Apple’s WWDC always brings us lots of great stuff, and this should be no different. With talk of a new streaming service, connected home and other tidbits of info circulating, next week may be really special.
No new hardware? No problem.
The real rub with Apple TV lies in the experience, and we’re hearing Apple is diligently trying to bring us TV sans-cable, much like we have with Sling TV. Apple reportedly is having trouble striking deals, so there could be no new over-the-top TV service at WWDC.
There could still be Apple TV news, though. Depending on what Apple has in mind for its new TV service, they may open up an SDK for developers. Apple TV also figures prominently into HomeKit, which leads us to our next topic.
Apple’s framework for your connected home is so close we can almost use it. Announced at WWDC 2014, HomeKit has not yet found its way to our actual homes.
Part of the delay comes from a lack of hardware, which needs to pass through Apple’s MFi program before it can work with HomeKit. The first devices have just started hitting stores — a strong indication the program is taking shape.
But how will we control our connected homes? A new app, of course!
There’s no indication we’ll be able to download iOS 9 on Monday, but we’re probably going to hear about it. If anything, iOS 8.4 will be made available, which is said to have one killer feature (we’ll get there in a minute).
Whenever Apple makes iOS 9 available (which could be this Fall with new iPhone hardware), we’re likely to see a “Home” app that will allow you to interact with the HomeKit devices scattered about your house. As the Health app is your interaction with HealthKit, so will the Home app be for the HomeKit framework.
Elsewhere in iOS 9, we’re hearing Siri will get a lot handier. All reports indicate Siri is going to end up more like Google Now with a new feature called Proactive, which has card-based notifications like Google Now.
Expect Apple to launch Proactive with core services like email and calendar, but there could be an API for developers to tap into it as well.
There are also undercurrents that iOS 9 could be a major bug-fix release. That sounds a bit vanilla, but imagine it, iOS devotees — a nearly bug-free iPhone!
What better place to announce your new system font than at WWDC — in San Francisco?
Designed for Apple Watch, the San Francisco font is widely expected to catch on elsewhere in Apple’s ecosystem. By elsewhere, we mean everywhere. It’s believed Apple will make San Francisco the default font across platforms, a rumor bolstered by the font’s ability to scale almost endlessly.
Apple’s desktop operating system — like its mobile OS — just went through a pretty significant overhaul. Apple will probably drop OS X 10.11 on us, which could have the San Francisco font switched on by default (we hope so).
We’re also hearing Apple may have a new control center for OS X, which could be a lot like the iOS version. Not surprising if it’s true; Apple recently made Spotlight a bit more like its mobile counterpart.
That cool new iOS 8.4 feature we teased a minute ago? It’s streaming music from Apple, and we just can’t wait for it.
Apple isn’t discussing its new streaming service just yet, but all indications are that we’ll get it at WWDC. A revamped Music app in the iOS 8.4 beta looks as though it’s just begging for streaming to be activated.
The real winning formula is successfully merging your purchased content with streaming subscriptions, much like Google Play Music has done. With so many having purchased iTunes content already, this feature is almost a sure thing for Apple’s new streaming service.
What isn’t so definite is whether Apple will make this streaming service available next week. Apple is rumored to be diligently negotiating with record labels about streaming rights, which could hinder release of the service — but we still expect to hear about it.
Announced at WWDC 2014, Swift has taken Apple development by storm. And hey, like it or not — Swift is the future.
An impressive update to version 1.2 made Swift easier to use (even though it was already awesome), but the new language isn’t perfect.
We’d like to see Swift APIs for core Apple services. If Apple is serious about Swift catching on quickly, developers need good APIs. The Objective C API workarounds… work… but direct integration is needed.
The OS X framework needs help. It’s old, and developers aren’t just bonking their heads on the glass ceiling of limitations — they’re shoved up against it and suffocating.
Expect Apple to make changes for OS X development — big ones. The desktop isn’t dead, but the framework that powers it along might as well be. While I would personally like to see Apple go all-in with Swift for OS X, I’d settle for new framework tools (that will work when Apple makes the move to Swift).
In OS X 10.10.3, a UXKit framework exists, and the API for it is very close to UIKit for iOS. It’s already in use with Photos — you know, Apple’s sexy new photo management tool that exists on iOS and OS X. Draw your conclusions now, friends.
While Apple won’t be merging OS X and iOS, there will be some natural crossover with apps and services. Photos is probably a proof of concept that UXKit works well, but the framework is still private. Apple could easily open it up along with some other awesome new tools.
The rest of it
Apple doesn’t let us rest during WWDC. Every time someone takes the stage, it’s typically to announce something pretty great.
Apple Pay is believed to get some type of loyalty program, possibly a points system for cards or purchases at select retailers. That could lead to a new-look Passbook, too.
Apple Maps may get transit directions, and some 3D effects. Perpetually in catch-up mode with Google Maps, these are less exciting features, and likely won’t get much (if any) stage time.
There’s also been talk the respective app portals could see an overhaul, possibly with search. Apple recently gave developers analytics tools, and a more responsive search bar would go a long way.
Just remember Apple always has surprises. Nobody really knew how cool Mail, Continuity or Spotlight would be last year. The “Epicenter of change” theme suggests Apple has more in the pipeline than we realize, and that’s awesome.