Following on from Apple’s educational event in March, WWDC is now upon us, but what should we expect to see announced at the event this year?
A yearly update to iOS is a given at this point, with iOS 12 focusing on stability, reliability and performance.
ARKit already had an update to version 1.5 mid OS cycle in iOS 11.3, so I would expect ARKit to hit version 2.0 at WWDC, with support for object permanence and multi devices.
SiriKit is also set to get some additional domains, but less be honest it needs more of an overhaul than an update
Apple are also set to open up NFC on iOS, which will enable functionality such as using an iPhone or Apple Watch to open NFC door locks in offices and hotels.
Google announced a range of features under “Digital Wellbeing” banner at IO, in regards to curbing smart phone addiction, and it makes sense for Apple to follow suit, even if it is just to limit time spent in apps via using parental controls.
Notifications are in desperate need of an overhaul as they can easily become overwhelming, I would like to see additional controls for filtering notifications and having them automatically group into threads.
Animoji … remember them? I would expect Apple to add some more Animoji’s and add support for them in realtime using FaceTime.
tvOS will also get an update, but I think it will just be coming along for the ride feature wise with iOS.
watchOS will continue to gain more features in the health and fitness area, such as additional workouts and data tracking.
Always on watch faces sounds like an obvious candidate but I imagine Apple will tie this with a hardware revision.
The HomePod has to get smarter, it is as simple as that. Support for more Siri domains is an obvious improvement, but I would like to see support for multiple users this year too, and with stereo support shipping this week that is the next obvious feature to tick off the list.
As with iOS, macOS is also going to receive its annual update at WWDC, again with a focus on stability, reliability and performance. Unlike iOS, macOS has had a number of security issues during last year, so even if it is not alluded too during the keynote, you could imagine security has also got some attention internally in the last 12 months.
Initial the rumours pointed to a unified UI library between iOS and macOS, code named project “marzipan”, but the rumour mill has thrown cold water on this happening this year.
When it does arrive it will be interesting if it is just a native shim around the iOS Simulator, with additional support for Trackpad/Mouse and the Menu Bar. Another approach would be to release UXKit which Apple use internally for Photos on macOS, to give AppKit UI classes the same API as their UIKit Counterparts. The third approach, and the least likely to see this year is to create a new UI Framework, that not only unifies iOS and macOS (possibly watchOS too) but behaves better with Swift’s type safety and optional handling.
The annual rumoured dark mode is also an obvious candidate to see the light of day this year, along with bringing Apple News back to the Mac.
Now that the entire iPad lineup supports the Apple Pencil, Apple will want to increase the differentiation between the iPad Pro and iPad lines.
The iPad Pro is set to get its regular performance bump, in addition to a smaller bezel and Face ID. The bigger question is if the iPad Pro will bed updated at WWDC or along side the iPhone in September.
I would also like to see a bigger 15 inch iPad Pro, but I won’t hold my breath on that one!
The MacBook Pro is set to receive a processor update, that will see a 6 core option in the 15 inch model and 4 core processor option in the 13 inch model. In addition to this one would hope that the MacBook Pro’s keyboard receives an update that solves its reliability issues that seem to be becoming more and more prevalent.
I personally thought this was coming app the last event, but surely at WWDC Apple will announce the price and availability of AirPower alongside the compatible AirPods case.