While it seems like WWDC 2016 only ended a few months ago, the greatest time of year for Apple fans has returned. From June 5th to the 9th, the tech giant’s annual World Wide Developer Conference will go down, this time in San Jose rather than San Francisco.
We’re expecting to see a to see a lot at WWDC this year, including a dedicated Siri Speaker and new versions of Apple’s various operating systems: iOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS.
In an interesting twist, it’s also likely that we’ll see a 12-inch MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro and 15-inch MacBook Pro, all with upgraded internal hardware, at this year’s show, indicating that Apple could be moving to a faster upgrade cycle when it comes to its desktop and laptop devices.
Apple’s keynote is set to be livestreamed on June 5th at 1pm ET/10am PT.
The most significant rumours heading into this year’s WWDC suggest that that Apple is working on a dedicated Siri device designed to compete with Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.
Rumours suggest that this standalone voice-activated assistant will feature better sound quality when compared to its competitors and that the device will be powered by Beats’ technology. The still unannounced Siri Speaker will also reportedly place an emphasis on controlling HomeKit supported IoT products, and will include direct integration with Apple’s Home app.
The device, however, likely won’t launch until later this year, with Apple utilizing WWDC 2017 as an opportunity to present the product to developers in order to gather additional third-party app support for Siri.
In a shift from how the Cupertino, California company typically operates, it’s likely Apple will show off an updated 12-inch MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro and 15-inch MacBook Pro, all with improved internal hardware, at this year’s WWDC.
Specifically, the 12-inch MacBook and Apple’s new USB-C MacBook Pro devices will be updated to feature Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors. Reports also indicate that Apple could be considering reviving the fan favourite MacBook Air with improved internal hardware, though this is unlikely given other rumours indicate the company is abandoning the popular laptop.
In terms of the MacBook Pro updates, these rumours stem from the fact that the shipping date of the 15-inch MacBook Pro has slipped considerably leading into Apple’s WWDC keynote. Strangely, the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s shipping date has not been pushed back yet.
10.5-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2
Apple is reportedly planning to add a 10.5-inch iPad Pro to its lineup of tablets this year. With slimmer bezels, Apple is able to cram a 10.5-inch display in a tablet body that’s not much larger than its 9.7-inch iPad.
Leaked case images indicate that the 10.5-inch iPad is marginally taller and slightly wider than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro will join the 9.7-inch and massive 12.9-inch model.
It’s also possible Apple could be preparing to reveal the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2, an upgraded version of the original tablet with a newer processor and other spec bumps, along with an enhanced Apple Pencil 2 that features the ability to annotate content across a variety of iOS apps, including Mail, Messages, Safari and more.
iMac, Mac Mini and Apple TV
At a private press briefing in April 2017, Apple revealed that it’s working on a new version of the iMac and uncharacteristically stated that it believes the Mac Pro was a misstep. It’s likely that the company will use WWDC as an opportunity to show off the upcoming all-in-one iMac device. The Mac Mini, which seems to have been forgotten by Apple to some extent despite being a fan favourite, could also get a spec bump and a price cut, according to some rumours.
The Apple TV, which was last updated in September of 2015, will likely get a new 4K-capable iteration and various tvOS features that are part of the platform’s still U.S.-exclusive TV app.
Finally, despite criticism from many, Apple is staying the course when it comes to the MacBook Pro’s OLED Touch Bar and could be preparing to release a dedicated wireless keyboard that features the company’s sometimes useful customizable function bar.
As always, it’s likely that Apple will reveal the next version of its mobile iPad and iPhone operating system at its annual developer conference.
While little has leaked about iOS 11 so far, rumours point to a variety of updates to Siri, including making the voice-activated assistant sound more natural as well as additional machine learning and artificial intelligence features, perhaps in preparation for the eventual release of the still unannounced ‘Siri Speaker.’
Other rumours indicate that an official Dark Mode could be coming iOS 11 as well.
With desktop and laptop devices becoming less of a priority for Apple over the last few years, many are hoping that macOS 10.12 will be a significant overhaul of the once dominant operating system.
The new version of macOS’ name is still unknown, though the rumour mill is leaning towards Mojave, Malibu or possibly another famous location that starts with M. It’s unlikely, however, that macOS 10.13 will end up being the massive shift some are hoping for.
The release of watchOS 3 was arguably the best move Apple has made for the wearable since its initial launch, giving developers significantly more control over the types of apps they can create for the smartwatch.
watchOS 4 is expected to be an extension of this direction, though with a greater emphasis on fitness features. Speculation points to more Workout app features such as skiing and snowboarding, as well as the possibility of glucose monitoring, possibly in preparing for a version of the Apple Watch designed with diabetics in mind.
While Apple’s 4th Generation Apple TV initially seemed impressive at launch, the set-top box so far has not lived up to its potential, especially in the gaming space. Other set-top boxes from manufacturers like Roku and Google’s various Android TV partners have also arguably caught up with the once dominant streaming box.
Surprisingly, few rumours have surfaced regarding tvOS 11, though a full-fledged 4K-capable Apple TV could be in the works. We will, however, definitely get a glimpse of Apple’s original content, including Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke.