What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2016 keynote

WWDC’s big keynote is just around the corner and a number of announcements are set to go down during Apple’s annual developer conference this year.

We’ll likely see new versions of OS X, iOS 10, watchOS 2, tvOS, and possibly even an Amazon Alexa-like voice-activated smart home, all powered by Siri. It’s also possible Apple will finally reveal a complete refresh of its Mac line, particularly the aging MacBook Air, though recent reports indicate that won’t happen until later this year.

I’ll be on the ground at WWDC next week in San Francisco to bring you all the news directly from the keynote and the rest of the conference.

Below is everything we expect to see go down at Apple’s big developer keynote on June 13th at 1 p.m. E.T./10 a.m. P.T.

Siri is poised to be set free

All signs point to Siri being the focus of Apple’s WWDC this year, with the impending launch of the Apple’s voice-activated assistant on the Mac, and the opening up of a variety of related APIs to third-party developers.

It’s unclear if Apple plans to reveal an Amazon Echo-like standalone voice-activated assistant, or if Siri will still be tied to the company’s pre-existing products. There’s also a possibility we could get a completely new version of the Apple TV with an always-on voice-activated Siri built directly into the set-top box.

Finally, a MacBook refresh

While early reports indicated Apple planned to unveil a complete refresh of its MacBook line at WWDC, including the aging MacBook Air, it looks like that may no longer be the case. Over the last number of years, Apple has shifted the focus of WWDC, making it more of the software event it was always meant to be, and it looks like that will continue this year.

So if you’ve been eagerly anticipating a MacBook refresh (like I have), you’ll have to wait a little longer. When new MacBook devices do arrive, however, they’ll likely feature everything from Apple’s 2015 and 2016 MacBook, including its fancy butterfly keyboard and slimmer form factor, but hopefully a more powerful processor, larger screen and improved battery life, as well.

tvOS will get a much-needed update

Surprisingly, while we know tvOS is poised to get an update reveal at WWDC, we know very little about what the new software will actually add to Apple’s 4th Generation Apple TV.

Rumours indicate it’s possible the 4th Gen Apple TV will get full-fledged Siri support. More likely, Apple will focus on refining tvOS’ current user interface. Given the lack of developer support for tvOS since its launch, it’s also likely Apple will emphasis to developers why they should create original software and port existing apps to its set-top box platform.

Apple Music’s user interface to be revamped

It’s been one year since Apple Music’s initial launch and most user’s number one complaint about the streaming music platform is its unintuitive user interface. Various notable Apple-focused blogs, including 9to5 Mac, have reported that Apple Music will likely shift to a black-and-white UI in order to place a greater emphasis on album art.

The company is also expected to remove Apple Music’s Connect section, which allows subscribers to follow musicians and view their shared music and status updates. Rumours indicate Apple likely plans to push updates to artist’s individual pages. Additionally, Apple Music’s “For You” section will be simplified and new 3D Touch shortcut previews will be added to the platform, as well.

iOS 10 might feature a dark mode and hideable stock apps

By Rose Behar

There area lot of rumours circulating on the iOS 10 front.

Mark Gurman, the prolific young Apple leakster headed to Bloomberg, said the next iteration of iOS will feature a number of design tweaks, including updated icons and more rounded edges and colours.

While guesting on The Jay & Farhad Show, Gurman also stated that Apple’s Photos app will get new, more advanced editing features, which would allow users to annotate and draw on top of their pictures. He also hinted Apple may finally add an option to clear all iOS notifications at once. 

The WWDC app and site also suggest a dark mode is coming to iOS 10. Apple has a history of hiding “easter eggs” in its WWDC app and site styling choices before. For instance, when iOS 7 was released with its “flat” theme, the resources shared that style. The next year, they were coded using Swift.

Of course, one of the most anticipated changes to iOS is the ability to hide unwanted stock apps. Metadata found in Apple’s iPhone apps has led many to believe they will soon be allowed to be hidden, as well as hints from a Tim Cook interview in September 2015.

Another new rumour from MacDailyNews suggests that Apple “will announce that iMessage encrypted text messaging is coming to Android users at WWDC next Monday.”

While some news outlets expected to see an announcement regarding the App Store at WWDC, Apple preemptively released substantial changes on that front on June 8th, so it isn’t likely we’ll see anything more.

OS X 10.12 (or macOS?) gets a much-needed update

Apple can’t seem to keep the lid on the fact that OSX will soon be known as macOS. On June 9, the company referred to “macOS” on a page regarding the App Store’s new revenue sharing policies, which were just announced. The company purportedly made the same slip up with an Earth Day page earlier this year. So, while nothing’s confirmed, we can be fairly confident that OS X will be put out of use in favour of macOS, which matches the rest of the lineup (watchOS, tvOS, iOS).

As for software updates, Siri is the big thing to watch here. Many expect the voice recognition tool to come to Mac.

Again on The Jay & Farhad Show, Gurman noted that OS X will likely get some of the new advanced editing features that he expects will be coming to the iOS Photos app.

Some are also expecting more continuity features between the Mac and iPhone, including an auto-unlock feature that would allow the touch ID of an iPhone to unlock a nearby Mac.

This theory could also extend to the rumour that Apple Pay will get integration in to web browsers. Perhaps payments could be confirmed through touch ID as well.

watchOS 2.0 is on the way

While there are no firm rumours about what to expect from a new watchOS, Apple will certainly be releasing some news on one of its youngest platforms.

At just over one year old, there’s still lots to refine. Some of the areas of refinement could include Siri improvements and design tweaks to match a new look for iOS, should it come.

Apple Pay expands

There are two main rumours circulating about Apple Pay, and both are equally exciting. The first, reported on by Recode, would be a possible integration in to the Safari web browser. There isn’t much consensus on whether this refers only to mobile web browsing sessions, or to web browsing in general, but either option would significantly streamline the process of paying for items online.

The other rumour, stemming from a Wall Street Journal report in November 2015, is that Apple may debut person-to-person payments, potentially through iMessage, positioning the messaging app against services like Venmo. Pair that with a potential deployment to Android, and iMessage could be a serious contender as mobile messaging platform. Of course, nothing is certain until next week.

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