WWDC week is just around the corner.
Rene, Peter, and yours truly will be live on the ground in San Francisco covering the conference and any additional fun events happening throughout our time there. Before we hop on planes, however, we decided to sit down and chat about what we're looking forward to, what we're hoping not to see, and our pipe dream wishes.
What are you most looking forward to about Monday's keynote?
Rene: All of it! I don't have favorites — I like wondrous diversity, and that's just what WWDC excels at. I want to hear Tim Cook's opening and closing remarks. I want to see what Federighi has to say about iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. What Kevin Lynch shows us for Watch OS 2.0 and the SDK. What Cue reveals iTunes has been up to all year And whatever surprises Apple might have up it's sleeve. I'm most looking forward to all of it.
Peter: Honestly, for it to be over! That means we can get on with dissecting the news and figuring out what it means for Mac and iOS going forward. I'm looking forward to seeing the next step for OS X, iOS and Watch OS, and seeing what new and innovative ways Apple's figured out that all of those things should work together.
Ren: I can't wait to hear more about WatchKit 2.0 and what that means for Apple Watch owners.
iOS hopes and dreams
Peter: I'd like to see extensions front and center better than they are now. Relegating their functionality to the share sheet creates a discoverability problem so people don't always know they're there. I'd also love to see a way to personalize the list of default apps for various actions. Apple's better about opening up the system to third-party devs and this would go a long way to that end. Also, please, Apple, give me a way to customize the Control Center with apps of my choosing.
Ren: More Siri functionality, if you please! We've heard rumors about some behind-the-scenes wrangling that would make Siri smarter across the board, and I'm really pumped about that: Anything that makes it easier to use Apple's voice-activated assistant would be gladly welcomed. I'd also go for better extensibility, improvements to Continuity, better iPad multitasking, and HMMM maybe a new scheme for organizing your apps? (Please go off into that good night, home screen. It's time.)
Rene: Extensions and continuity were transformative, but they were both 1.0. I'm eager to see 2.0. Extensions that are easier to surface and manage and Handoff for media would all be great. There's so much Apple can build on here, and so many interesting things the company can do. better stability and security will be necessary, sure. But we're about to enter the second great age of iOS, and like Serenity said with Siri, the sky really is the limit.
OS X wants and wishes
Peter: Better stability! Yosemite hasn't been an easy upgrade for many Mac users, though that hasn't stopped them from installing it in droves. But persistent problems have marred the experience. I'd like to see a major new version of Photos with additional features and capabilities; I'd also like to see Apple completely blow up iTunes and replace it with something altogether different.
Ren: I'm in complete agreement with Peter here: More Photos features (and maybe an iCloud storage price drop?), a new version of iTunes and/or replace it whole cloth with a new Music app, some refinement for Continuity and Handoff, and security/stability. The Mac is the veteran platform at WWDC, and last year's desktop reinvention gave it plenty of flash in the spotlight. Now, it's time to sit back a little and polish up the chrome.
Rene: I get why people want stability, but I've always wanted that. Yosemite, overall, has been better for me than Mavericks, and I expect 10.11 will be better for me than 10.10. Such is software. Otherwise I want the same for the Mac as I do for the iPhone and iPad — more security, more extensibility, more continuity.
And let Touch ID or Apple Watch unlock my Mac, please.
Apple TV mystery?
Rene: It's time for a new Apple TV. If Hollywood won't come around on content, launch the hardware and the SDK and I'll be just as happy.
Peter: Apple will announce something at WWDC. Apple won't announce something at WWDC. There's been so much back and forth on this it's making my head spin a little bit. One way or the other, the third-generation Apple TV is hopelessly long in the tooth. And while the third-gen device gives Apple a firm base for the initial push of HomeKit-compatible software and products (see our HomeKit FAQ for details), there's so much more that needs to be done. On the other hand, if Apple simply gives me a better way to organize Apple TV channels, I'd be reasonably happy.
Ren: Well, I was firmly in the "Apple's announcing a new Apple TV at WWDC" camp until Wednesday's report from The New York Times, and now I'm a little bummed — though for Apple TV-watchers, this is old news at this point. We've been waiting for a new set top box for years now, and every year, the promise of "new box, new SDK for developers to make apps" hung high. But given delays on the product, I don't know if we'll see the SDK or even hints to a new box. We may get an update on the HBO Go partnership, and hopefully something about HomeKit integration. After the first wave of HomeKit products dropped last week, I'm less convinced that any new Apple TV is going to be a whole-cloth HomeKit hub, but I hope Apple's execs at least talk about the current box's awesome ability to relay Siri commands to your HomeKit accessories.
Along with no hardware, I also don't think Apple TV subscription services are coming next week. Still too much red tape. The cord-cutter in me would be happy to be proven wrong on that front, but I just don't think it's happening.
