Apple WWDC 2016 preview: what to expect (and not to expect)
It’s one thing to wish for a major imminent VR breakthrough from the world’s most profitable tech company, but it’s an entirely different kettle of fish to realistically expect Apple’s Daydream answer at the 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference next week.
Let’s face it, it’s not going to happen. Not so soon, at least, and not at an event described as a “snoozefest” by our own Adam Doud. Of course, it’s even less likely we’ll be hearing a single word on iPhone, iPad or Mac hardware upgrades at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium keynote on Monday, at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern.
Instead, based on word around the water cooler, history and common sense, this software-centric forum will be all about the following:
You need a new iPhone to release a revised version of the second most popular mobile operating system out and about, but the few months left until ramping up 7 production are unlikely to stop Cupertino from demoing the platform’s evolution.
Is that evolution or revolution? Hardcore iFans are certainly rooting for the latter, after build 9 focused more on under-the-hood optimizations and battery improvements than killer new features.
In lack of specific gossip and visual leaks, however, we’ll keep our expectations relatively low. Minor UI tweaks, bug fixes, typical claims of performance enhancements across the board, plus bigger changes to Apple Music and Siri we’d like to tackle separately.
Apple Music 2.0
Spotify’s arch-rival came a long way since its June 2015 inception, but not necessarily aesthetically. The audio streaming service looks today pretty much exactly as it did a year ago, still requiring a lot of interface-simplifying work.
Fortunately, that’s precisely what Apple’s engineers and designers are rumored to have had in their pipeline for months. We should get to check out the result of their efforts in a few days ahead of a wide early fall rollout. Highlights reportedly include emphasis on personalized “For You” track choices, album artwork, and a minimalist black-and-white design.
Hailed by many as a game-changer back in 2011, the iOS-exclusive personal assistant has tougher and tougher competition in the continuously evolving Cortana and Google Now-derived Google Assistant. To step things up and retain its edge, Siri might finally spread its wings to OS X computers, and more importantly yet, various third-party mobile apps and services.
How would you like to order an Uber strictly with your voice? Maybe get some pizza quickly and hands-free? Play music across different streaming clients? Those are all things Amazon’s Alexa can effortlessly do, and soon enough, your iPhone will probably follow suit.
If Android Wear can do so much stuff sans smartphone synchronization these days, why couldn’t the Apple Watch? Ideally, both the first-gen and the no doubt looming sequel, but we’d also settle for just a standalone-operating 2nd edition.
Sadly, as we mentioned already, WWDC is historically a software-only event, and Apple rarely breaks with tradition unannounced. In other words, it’s possible we’ll hear hints dropped on an iPhone-separate Apple Watch 2, but it’s unlikely we’ll see the bad boy in the flesh.
While the iOS-supporting digital wallet solution doesn’t have Magnetic Secure Transmission Technology on the way, thus playing second fiddle still to Samsung Pay in terms of convenience, it should expand to enough countries and banks to offset that disadvantage.
Apple Pay could soon gain one-of-a-kind ATM capabilities as well, plus person-to-person fund transfer functionality.
Overall, even if the iPhone 7 and iPad Pro 2016 aren’t coming, you have loads of reasons to stay tuned to Pocketnow between June 13 and 17 for the best WWDC 2016 coverage on the web.