It is almost that time of year again. For Apple developers and devotees, it is their Christmas. On June 10 in San Francisco, Apple will kick off their annual WorldWide Developers Conference, which always promises a long keynote, plenty of people talking on stage and lots of slides showing units sold and money made.
There may even be some hardware and software.
So what can expect to see when Apple open the doors on June 10?
*Ive’s vision of iOS
Since Scott Forstall left the company last year in the wake of the Maps debacle, the future of iOS has passed over to Jonathan ‘Jony’ Ive, the Brit who has been designing Apple products since 1992. Basically, if you have at any point owned an Apple device, it’s extremely likely that Ive designed it. And what’s more, he is a very powerful figure in the company. Already the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, he now provides leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company. Want an idea at how much power and respect Ive holds? The late Steve Jobs summed it up in his biography;
“He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me. If I have a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony.”
So what will Ive come up with for iOS? Much talk has focused on his desire to introduce a flatter interface design, and move away from the skeuomorphic look that currently exists in the OS and official Apple apps. A recent leaked screenshot doesn’t do much to either back up or deny those rumours, but it does appear that we are going to get the biggest overhaul to Apple’s mobile OS since it launched in 2007.
Further social media integration is also expected in the new update. With the last two years bringing us Twitter and Facebook tie-ins, look for services such as Flickr and Vimeo to possibly be welcomed into the Apple integration group. A new Maps application, complete with car-controlling features, has also been mooted, based on patents filed by the company. Slightly more under-the-hood, CEO Tim Cook spoke recently about giving developers more access to the APIs, though there is no indication that slightly-more-welcoming approach is imminent, or more of a long-term plan.
A familiar piece of speculation that accompanies the lead into every WWDC, the talk every year is that Apple will unveil a new smartphone, and this year is no exception. However, it should be remembered that this is a developers’ conference, what is under the hood is the more pressing business at this event. Only when Apple have something special to show off, hardware-wise, do they take the cover off at WWDC. With that in mind, I do not expect to see a new phone, be it the 6 or 5S, debut next week.
Speculation is growing that Apple are looking into a music service, similar to a Spotify, Pandora or Rdio. Well that speculation has taken it to WWDC, and the possibility that Apple will choose that stage to announce their latest service. It already has an immediate link waiting to happen with full iTunes integration, indentifying users’ listening tastes. It could happen, but it would surely depend on lable agreements being in place before that announce can happen. However, you would think that Apple would prefer to unveil this with everyone on board, and not show off an ‘in-progress’ project. File this one under ‘maybe’.
File this under ‘extremely unlikely’. As with a new iPhone, Apple are far more likely to hold a separate event to unveil a new product category such as a ‘smartwatch’. Maybe give it joint billing with the iPhone 5S in a few months, but certainly not now.
As always, plenty of questions ahead of WWDC, lots of expectations. I expect iOS to be the headline-grabber coming out of the event, but this is Apple, and there is always the chance of a surprise.