A year ago, I wrote up my thoughts on WWDC 2014, after the event. This year, I thought I would share my thoughts leading up to the event, so that next weekend, I can complement this before-event write-up with an aftermath review.
The Apple developer conference (that is what the DC stands for in WWDC!) tends to attract mainstream media attention nowadays because of the sheer impact Apple and its products have on the world. The Keynote session, to be held this year starting Monday 8 June (early hours of Tuesday 9 June here in Melbourne/Australia), is heralded as the big event where Tim Cook will announce and show of Apple’s next big software developments.
Based on the cyclical nature of Apple’s software releases, iOS 9 will officially be announced, with likely launch scheduled for the typical US fall season / Australian spring time of September. Undoubtedly, the launch of the updated software will coincide with the release of the next iPhone iteration. No real surprises here.
One of the good things that the rumour mills have been reporting about iOS 9 is that the focus of this next major release includes support for the older hardware units of iPhones – namely the iPhone 4.
Within the family of iOS announcements, we have HomeKit which parallels the HealthKit API bundle that was released in 2014. With reports of just released products that leverage HomeKit, this market for home appliances should no doubt benefit from the news that Apple releases. When you consider how Apple’s software development ambitions also extend into CarPlay integrations, you can appreciate how wide the berth of iOS is becoming. True, it is still fairly early days, but Apple working with vendors across the spectrum of industries that iOS and these API kits means that Apple is expanding its lines of revenue across the whole Internet of Things landscape. Apple is one of the few corporations with the winning combination of a large customer base, vertical integration capabilities, manufacturing and operation excellence, plus their marketing prowess.
The increased availability of Apple Pay would also go a long way to helping expand this part of the iOS feature set. Apple Pay of course requires cooperation and integration with banks, so the wider availability of the NFC wireless payment technology via Apple Watch should help to increase the benefits for global banks to support the ecosystem. Personally, I am eager for Australia’s big four banks to add Apple Pay as a new payment method.
OS X 10.11
OS X has always been a part of the WWDC line-up. Mavericks was announced WWDC 2013 as was Yosemite at WWDC 2014. With Yosemite’s next update – 10.10.4 expected to be released soon, the next OS X version – 10.11 should also be announced at WWDC 2015, if the last two years’ cycle is a reliable indicator for making such predictions. For fun, I thought I would check out Mavericks and Yosemite (National Park) on Google Maps:
Now, let me take a stab in the dark – because I have no idea what the new OS X 10.11 name will be – and call it OS X Mojave! OK – this suggestion has just as much validity as a future name like these 8 other ones. There appears to be clues on the upcoming operating system given the Apple Watch makes use of a new font, and also given the trend of Apple – the operating system looks to integrate more of its code into Swift. Along with greater continuity and integration across the iOS – OS X divide using beachheads like HomeKit and HealthKit, it is likely that some of the announcements at WWDC 2015 will reveal more of the future roadmap of converging all of Apple’s operating systems.
Based on the initial rework of Apple Photo, we can look forward to the same treatment and update to other applications within the OS X family: Mail, Calendar, Notes, Contacts. These apps also would benefit greatly from a tighter alignment to the iCloud standard which Apple relaunched with Yosemite.
The main news item that is set to make WWDC 2015 stand out is likely to be the announcement of the next evolution in Apple’s music offering – which is their answer to Spotify, Jango and Pandora. Coupled with the massive 800M iTunes customer base, Apple Music looks set to become a serious contender in the music streaming arena. The underpinning contracts and deals with the record companies is key to Apple’s success, just as it has proven to be the undoing of the Apple TV content aspirations. Music streaming is one vulnerable area for Apple which they look set to strengthen next week.
WWDC tends to focus more on the internal software than hardware. Nonetheless, a smattering of updates and announcements on items such as the Apple TV could emerge. Previous concerns were raised about the state of software development at Apple, particularly their focus, or lack thereof, on the professional suite of tools. This harkens back to previous years when Apple announced that Aperture would be discontinued along with iPhoto in favour of a new Photo app. A number of the professional tools may be suffering from a lack of attention and major updates, so any news in this space would be a welcomed boost of confidence for professional Mac users.
WWDC 2015 will stream live from Cupertino on Monday 8 June which means it will be early on the morning of Tuesday here in Melbourne/Australia. Given the time difference, I have never watched it live. Instead, I plan to catch up on the big announcements a few hours later and watch the keynote podcast at some point during the week, which will help prepare me for next weekend’s Apple article.