Apple’s annual WWDC is about to kick off, and when we break it down there are two things you need to know:
- There will be no new iPhones, iPads, Watches, or MacBooks.
- This will be the most exciting, most revealing event Apple holds this year.
WWDC is when Apple shows us everything new you can do with those devices—its the company’s best guess as to how people are going to use their phones, tablets, and watches in the months and years to come. The announcements at WWDC matter if you own an Apple product, because you’ll see some or all of the new things soon. And they matter if you don’t, because no company changes the shape and course of the industry quite like Apple does.
Here is what we think you can expect:
A new version of iOS is the sure thing for WWDC. Presumably called iOS 9, it may look and feel a little different than past versions. It will borrow from the Watch in a few places, too: The font Apple built for the Watch, called San Francisco, is apparently being incorporated across iOS now. Force Touch, that press-harder gesture that shows hidden info on the Watch and the newest MacBooks, could be supported ahead of new iPhones and iPads in the fall. Don’t worry, though: Apple’s flat design isn’t going anywhere. The focus is on supporting older devices, and making the whole thing better.
Another key new feature of iOS 9 is apparently called Proactive, and could be Apple’s answer to Google Now. It will reportedly integrate your calendar, email, apps and more to offer contextual information. (Apple bought an app called Cue in 2013, and this may be exactly why.) It’ll apparently replace the Spotlight menu, and could become a sort of second homescreen on iOS.
OS X 10.11
Apple’s new Mac operating system, which appears destined to be called OS X 10.11, is also going to be announced at WWDC. Apple just completely changed the look of the platform, so don’t expect fireworks. Expect sparklers. The new OS is likely to include the same Maps improvements as iOS, and may also use the San Francisco font. According to one rumor that you should really hope is true, it’ll also come with an iOS-like Control Center, with easy controls for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, volume, and the like.
Apple is the most important company in music. Period. And it’s about to launch a brand-new service to compete with Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, Google Music, YouTube Music Key, Tidal, Sirius, iHeartRadio, and all the other places you go for your Metal fix. It’s going to be a combination of on-demand streaming music, and streaming radio, for $10 a month. Apple’s been hiring DJs and taking cues from Beats Music as it takes a curated approach to iTunes Radio, giving people something awesome and new to listen to. Rumor has it, Drake and Pharrell might be among the DJs, along with new Apple employees like Zane Lowe.
The hardest thing to know about WWDC is what’s going to happen to the Apple TV. What it’s working on is fairly clear: Apple is building a new version of its set-top box that has more apps, Siri integration, and a subscription service for streaming live TV. There’s even a new remote in the works. We’re probably not going to see any of that at WWDC this year, though. Inking streaming deals has apparently been difficult, and one recent report says the hardware just flat-out isn’t ready. It’s definitely coming, but it’s not coming next week.
You can’t even buy the Apple Watch in stores yet (though that could change at WWDC) but it’s going to get its first real software update. We’re hearing there’s a Find My Watch feature coming, along with some updates to the security of the device itself. Apple may be working to add back some of the fitness features it had to drop at the last minute, and is almost certainly going to give developers tools to build apps that run natively on your watch and don’t need your phone to work. That’s going to be big.
It all starts at 10AM on Monday, June 8th. We’ll be there covering it live, and you’re not going to want to miss this.