What to expect from WWDC next week

What is WWDC 2016?

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is the company’s annual bunfight for software developers and other partners. Over the last few years it has become a much more public facing event in recent years, acting as a springboard for Apple to show off all of its latest software.

This year, expect updates on the iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS, as well as news on Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Apple Music.

When is it?

WWDC officially lasts from Monday June 13 to Friday June 17, but most of the news will be packed into a keynote speech from Apple’s top brass on Monday at 10am Pacific time (that’s 6pm UK time). The event is being held in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, for which tickets are in high demand and priced at $1,599. Luckily, you can watch it online.

How do I watch it?

Apple will be live streaming the presentation here, or through the WWDC iOS app. If you have an Apple TV then you can watch via that.

What can I expect?

WWDC is all about software, tending to focus on new versions of iOS and Mac OS X. But as Apple’s product line-up has grown, it will have more to talk about.

This year, we can expect to hear about watchOS and tvOS, the software for the Apple Watch and Apple TV, as well as Apple Music, Siri and possibly Apple Pay.

Apple sent out invitations to the media last week, although the notoriously cryptic clues were missing.

wwdc invite

iOS: Apple will lift the lid on iOS 10 before it is released alongside the next iPhone in September. Details are thin on the ground, but a design refresh could be announced: the last major graphical overhaul was in 2013’s iOS 7.

Notifications, which have had various changes in recent versions, could also be improved, according to Apple blog 9to5Mac. Tim Cook has also hinted that users may finally be able to delete Apple’s stock apps.

Mac OS X: Apple’s yearly updates to Mac OS X, each of which come with a California-influenced name like “Yosemite” “Mavericks” and “El Capitan”, have gradually improved integration between the computer software and iOS. This year we could see a big change, with the software finally getting Siri.

watchOS: The Apple Watch, released last year, is not quite the overwhelming success that might have been hoped for. Users have complained that apps are slow and too tethered to the iPhone. WatchOS 3 is likely to be previewed at WWDC. Although we don’t know much, stability and speed are two things that developers will want to know about.

Apple Music: Apple’s Spotify rival has more than 13 million paying subscribers less than a year after it launched, but it hasn’t been without its problems.

Users have complained of a clunky interface, not to mention having their entire music libraries deleted, and the “Connect” social network feels underused. Apple is reportedly preparing a big redesign of the software for WWDC.

Siri: As well as coming to Mac OS, Siri is also likely to get a major upgrade, becoming open to more app developers. For example, this might allow the iPhone’s voice recognition to control other music apps or messaging services, or to order an Uber.

What about hardware?

It’s pretty certain that we’re not going to see an iPhone 7 or new iPad at WWDC. In fact, reports suggest that all hardware is off the table. That’s despite it being a while since we’ve had a new MacBook Pro and emerging rumours about an Amazon Echo or the new Google home unit styled device.

Revealed next week

We will know all the answers this time next week. Stay tuned.

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