WWDC 2014: The Definitive List of What To Expect From Apple




The WWDC 2014 keynote is mere hours away, when Tim Cook and Co. will take the stage for the first event of 2014. The WWDC keynote is always a trend setter for the rest of the year, as it’s a software event that can revitalize old devices, but more importantly tantalize new ones. With that in mind, here’s the Apple’N’Apps definitive list of what to expect from Apple for WWDC 2014. Again, these are expectations, rather than our wishlist.

iOS 8:

It’s obvious that iOS 8 is coming, but what exactly does that entail? The major emphasis will be enhancements to Apple’s existing services. iOS 7 focused on overhauling the visual interface, so now it’s time for Apple to switch from design to functionality. The first thing to expect is improvements to the backend of Siri to improve the speed in handling various requests. Apple is likely to introduce a few major new functions with deals in place, similar to the ones with Yelp, Yahoo Sports, and OpenTable. The specifics are anyone’s guess, but don’t get your hopes up for completely third party access for any developer to tap into Siri.
healthbook-leaked
Another area of focus will be Maps, which launched as part of iOS 6 to much criticism, especially internationally. Apple has been working on the backend for the past two years, as well as making a number of acquisitions tied to Maps. We should see the fruits of their labor as part of iOS 8 beginning with an emphasis on improved map data. You should also expect to see public transit directions built right in, based on Apple acquiring HopStop, and Embark. Taking it a step further, also expect greater points of interest data with improved accuracy, and details.

In terms of brand new features, Apple will have a major emphasis on health & fitness as part of iOS 8. The main feature will be a new “Healthbook”app on the home screen, which acts similar to Passbook, but for Health data. Apple’s health initiate is likely to take advantage of the M7 co-processor for tracking functions from the iPhone itself. It will also set the stage for a potential iWatch for even greater tracking information, but it will still be able to offer some insights for those that don’t get an iWatch.

Those are the three main areas to expect, but we also expect to see some refinements applied to Control Center & Notification Center. One feature that is in OS X Mavericks, and would make sense on iOS is interactive notifications, allowing you to for instance reply to a message notification without leaving the app you’re using. We also expect some love given to the App Store, since it’s a developer’s conference, and discovery is at the front of everyone’s minds. Also, the App Store is on pace to be Apple’s most prolific digital store by year’s end. Also, expect Shazam integration, whether it’s default in the music app, or part of Siri.
Interactive Notifications Center
The iPad should also be getting it’s own iOS 8 specific feature in the form of split-screen multitasking. It will only be available on the iPad Air at the moment, but will allow two apps to run side by side. Apple may not demo it at WWDC, as they’re still fine tuning the feature, but it should be a part of iOS 8. There will likely be a couple of other features tied into improving existing functionality, but we’re not quite sure on that. Also, expect a whole home initiative from Apple that is as simple as a “Made for iOS” branding on new compatible tech around the house. It’s also worth noting that the iOS 8 Beta one should be available to developers by the end of the keynote.

In case you’re wondering, we likely won’t see the immediate impact of the Beats acquisition, as it was just completed last week, and not ready for iOS 8.

OS X 10.10

osx_ios7_desktop
Apple will probably lead off the event with OS X 10.10 to show off some Mac stuff as everyone anxiously anticipates iOS 8. The most obvious aspect is the name, which is in all likelihood OS X Yosemite, as a follow-up to Mavericks, if the banners up at Moscone Center are any indication. In terms of actual features, it seems this is the year that Apple changes up the look, and feel of the Mac. We can expect an iOS 7 inspired design methodology applied to OS X, but not to the extent of iOS 7. There will be more subtle changes in the use of translucency, distinct coloring, and less real world mimicking design. It will be a much cleaner desktop environment, and we’re interested to see how far Apple goes in the design ideas. It’s worth noting that Apple is going to keep the Mac as a desktop environment designed for mouse/trackpad, and keyboard, and separate touch for iOS.

In terms of new OS X features, there won’t be too many, as Apple has been emphasizing design with this release. Still though, we will probably see Siri make its way to OS X, but there’s not really that many obvious additions to the Mac at the moment.

Apple TV

The top two sections are for certain, but after that it’s unclear what Apple will do. It’s almost guaranteed that this will be a software specific event, and you can expect the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, iWatch, etc will be held until the fall. With that said, the Apple TV is the one product line that could potentially fill the gap. The Apple TV software is in desperately in need of an overhaul, and WWDC is Apple’s yearly developer event. It may not happen, but it would make sense for Apple to introduce a development kit for the Apple TV for developers to finally be able to make apps for the Apple TV. This move would also require a new interface to manage apps, as well as an Apple TV App Store, and we have honestly been hoping for this for the past two WWDCs, at least. An official Apple game controller would also go along way in making for a more viable development platform, but that may be a bit of a stretch for the often hesitant Apple.

iWatch

The iWatch still isn’t for certain, but if it is coming in 2014, it will be in the fall. With that said, if Apple really emphasizes health & fitness as part of iOS 8, then that’s the main direction that the iWatch will go, and it will be introduced later this year. Apple’s keynote tomorrow will tell us a lot about the realistic expectation of an iWatch.

Conclusion

WWDC is a software event, and that’s what you should fully expect in the form of iOS 8, and OS X 10.10. There’s less low hanging fruit in obvious areas to improve, which leads to more potential intrigue in what will be revealed tomorrow.

Recap (With % Likelihood):

iOS 8:

  • Siri enhancements (90%)
  • Maps public transit & back-end data improvements (90%)
  • Health & fitness resource (80%)
  • Interactive notifications (65%)
  • iPad split screen multi-tasking (60%)
  • Refinements to App Store, Control Center, and Notification Center (80%)
  • Shazam integration (75%)
  • Beta one at conclusion of keynote (99.99%)

OS X 10.10:

  • All new design (95%)
  • iOS 7 inspired, but not as extreme (90%)
  • Siri on the Mac (75%)
  • Yosemite name (99.99%)
  • Beta one at conclusion of keynote (99.99%)

Apple TV:

  • Developer SDK for third party apps (30%)
  • Apple TV App Store, new app management system (40%)
  • All new design (50%)
  • Apple Game controller (5%)

Hardware:

  • iWatch (5%)
  • iPhone 6 (0.1%)
  • iPad Air 2 (1%)
  • Macbook Air with retina display (25%)
  • New iMacs (50%)
  • New Macbook Pro with retina display (50%)



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