WWDC16: what to expect

Posted by kdow on Jun 12, 2016 5:28:14 PM

It’s that time of year again. WWDC is going to kick off soon in San Francisco’s Moscone centre. And for some lucky folks (including one 8bit!) it’ll mean a festival of developer-centric learning and launches. For others (like three 8bytes!) it’ll mean a bunch of parties, seeing the keynote in someone’s swanky office (we got to watch it in Twitter HQ last year) and attending sessions at AltConf.

Apple have already posted the schedule on developers.apple.com, and there’s some juicy stuff in there (note that the times shift for your local timezone. No, the design awards aren’t early in the morning!).

What to expect

Other than a bunch of morning’s with a sore head, there’s a lot of sessions to go to within the halls of WWDC. If you’re a developer, keeping yourself hydrated as you absorb as much information as possible is the best bet.

For non-developers and non-attendee’s, there are a few things that are likely to watch for:

  • Siri headed to macOS.
  • …OSX being re-branded as macOS.
  • The OS becoming more integrated. iOS, macOS, tvOS & watchOS morphing into unique experiences with one backend, largely tied together with iCloud.
  • A huge upgrade to Siri thanks to their acquisition of VocallQ. This could lead to Siri having an actual API, being pro-active and becoming a real assistant.
  • Speaking of Siri, there are strong rumours that Apple is working on a Siri speaker a-la Amazon’s Alexa home assistant.
  • iOS dark theme. This is left-of-field, but a new UI for iOS might be coming, as hinted at by the WWDC branding for this year.
  • Swift, Swift & more Swift. Huge updates & improvements.
  • Metal upgrades out the yahoo.
  • MapKit. This is hinted at thanks to Apple’s inclusion of an embedded map in the event announcement page.
  • Google Maps-style street view finally being launched.
  • Mac hardware upgrades. I’m not sure if we’ll see anything significant on the Air and base model lines, but if there was ever a place to launch something slick on the Pro lines, this is it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce new hardware a few weeks/months early, a-la the new(ish) Mac Pro.
  • New Thunderbolt Display. This might be wishful thinking, but it’s time for an upgrade. A GPU-powered one with 5K output would be nice, and if any company can figure that out it’s Apple.
  • Apple Music overhaul. It’s been a good year for Apple Music, but it’s time for the service to step it up a notch. Spotify still has key features that Apple Music should look at (namely proper use of listening data to fetch recommendations as well as proper social experiences with playlists).
  • iTunes update. Like the above, there needs to be a huge overhaul of iTunes. Make it a shop front & rip out Apple Music into it’s own app. Or just do something. My guess is that the pressure has mounted to breaking point, and Apple will have to do something big with iTunes.

Of course all of this is me guessing (granted, educated guesses) so we won’t know what they’ll do until the Keynote itself. And as usual, we can all play Keynote Bingo!

The 8bytes guys will be in SFO during WWDC, so look out for ’em. If you want to meet up for a Blue Bottle ☕, or some leave a note here or email Adam!