WWDC 2016 Predictions.

‘Change my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon.’

Right now on social media, it’s a time where people speculate as to what they think Apple will announce in six hours from now at 18:00.
This is, in a sense, a follow up to a piece I wrote a few months ago, of how the iPad is going to be the focus of iOS 10. But with rumours now gaining traction, I thought I’d give my predictions and some hopes for tonight.

When Phil Schiller announced last Wednesday of the App Store’s changes, the reason of why these weren’t being announced today, he told John Gruber of Daring Fireball the following:

“We’re doing something a little different this year. We’ve got a bunch of App Store/developer-related announcements for WWDC next week, but frankly, we’ve got a busy enough keynote that we decided we’re not going to cover those in the keynote.”

This makes me think, big updates are coming to the Apple ecosystem, but not just to benefit Apple devices.

Before I go into details about the OS predictions, I believe that two services are now ready to move onto Android, as another way of moving more people to an iOS device.

iMessage & FaceTime on Android.
Android18

Some seem to forget that when FaceTime was first announced, it was said to be completely ‘Open’, but yet, it’s still one of the most closed services that Apple offers today.

With Apple Music introduced last year, they brought out an app on Android which gave ‘almost’ the same experience as using the Music.app. With this, there could be more announcements for more services to be on other devices, tempting those to convert from their non-Apple device, onto an Apple one.
Microsoft, under the leadership of Satya Nadella, has always been in the belief that what they offer on Windows, across their apps are services, so it should be up to the user on what device they will choose, but of course on an app that will be made by themselves.

For me, Apple is becoming a services company more and more.
ApplePay, Apple Music, the rebooted stores announced in May, there’s more choice now than ever. Soon, there’s going to be a point where 95% of the world’s population are going to be using a smart device. Some may simply not have the funds to own an iPad or MacBook for example.
But for one living in a country where Apple doesn’t have a big following , one could buy a very cheap Android device, but once they install iMessage, they will be able to communicate with their friends on their Apple devices, keeping their tariff costs to a minimum, but being treated to the full Apple UI and experience. So with this, it tempts them to think about what else an Apple device can benefit them, alongside iMessage with friends and colleagues.

 

ios 10
For me, I still believe this is going to be the year where big changes are abound, but in small areas of iOS to make it much more powerful and useful. I still believe that iPad is going to be the focus today.
I’ve referenced this before but Federico Vittici’s iOS 10 wishlist piece completely nails what I’ve also been hoping for, but in a very smart, visual method.

Below are just some of what I believe what could be announced, alongside some of which I’ve explained in more detail.

  • Dark Mode UI
  • Drag and Drop in Split-View
  • Timeline dragger for PiP videos
  • Better Notifications
  • Default App Options
  • Expanded Apple Pencil functionality

Notifications can be over bearing, and I’m still puzzled as to why you can’t 3D Touch them in Notifcation Center, and clear all of them, similar to AppleWatch.
On the iPad, shortcuts to clear them on an external keyboard, or crossing them out with the Apple Pencil would be less time-consuming.
One irritant for me is to make sure they’re properly synced across devices.
If I’ve cleared unread email and messages on my iPhone, I want them to look exactly the same on the iPad. Not either, having to wait for them to clear, or to do the same job again.

Better App Options can give customers their choice on their own default browser, music, and note taking apps. But having to press a link in Mail, it opens Safari instead of Chrome, you have no choice.
For me, I’ve no issue with this, as I’m happy with Apple’s Safari and Notes apps. But better Spotify integration would be great to have. Sometimes the Control Center doesn’t work properly with it; it could have better options to use some apps as the default option.

Expanded Apple Pencil Functionality can give the peripheral some more justifications in some who don’t want to use it for artistry. With the Apple Pencil, it’s been a great tool in making the iPad even more content-created orientated.
But I could also see it going into other avenues, such as it being compatible with the iPhone Plus models.
The Plus models are at a size where it’s a small notepad, one could attempt shorthand on the device, or, use it as a game.
I’m still hopeful that Nintendo will be a surprise speaker at tonight’s keynote, and for them to bring out BrainAge on the iPads and iPhone Plus models, with full Pencil support would be a highlight of the keynote.
I also may be wrong on this, but spending the last week searching through the App Store and social media, I haven’t found apps where you can buy colouring books and use the pencil to colour the pages in.

There’s lastly some small touches that I’d like to see:

  • Battery widget on the iPad
  • Airdrop by Bluetooth only, not Wi-Fi
  • Weather iPad app
  • News Publisher Management on iPad
  • Xcode on iPad
  • Slide Over View on Plus models

 

macos

With Mac OS X, it’s slowly become a system I barely use, so this will be brief. But the change in name to better match iOS and watchOS I can see arriving tonight. I’d still like a version to be called ‘Ocelot’ but that seems further and further away, more so than ever now.
Siri on Mac, but perhaps a more in depth dark mode is coming that covers the whole OS, such as to Safari and Finder.

Every Apple OS has Siri in some way, which is why I’m expecting two things.
1. A major focus of the whole keynote, covering each section, maybe with Siri going through its improvements instead of Craig Federici speaking them.
2. Siri opening the keynote.

As rumours have been the past few years, a Siri API is the one where I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t announced tonight. I do use it at times, but using it in public, or on the train, is something I wouldn’t do. They have to make it more appealing to use it more, and something you can’t be without. With competitors gaining more innovative features and hardware such as Amazon Alexa, I can see a showcase on Siri improvements as being a near-certainty tonight.


Overall, I believe it is the year where the iPad is going to become much more powerful and even more useful with iOS 10. I’m surprised not a great deal has leaked out compared to the previous three years. We found out about the redesign of iOS 7, a health app in iOS 8, and under the hood improvements for iOS 9.
Apart from Siri, nothing else major has leaked.
Which makes me think more so, that huge changes are coming, alongside those that many have been hoping for.

The event can be watched here.