In the days that lead up to the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), the Internet is usually ablaze with rumors. However, things are being a little quieter this year than usual, perhaps because Apple is keeping a relatively low-profile at present. CEO Tim Cook did come out fighting fairly recently, suggesting that Apple’s figures have been sensational overall, and the small blip they have suffered recently should not be exaggerated.
Regardless of this, the WWDC 2016 will still be one of the biggest events of the technology year. Apple regularly showcases its latest and greatest software products at the conference in San Francisco, so what does the consumer electronics giant have in store for this year’s edition?
WWDC 2016 star – iOS 10
The biggest software updates present at WWDC will unquestionably be the latest iOS 10 operating system. The iPhone remains the biggest revenue generator for the California-based company, and thus the latest version of the OS which powers the iPhone range is always hugely significant.
But this could be a particularly exciting upgrade to the base iOS structure, as it has been predicted that iOS 10 will include some pretty tasty updates. In particular, it is expected that Apple Music will get a significant overhaul in order to provide a more attractive interface. Various publications have also suggested that new 3D Touch gestures will be included, and that the scope of the system will be expanded further.
The smart home app Homekit is also expected to receive an upgrade, as Apple concentrates more on this potentially fertile future niche. Meanwhile, Apple Pay will be altered so that it works within an Internet browser, enabling users to tap into stored payment information in order to complete online transactions. It has also been rumored that it will be possible to send money to other Apple users via Apple Pay in the iOS 10 generation.
A tweaked user interface for the operating system along with updated notifications have also been reported, and there should be more than a cosmetic alteration to iOS 10 on reflection.
Apple is also expected to update the iMac operating system, although details on the tenth generation of this software are sketchy. Apple is expected to update some of the software included with its desktop machines, with Photos perhaps a particular focus.
But the most notable suggestion about the latest version of iOS is that Siri will finally make the jump from iPhones and iPads to MacBooks as part of this operating system. The personal assistant niche is becoming increasingly important and prominent, and it is thus predicted that Apple will want to place Siri at the heart of its desktop range in the future.
The Apple Watch has enjoyed something of a chequered history thus far, but Apple is still fully committed to the smartwatch concept. Since the Apple Watch was launched back in April last year, Apple has committed himself to numerous software updates in an attempt to make the smartwatch more usable.
Another such upgrade is expected at WWDC, however this could be the second full version of the watchOS operating system. watchOS 2 could launch in California ahead of the release of the Apple Watch 2.
The revamped Apple TV will also benefit from a software update at WWDC, although this will be a relatively low-profile aspect of the conference. Nonetheless, the Apple TV is considered a nifty gadget by many people, and thus it will be interesting to see what Apple comes up with in San Francisco.
Apple Watch 2
However, we shouldn’t expect the Apple Watch 2 to debut at the WWDC 2016, as analysts have generally suggested that hardware releases should be ruled out from this conference. This means that we will have to wait a little longer in order to lay our eyes on the second iteration of the Apple smartwatch, with the Apple Watch 2 expected to launch alongside the iPhone 7 in September.
Similarly, refreshes of the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro lines should not be expected at the WWDC conference, with Apple likely to announce any desktop releases later this year. The MacBook Pro has been linked with an OLED touch panel, but there will be no news of this update at the conference in California. It had been suggested in some quarters that Apple would unveil its standalone 5K monitor in San Francisco, but this now seems extremely unlikely.
Apple is always exploring other avenues, and one of the most interesting niches for the corporation in the coming years is electric car and in-car technology. The Apple Car is now another poorly kept Apple secret, with details of the preparations for the release of this electric car having already been linked to the media.
However, Apple is also keen to dominate the in-car technology marketplace, and other related industries are also seemingly of value for the California-based company. Thus, Apple recently invested $1 billion into a ride sharing company in China, and has been reportedly investigating the autonomous car industry very closely. It would be a long shot for any software related to Apple’s long-term car ambitions to appear at WWDC, but this possibility certainly cannot be ruled out completely.
Some sources have even suggested that Apple is currently investigating the possibility of manufacturing a virtual reality headset, or at least creating software capable of running on other VR devices. 2016 could be the year when virtual reality comes of age, with Sony releasing the PlayStation VR headset, and Oculus Rift already attracting a market to the technology.
Nonetheless, in terms of innovating, it seems likely that Sony will continue to focus attention on Siri for the time being, with the personal assistant needing to play catch-up to rival other voice activated assistants available to consumers.
This should be another intriguing WWDC event, and it will be widely available to stream through iTunes and on a dedicated Apple website.