WWDC 2015 kicks off on Monday morning at 10 a.m. Pacific. TechnoBuffalo will be in the audience reporting live from the show, where we expect Apple to make several huge announcements. The company’s developer conference follows on the heels of Microsoft BUILD, where we learned more about Windows 10, and Google I/O 2015, where we were introduced to Android M and more.
Now it’s Apple’s turn.
What kind of discussions can we expect? Lots of software updates. Probably an introduction to iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 — including whatever name Apple chooses to follow Yosemite — and hopefully a discussion about other products Apple has been developing recently (which we’ll touch on in a bit.) There is not an indication that we’ll see any huge hardware reveals, though that has happened during the show in the past, so we won’t count it out entirely.
Let’s take a look at some of the topics we think Apple will touch on Monday.
We’ll almost certainly see iOS 9 introduced on Monday. Apple has always used WWDC to introduce the next version of iOS, so it would seem weird if it didn’t this year. Reports from 9to5Mac have suggested that Apple is going to focus on refinements in iOS 9, instead of making any major systemwide changes.
That doesn’t mean we’ll see a lack of features, though. The same news outlet pointed to a new feature named Proactive, which should work like Google Now and will provide contextual information, like your boarding pass when you need it. We hope Apple shares some of those brains with Siri, which is starting seem dumber and dumber compared to Google Now and Cortana.
iOS 9 is also supposed to usher in a brand-new version of Apple Maps, which also needed a makeover. Public transit is apparently a huge focus of Maps, but may be limited to a select number of cities at launch. Also, the new mobile operating system should support new features like Force Touch and split-screen multitasking on the still unannounced iPad Pro, though Apple may choose not to touch on either of those features until those products are ready for prime time.
OS X 10.11
We really don’t know what Apple is planning for OS X 10.11.
Again, rumors suggest that it will be focused on refinements. Last year, Apple introduced awesome features such as Continuity, Handoff and more, and we hope it continues to add in features that allow iOS devices and OS X to interact seamlessly. But, again, it’s WWDC, so Apple is probably going to announce the next version of OS X and will provide us with the name for the very first time.
This is one of those areas where we’re hoping for a few surprises.
Devices built with Apple’s HomeKit tools are now available, and we suspect Apple is going to talk about what users can do with those new smart home gadgets.
Siri integration would be a really great demo to show folks, since it’s officially supported, especially for those who may be building apps for new devices. We know that the Apple TV is going to serve as the central hub for Apple’s smart home — that much has already been confirmed by the company — but how will users control those gadgets from their phones? 9to5Mac suggests Apple will introduce a new app in iOS 9 called “Home” that will serve as a centralized location for managing all of those electronics, similar to the way Health provides information from HealthKit products.
Apple Watch tools
Apple’s WatchKit already allows developers to build Apple Watch versions of their iOS apps, though they still run off your iPhone and a lot of them aren’t very good.
The New York Times said recently that Apple is planning a new set of tools that will allow developers to gain deeper access into the Apple Watch’s sensors, like motion sensors and the heart rate monitor, to create better applications. One developer told the news outlet that Apple will finally “untie” hands of developers, allowing them to create new apps that should really wow end users.
That should also mean a native watch SDK, which one Apple executive recently promised during the Code Conference hosted by Re/code. Native apps should load faster, since they won’t operate on an attached iPhone.
Apple’s streaming music service
Apple should be prepared to finally relaunch Beats Music as its own premium streaming music service. That means a new competitor for Spotify, Rdio, Google Play Music and plenty of other offerings that are already on the market.
Apple is going to have to convince consumers why they should leave their current service for its platform, which is going to be tough. Google Play Music, for example, taps YouTube for music videos, while Spotify recently announced that it’s going to be adding a video component of its own. One rumor has suggested Apple will lure users with a more affordable monthly cost, though it’s unclear if it will be able to pull that off with its music industry contracts. Another rumor suggested Apple will try to attract users with famous artists, such as Drake, servicing as DJs.
This is going to be an interesting announcement to watch.
This is one of those tough ones. We really want Apple to update the Apple TV, which hasn’t been refreshed in something like 3 years.
Apple is apparently working on a new design to fit its streaming TV service, but a recent report from The New York Times suggests that the new hardware won’t make an appearance at the show. That suggests we won’t hear about the new remote, the integration with Siri, the new Apple TV app store or anything else.
Still, Apple may talk about the Apple TV as the center of the smart home with HomeKit, so maybe new hardware will at least be teased.
If the Apple TV doesn’t make an appearance at WWDC, we don’t think we’ll see new hardware.
Maybe there will be some refreshes to Apple’s iMac or Mac Pro — and we can’t help but wish for a MacBook Air with Retina display and Force Touch — but there’s no early indication anything is coming. The iPad Pro (concepts above) we’ve heard so much about, which is still just a rumor, is probably going to be saved for Apple’s typical October iPad event.
Who knows, though? There’s always a chance we’ll be surprised.