The 2015 edition of Apple World Wide Developer Conference will be held at the Moscone (West) Center, from 8-12 June. In what follows, we have highlighted some likely announcements and other happenings at the widely anticipated event.
Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event, held on March 9, provided all the information one needed about the soon-to-release Apple Watch (shipments start on April 24). However, general Apple fanboys/girls, tech enthusiasts as well as professional software and app developers had expected some announcements about a new Beats music service, or a revamped Apple TV hardware – none of which were mentioned at the event. All eyes are now on Apple’s annual conference – the World Wide Developers’ Conference – scheduled to be held from the 8th to the 12th of June. Here are some announcements that are likely to be made at WWDC 2015:
- OS X 10.11 – Speculations are rife among developers and techies alike as to what the name of the new Mac operating system would be. One thing is fairly certain though – the successor of ‘Yosemite’ would be unveiled at this year’s WWDC. Ever since 2011, Apple has announced a new version of OS X at its annual conference, and the trend would – in all likelihood – continue. It remains to be seen what new features the new OS comes with, and whether Apple tweaks around with some of the best features of OS X Yosemite, like AirDrop. Oh, and Apple does not have any more ‘big cats’ to name its OS after either!
- New music streaming tool – It has been over seven months since the much-publicized Apple-Beats deal, and till date, the Cupertino company has not talked much about it. Expect things to finally change this year, with everyone looking forward to a totally revamped Beats music streaming service being announced. Ian Rogers and Jimmy Iovine are likely to be present at the event (well, they were there at ‘Spring Forward’ too) – and they would probably do the honours.
- iOS 9 – Much like OS X, the arrival of a new iOS version has become a signature event at WWDCs over the years. iPhone app developers and mobile software analysts are fairly sure that the first look of iOS 9 would be displayed at WWDC 2015. With iOS 8 (along with its updates) being a rather problematic update, Apple is likely to focus more on the stability, reliability and optimization features of iOS 9. It will not be about many revolutionary new functionalities this time.
- Apple TV hardware – If the reports published in ‘The Wall Street Journal’ are anything to go by, this is another of the likely announcements at WWDC 2015. Apple has already started collaborations with CBS, ABC, Fox and several other television content providers, and can launch a new-look Apple TV this year. At the March 9 event, Tim Cook had talked about a new channel on Apple TV (HBO Now), as well as a significant price slash – and a new hardware setup won’t come as a surprise. The new Apple TV hardware would stream around 25 channels. The monthly subscription charge will hover around the $40 mark.
- iPad Pro – There used to be a time when new flagship iPads were displayed at WWDC events (remember iPad 3?). While not a sureshot thing, there is a chance that Apple would come up with the rumored iPad Pro at this year’s developer conference. As per early reports, the iPad Pro is going to have a larger screen display (12.9 inches?) than the new iPad Air. Reports from online iOS app development forums suggest that Apple is already at the final stages of creating iPad Pro – and it might very well debut in June.
- Lots of graphs and stats – Announcements at Apple conferences are not limited to new products and software. It was something of a surprise when Tim Cook and his team did not come up with stats and figures and charts at the ‘Spring Forward’ event, reiterating the company’s superiority. Professional iPhone app developers feel that the grander WWDC platform would give the Cupertino company ample opportunities to show off such slides and stats. Craig Federighi will probably be his usual witty self – and don’t be surprised if a few potshots are aimed at Google.
- A new iPhone – Okay, this one is a fairly long shot, given that Apple has more or less made a habit of announcing new flagship iPhones in September. However, things weren’t always so – and both iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 were first announced in June. There is just a slim chance that Apple with go for iPhone 6C/6S at this year’s WWDC, before announcing iPhone 7 at its September event. It is an outside chance, but it cannot be totally ruled out either.
- Programming tips and guidelines – One of the biggest highlights of WWDC 2014 was the release of Swift programming language. This year, mobile app developers can look forward to in-depth support and pointers for app coding with Swift 1.2. There will not be any new programming languages though (Objective-C is more than 30 years old!). It would be all about familiarizing the attending app developers with Swift – the language touted as the ‘future of iOS app coding’.
- More for the developers – There will be scores of media personnel at WWDC 2015 (as is the case every year). While they would have plenty to write about iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 and, if released, the iPad Pro – the conference would, in general, have a technical perspective (after all, it is a developers’ conference). Discussions about app coding nitty-gritty, and the specs of the new software tools unveiled at the show will take centerstage. Everything else would be, in effect, add-ons.
- A Macbook Pro, maybe? – Most software experts and app developers had expected the 12” Macbook Air (with Retina display) to be showcased at the WWDC. Apple sprung a minor surprise by bringing it forward to the March 9 event. That, in effect, has created an opportunity for Apple to showcase an all-new MacBook Pro in June. The Mac Pro was unveiled as recently as the 2013 WWDC, and it won’t be a major surprise if Apple released another new MacBook at this year’s WWDC too.
- More about Apple Watch – Arguably the biggest question about Apple Watch – its battery life – has been answered at the March 9 ‘Spring Forward’ event. However, there are still uncertainties among general people as well as even third-party WatchKit developers as to ‘why’ users would actually need the new smartwatch. At WWDC, there is every chance that Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive would elaborate on the specific ‘selling-points’ of Watch. The commercial fate of Watch is the acid test of Apple’s capacity to innovate in the post-Jobs era. Rest assured that the company will be doing its best to popularize the device, as well as collect early feedback from users.
- Third-party apps being showcased – This would be a dream come true for any third-party mobile app developer. Although no such external developers were called onstage during Apple’s March event, there is a fair chance that a few such developers would be called on at WWDC 2015. The rationale behind this is simple – the more apps developers are able to create for Apple Watch, the more attractive/usable it would appear for final users.
- Something about iTunes Radio – It has been a year and a half already, and iTunes Radio is still not the roaring success that many had envisaged it to be. With an all-new Beats music streaming service likely to be announced at this edition of WWDC, there is considerable curiosity regarding the fate of iTunes Radio. Tim Cook and his team might just drop hints about how they plan to improve the reception of iTunes Radio. Chances of pulling the plug on it are very slim though.
- Celebrity events – U2 performed live at the iPhone 6/6 Plus launch event, Christy Turlington Burns dropped in at Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ 2015, and there would almost surely be a touch of glitz and glamour at the WWDC too. For instance, it would be only appropriate if the launch of the revamped Beats music service is done by an internationally recognized star from the world of music. Cue for Taylor Swift to make an appearance?
Apart from the new versions of OS X and iOS, nothing is known for certain about the itinerary of WWDC 2015 yet. Last year, Apple offered a fair few surprises – like HealthKit and the new Photos application. Delegates from the concurrent Design Automation Conference might also be dropping in. Just like 2014, tickets for WWDC 2015 will be available through a lottery, which will be held in early-April. Over 5000 developers are expected to be in attendance, and Apple will probably keep the ticket price at $1599. These are mostly speculations at present – and it would be fascinating to see how many of these actually materialize at the biggest Apple event of the year.
What do you feel will be biggest highlight of WWDC 2015?
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