Peter: I've said my piece about what a disaster I think of iTunes on the Mac; my biggest fear is that Apple's new music service is just going to pile on that already thick pile of hurt. I want Apple to extricate music from the rest of that functionality. Between iTunes, iTunes Radio and Beats Music, the entire music ecosystem of Apple's is getting sloppy. iTunes In the Cloud? iTunes Match? Trying to explain this to civilians who aren't already familiar with Apple's offerings is utterly horrifying. Apple's entire music ecosystem system needs an enema!
We've heard lip service from Tim that music is in Apple's DNA, and Apple's brought on board music industry veteran Tommy Iovine. Here's where the rubber meets the road — time to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk, Apple.
Ren: It's a pretty safe bet that we'll hear something about Music at Monday's keynote. iOS 8.4, in beta now, has made a ton of changes to the Music app, and we still have yet to hear anything official about Apple's potential new music service, born from the ashes of the Beats/iTunes Radio merger. Also, it's about time we hear something about the next version of iTunes on the Mac alongside Apple's yearly OS X updates. (Maybe — JUST MAYBE — that includes the death of iTunes altogether. A girl can dream.)
I think it well might be time for a phoenix to rise from the ashes of both iTunes and the Beats/iTunes Radio group; the question is just what that phoenix will look like. Is subscription music the future, and how expensive will that future be? Will Jimmy Iovine and Dre get to introduce it on-stage, or be relegated to a FaceTime audio stunt? And what musical talent are they going to headline the service with? (Knowing iTunes's history, I'm convinced there has to be some sort of exclusive album or track associated with the new launch. Let's just hope it's not another U2 song.)
Rene: I don't listen to music much; I'm more of a video watcher. That said, continuity for iTunes, iTunes for iCloud, and an international streaming music service, are all on my want list.
Watch out for WatchKit
Peter: Of all the things we know are coming at WWDC (and we know precious little), WatchKit is probably the most exciting, because this is going to give the Apple Watch and third party developers an opportunity to shine. The Apple Watch is such a nascent piece of technology, but one that's loaded with such promise. I can't wait to see what Apple is going to let developers do next.
Ren: WatchKit 2.0! I want it! Jeff Williams already told Re:code that the next version of WatchKit is coming at WWDC, so it's no big secret we'll see some new goodies. But I am curious as to just what those goodies will let app developers do. How battery-intensive are Watch-exclusive apps? Are we going to have a real Watch-only App Store? And most importantly: Who's going to make me a Watch app that accurately measures roller skating activity?
Rene: If anything, Apple under-promised and over-delivered when it came to the Apple Watch. The extensions are limited but several of them have proven useful. Native apps will likely prove even more so. Sure, radio and processor cycles will still have to be efficiently managed, and the iPhone connection requirement isn't going anywhere, but that leaves a lot of room for better performance and better interactivity.
What doesn't deserve a mention?
Peter: I don't think a subscription TV service is in the offering, for a lot of different reasons, so I'm not expecting that Apple will have anything to talk about there, even if a new Apple TV makes its debut.
Ren: People want numbers on Watch sales, but people, prepare to be disappointed. This is a developer event — expect to hear lots of awesome news for developers, and plenty of pouting from Wall Street analysts.
Rene: Apple cleared the skies on a lot of stuff pre-WWDC. MacBooks were all updated, for example. iMac and Mac Pro updates are still pending, iOS 8.4 could drop and so could OS X 10.10.4, and Swift could hit 2.0. But like Serenity said, this is a developers show. The big stuff will all be for them.
Best part of WWDC week?
Rene: It's like Christmas morning for Apple. All the new toys get unwrapped and you get to enjoy them with everyone in the Apple "family". For employees, there's the rush of seeing everything they've been working on finally get revealed, and for developers there's the promise of all the new software they'll be able to write for it. It's an ending and a beginning. There's nothing else like it.
Seriously, if you own a restaurant or bar near Moscone, stock up.
Peter: Getting a chance to see all my friends and colleagues (at least those that make it) in one place. Especially with the demise of Macworld Expo, this is it for the gathering of the tribes. WWDC is a huge injection of energy and enthusiasm, thanks to Apple's hard work and the natural energy of the thousands of developers who descend on San Francisco from all around the world. It's a unique opportunity and a terrific chance to get reinvigorated and reenergized for the coming year! Also, spending time with Ren and Rene is always awesome.
Ren: I'm with Peter here: I used to live in San Francisco, and I love the excuse to see all my friends and former colleagues. But honestly? I also love the post-Keynote rush of knowing just how hard everyone at Apple worked to get the conference up and running, and watching them excitedly get to talk about long-kept secrets in public.