you don’t have an Apple Watch, and stocks, which is also useless if you don’t watch the markets.
The good is Apple is making these less of a headache inside iOS 10, apparently. The bad news is you will still not be able to delete them. According to a report from Value Walk, Apple is going to make hiding these pesky apps a lot easier. The report does not say how this will work or whether it will work for ALL applications. I mean, where the hell are they going to go?
It’s an interesting rumour, but without any solid back-up explanation as to where these annoying apps will be stored it is probably best to err on the side of caution with this one. Still, it would be great if Apple did ditch the bloatware applications in iOS 10.
There haven’t been a ton of rumors yet, but one big one is that we could see a total revamp of the App Store, which has suffered from discovery issues for a long time. It’s also possible Apple may introduce paid search results for developers: yep, dev could pay to see their apps ranked higher in search. Besides the App Store revamp, iOS 10 could see the long-wanted ability to hide or remove Apple’s default apps and set third-party apps as the default, for example, email client.
Apple Watch: WatchOS 3 Likely To Appear
Apple will likely use WWDC to launch its third major update to its Apple Watch software.
“WWDC will likely see Apple announce the third major installment of the Apple Watch’s operating system, which is likely to include several new features and performance improvements,” reports The Mirror. “The company is rumoured to be considering support for third-party watch faces, which would give developers more freedom to customise the Watch’s home screen.”
It added: “Improvements to fitness tracking are also expected, allowing activity can be monitored more accurately and intuitively, as well as a slew of new health apps.”
Apple Music Revamp
Apple Music, now a year or so old, is also due an update and word on the street suggests WWDC 2016 will be the place that happens. How Apple will improve things remains to be seen, although making the design a little simpler would be a good place to start, as well as new features and better syncing.
Beats 1 Radio is apparently getting a big shot in the arm and Apple is also said to be keen on making key features — settings, syncing and download options — more intuitive. What will likely happen, though, is a bunch of musicians will come on stage and tell you Apple Music is the BEST and MUST use it.
I still wouldn’t be worried if I were Spotify.
Apple TV improvements
Apple has long been rumored to be working on a streaming TV service to take on Netflix and/or a live television service. It’s highly doubtful that we will see either of these things announced at WWDC, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see updates to tvOS, the operating system of the new Apple TV.
As far as improvements go, it’s possible Apple could further open up Apple TV to developers by allowing more gaming options. Currently all Apple TV games are required to support the Siri Remote, which limits what game makers can do. It’s possible Apple could allow game developers to make cambs that require a control pad. This would allow for much more feature-rich, console-level games.
Could WWDC 2016 see the launch of Apple’s LONG AWAITED VOD TV service? The thing that it will use to directly rival Netflix and Amazon Prime Video? The rumoured service, which still doesn’t have a name, will supposedly allow users to stream video content from around 25 channels on their iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes.
Apple is apparently having a right old time of it trying to secure licensing rights, however, so don’t go holding your breath on this front. Still, it’s a strong maybe.
Remember how I said Apple isn’t going to name the next iOS “iOS X”? That’s because Apple is expected to ditch the “X” branding from the Mac operating system and bring its name in line with Apple’s other OSes: tvOS, iOS, watchOS.
That’s right, OS X is changing to “MacOS”. What will MacOS feature? There aren’t a lot of rumors on that front either but one of its big features is expected to be Siri. Yes, after years and years, Siri is finally coming to the Mac. Other than that, expect some design tweaks (but nothing major).
New MacBook Pros
Though WWDC is primarily a software conference, Apple is expected to introduce new MacBook Pros. This is long overdue as the MacBook Pro hasn’t seen a design refresh since 2012. What to expect from the new MacBook Pros? It’s likely there will be a new 13in and 15in model, both featuring radically thinner designs—approaching the thinness of the new MacBook Apple updated in April. Other rumors suggest Apple could retire the 13in and 15in screen size and deliver bigger screens—14in and 16in—in no bigger a laptop body. Apple could achieve this by shrinking the bezels around the MacBook Pro screen.
It’s also expected the new MacBook Pros will feature multiple USB-C ports, perhaps a USB 3 port, and new Thunderbolt 3 ports. A far out rumor suggest Apple could even add Touch ID to the new MacBook Pros.
New Apple Pay features
Apple Pay is set to get a feature boost at WWDC as well. Apple is reportedly working on person-to-person payments for Apple Pay, so you could send you friend money for that dinner he bought you just by tapping your phones together. Apple Pay could also see improved support for loyalty points, support for ATM withdrawals, and expansion into new geographic territories.
Improved iCloud services
There are rumors that Apple is working on bringing all its iCloud services (sync and storage) in house in order to strengthen iCloud security and improve its reliability. If Apple does this, it’s likely uses won’t notice much on the surface, but developers could find that iCloud is much easier to work with and built in-app support for.