The rumor mill: 5 things we MIGHT see at Apple’s WWDC

June 4, 2015

Laura Perez

Golden_AppleWWDC, Apple’s annual conference, will be kicking off next week in the Moscone Center in the heart of San Francisco.

Traditionally the big curtain raiser is Apple’s plans for a major developement to come in the following year. Previous WWDCs have seen the announcement of the App Store, iCloud, FaceTime and more MacBooks than you can shake a stick at.

But while we often know in advance what we’re likely to see at WWDC, there have been plenty of occasions where we’ve all missed the mark when we’ve followed a particularly juicy rumor.

So, to stop that from happening, here is our take on how likely these five major WWDC rumors are to make their way into Tim Cook’s keynote next week.

1) A more stable operating system

Following the sea change of iOS 7 and iOS 8’s Android like evolution, the rumors coming out from Apple suggest that the major selling point of iOS 9 is going to be something relatively plain: stability.

As reported in Macrumors in February, Apple’s focus in this update appears to be centered on improving the OS experience. Aiming to deal with device memory hogging problems, poor battery life and crashing, iOS 9 could be relatively unremarkable in terms of big announcements.

Is it likely to happen?

An update to iOS is basically the only certain thing at any WWDC conference. And with reports that recent versions of Android are reportedly proving more stable than iOS, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Apple turn the focus towards fixing the unexpected weak spots of iOS 8 rather than rewriting the rule book.

That said we should still expect to see some new features. Indoor mapping for Maps, split screen multi-tasking on iPad and a new font type are all rumored to be making an appearance, meaning there are a few things to look forward to.

2) Improved Apple Watch apps

As with the launch of the first apps back in 2008, the first batch of Apple Watch apps have been somewhat limited in functionality. Unable to take advantage of a number of native features, most Apple Watch apps so far have been pretty basic in functionality.

However, that could be set to change at WWDC. Reports suggest that the Apple Watch development kit is likely to get an upgrade, which will allow developers to access the full gamut of Watch features (such as the Taptic engine and the crown wheel).

Is it likely to happen?

Almost certainly. The Apple Watch launch has been a curious mix of success and fumble. Sales have been great, but there's been a struggle to understand what the device is for and issues (such as slow app loading) has cooled excitement.

It is likely that Apple will seek to placate developers by offering more features and improvements at WWDC. And greater access to native features is just one of the ways they will likely do that.

3) A gaming ready Apple TV

A good rule for working out how well a product is doing is to hear how much the company behind it is bothering to talk about it. This works particularly well when you compare how much time Apple dedicates to its iPhone range in comparison to the Apple TV.

However, the likes of Macworld are suggesting that this could change with a potential move towards an Apple TV capable of playing games. The integration of iOS game controller support a couple of years ago, combined to the emergence of micro-consoles and the appearance of gaming on Google’s Cast devices, suggests there could be

Is it likely to happen? 

A gaming ready TV from Apple is pretty unlikely. It has been rumored for a number of years and the failure of products such as GameStick and Ouya suggest the micro console space isn’t as strong as people think. News from the New York Times yesterday also indicates that a new Apple TV is not in the cards for this WWDC. 

However, we are likely to see some sort of upgrade to Apple TV soon. The news that the Homekit API requires an Apple TV and Apple’s lengthy negotiations with media outlets to offer live TV online suggests change is on the way.

4) An iTunes subscription music service

The top grossing successes of Pandora in the US and Spotify in Europe has forced Apple to consider a music subscription service. With the launch of its iTunes Radio service announced at last year’s WWDC and its acquisition of Beats, it looks strongly like Apple will be making some sort of move to try to dominate a billion dollar market.

Is it likely to happen?

This is one of the things we’re most confident will happen. Apple has been preparing the ground for this for a number of years, particularly in light of declining sales of media through iTunes, with the hire of British DJ Zane Lowe and deals with the likes of Drake to drive the service forward.

The real question will be about how Apple asserts its dominance in the space. The company is notoriously strong on cracking down on services that offer things already available in their ecosystem, from app recommendation services to watch apps on the Apple Watch. Could the same fate befall Spotify and Pandora, at least in the App Store?

5) A supersized iPad

Finally, there have been rumors galore that Apple might be on the brink of announcing a 12-inch iPad Pro. Supposedly intended for professionals who may need to take advantage of an expanded touch screen canvas, it is rumored to support multiple user profiles and boast an even more powerful mobile chipset than seen in the iPad Air 2.

Is it likely to happen?

The iPad Pro makes a lot of sense. The news that iOS 9 may feature multitasking for tablets and Apple’s move into the enterprise space earlier this year suggests a large touchscreen device may have a market.

But it would be a surprise to see it at WWDC. The only devices that tend to be announced at WWDC are Macbooks, with iPhones and iPads announced at separate events in the last quarter of the year. If there is to be an iPad Pro launched, we’d expect to see it then.

In: Industry News, Events

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