It’s that time of year again as Apple’s WWDC conference is upon us, when the technology giant lays out all its software plans for the coming year.
All the usual updates are expected this year again – iOS and OS X should both get new versions and there will be updates for the Apple TV and Apple Watch too.
There’s also rumours of new hardware and even a renaming on the cards too. Here’s a run through of everything to keep an eye out for.
The software that powers the iPhone and iPad is traditionally updated at WWDC and this year will be no different. While we’re not expecting a major overhaul of the software there are suggestions that a new dark mode for better low light visuals could be part of the software, as could a new Home app – set to be a hub for any and all of your smart home products.
This could be the new name for OS X, the software that powers Apple’s Macbooks and desktops – part of a rebrand to bring the names of all Apple’s lines a little closer together.
We’re expecting Siri to come to desktop as part of this update too, as part of a wider update of the voice-activated personal assistant.
Yet it won’t just be on desktop where Siri expands according to the rumour mill ahead of WWDC. They’re expecting to see Apple announce wider integration for Siri into third-party apps, so you’ll be able to use it for a wider range of features. If this does happen, expect there to be some new partners onstage to demo how Siri can now be used.
The thinking behind a big Siri update is believed to be part of Apple’s response to the rise of artificial intelligence from rivals, including Google and Facebook, in recent months. While Google is beefing up the intelligence of Google Now and Search by improving its machine learning, Facebook is placing bots into Messenger that can understand human requests and conversations and provide relevant suggestions.
Apple is now expected to respond.
iMessage for Android
Big news for any families who want to have group chats but are a mixed-platform house, there are rumours that suggest iMessage is going to get its very own Android app. That would mean the same instant chat capabilities that iPhone users currently enjoy with each other being extended to those on Android, as Apple looks to head off the growing dominance of WhatsApp.
Launched at WWDC last year to much excitement (partly thanks to an appearance by Drake), Apple Music has on the whole had a very good first year. It’s already got over 10 million paying subscribers and has had plenty of exclusives along the way too.
But issues remain with the interface – some say it’s too confusing, that Connect is too difficult to use and therefore not worthwhile, and the app’s general layout needs some work.
So that is exactly what Apple is expected to do during WWDC this year, roll out a revamp of the app that fixes the complaints they’ve had from users.
Not normally a big event for hardware, this year’s WWDC could also see some shiny new MacBooks rolled out – namely new versions of the powerful Pro and the very thin Air.
Expect to see both in either gold or rose gold as is the trend these days, possibly Force Touch and Siri-integration too as the new laptops will sit alongside the MacBook that was reintroduced last year.