What to expect at Apple’s WWDC 2018

The rumour mill has been pretty quiet leading up to Apple’s upcoming annual developer conference in San Jose, Calif., but there are a few things we’re expecting to see at this year’s event.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is known for unveiling iOS updates, and while this trend is likely to continue, don’t expect it to be a flashy reveal. The next major iOS update is said to improve performance and reliability, Axios reported, noting software head Craigh Federighi told employees at a meeting in January that Apple is prioritizing to make iPhones more responsive and “less prone to cause customer support issues.”

Updates to bundled apps like Mail and a redesigned home screen have been pushed to 2019 as a result. This isn’t much of a surprise given the long list of issues with iOS 11 after its release last fall, which included mic problems, crashes in iMessage and disappearing text messages and app notifications on the lock screen. A quick look at WWDC18’s schedule reveals various iOS workshops, one of which focuses on maximizing an app’s memory footprint, while another is about layout, smooth scrolling and debugging tricks.

The schedule also includes several AR workshops, which might hint at Apple’s desire to improve its smartphones’ AR capabilities. This was also reported by Axion.

On the Mac side, it’s difficult to predict what direction Apple will take. Bloomberg has suggested that Apple wants to give developers a break by allowing them to develop a single app for both iOS and the macOS. The report went on to say that they will announce these plans at the developers conference. It’s not hard to believe some type of macOS refresh is on the horizon, since the macOS App Store hasn’t been updated since 2014, while the iOS store got a facelift in 2017.

Voice assistants are becoming increasingly popular, and while Apple’s Siri has received minor improvements since it launched in 2011, it’s been surpassed by Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in terms of quality. The WWDC schedule is thin on Siri-related items, but it does includes a workshop to help developers “get the most” out of their app through Siri. Apple could reveal a Siri update that’s more open to third-party apps and services, but there’s been very little chatter about any significant changes to Apple’s voice assistant.

Don’t forget about hardware

Last year, Apple announced the HomePod smart speaker, launched new iPad Pros and upgraded nearly its entire Mac line. It’s highly unlikely the company’s new MacBook Pro and a new low-cost laptop to follow up the MacBook Air will be unveiled at the event – both are expected to be ready later this year, Bloomberg has reported.

But what we might see are some announcements about the Apple Watch and its operating system watchOS, which is mentioned frequently on the WWDC schedule.

The HomePod, which is launching in Canada June 18, recently announced a few additional functions including stereo and multi-room modes. It’s very possible Apple continues to update the speaker and the software behind it in tandem with the Apple Watch.

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Alex Coop
Alex Coophttp://www.itwc.ca
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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