No matter what you read, it’s entirely based on speculation and a gut feeling and it’s no different for us here at EFTM. Here in San Jose California the developer community from around the world has assembled and now await the Keynote address from Apple CEO Tim Cook and his executives in less than 24 hours.
It all kicks off at around 3am Sydney time back home in Australia – 10am here in San Jose and it should be wrapped up by 5am – though last year’s event did drag on with a long list of announcements.
So, here’s a few ideas of what we might see announced at WWDC.
The most important announcements of the day will relate to the mobile Operating System iOS which runs on iPhones and iPads around the world. The thousands of developers in attendance will be focussed on what’s new for them to include in their apps.
We expect to see another big demo of ARKit – Apple’s Augmented Reality system for developers. This was impressive in 2017, but AR itself still hasn’t hit mainstream so further enhancements and support from Apple will be welcomed.
Perhaps the most interesting possible inclusion in iOS is “Digital Health“. An area of focus for many tech companies and even Apple’s largest shareholders – the idea of helping users switch off from their screens.
Aimed at kids no doubt, there’s benefits here for all ages with the possibility of tools to track the time you spend on certain apps, as well as possibly limiting those apps and creating a better “night time” routine for the device.
No matter what they do, there’s always more to do. There’s no rumours of enhanced parental controls, yet it’s a key area of potential for Apple. On both phones, iPods and iPads there’s more that can be done to give parents control and awareness of their kids screen time.
In a similar way to Apple’s “Classroom” deployment, we’d love to see parental oversight of Family linked devices, but haven’t seen any rumours indicating that might come this year.
On the Mac
While Mac changes are often incremental, and no where near as mainstream as the mobile ones – there’s strong talk that iOS apps might be able to run on Macs soon. This would mean including iOS apps compatible and possibly approved apps onto the desktop operating system.
This might be fun for some game developers, but there’s also some real advantages for developers of utility apps too.
Enhancements to Siri are something Apple really do need to focus on. The voice assistant is almost seven years old, the oldest among its peers (Google, Alexa, Bixby) yet falling to third place in the usefullness stakes.
Siri needs to learn specific voices – with the move into the home with HomePod there needs to be a process of knowing who’s talking to it not just what’s being said.
Sure the music knowledge is great, but general knowledge must improved to bring Siri back to the top of the voice assistant race – with Google talking about computer driven phone calls, Apple must step up the Artificial Intelligence space – and fast.
Hardware & Devices
There’s no guarantee, but it would be strange to just talk software – as interesting as even all of the above is, it’s not big news for the general population. So what might come out?
Macbook Air? At $1,499 the MacBook Air is the cheapest Mac you can get – but is it cheap enough? Or perhaps more importantly, is it too old? The look, the screen, the whole setup is now aged, so an update to the entry-level MacBook is critical – WWDC seems a great time to do it.
An updated iPhone SE seems a safe bet to me. At $549 it’s now two years old. I don’t imagine a lower price, but the inside specifications and the camera are in desperate need of an update.
There are also reports that the next iPhone SE (iPhone SE 2) might feature an advanced screen – similar in appearance to the iPhone X with a Notch, which itself would then indicate strongly that the entire lineup would move that way in September. This is a long shot, but worth keeping an eye on.
Trevor Long travelled to San Jose as a guest of Apple Australia.