We've taken another trip round the sun to arrive at one of my favorite times of year: WWDC, Apple's yearly developer conference. If you're an Apple geek and aren't excited about it yet, well, it's nearly time to start. Apple is returning to the McEnery Convention Center with (presumably) some all-new software goodies to share, and — if we're especially lucky — a new hardware announcement or two.
On the eve of WWDC week, the iMore staff got together to talk about what everyone wants to see at this year's conference.
Next week will be my fourth WWDC attending the keynote and eighth (!) being in town for the conference. Spoiler: It feels just as exciting and nerve-wracking as the first year. Apple puts an enormous amount of effort into the look, feel, and announcements behind its worldwide developers' conference, and I can't help but admire the event. It's the one time the company can really put itself on public display in a way it can't do for the other 360 days of the year — where developers can walk right up to internal engineers and get an answer to a problem or come up with a solution together, and Apple can share its knowledge with the many talented people building third-party software for its platforms.
As I said last year, WWDC is for me first and foremost about the community. But let's be honest: I'm pretty excited about new software and hardware possibilities, too.
The increased emphasis on health and fitness
A WWDC-based group Activity challenge. Guest fitness instructors. Organized runs. Apple has been serious about health and fitness for a few years, but 2018 is the first year the company's passion leaves the presentation halls for the streets of San Jose, and I'm pretty thrilled about it. I pretty much skated everywhere in San Jose last year, and I'm looking forward to grouping up with my friends and (gently) competing between attending sessions and the occasional event and party.
New watchOS frameworks and workout improvements
Apple's wearable may not be the flashiest device Apple can talk about during its 2018 keynote, but it's one that still has huge potential. The Series 3 watch gives Apple a better foundation than ever to make improvements to watchOS — especially if they're improvements third-party developers can use. I've been less than thrilled with many third-party Apple Watch apps, but new WatchKit frameworks could rapidly change that dynamic. No, we don't need iPhone apps on our wrist. But it's past time to give developers more full-featured tools.
And hey, while we're at it, I wouldn't mind seeing skating sports lifted out of the "other" workout box and built into its own activity type. Or (perhaps a more feasible plea) weight training workouts that use the watch's built-in sensors to count reps and sets.
A new iPad Pro and iPad software tweaks
This was one of my picks last year, and I'm doubling up on it again this year. The iPad is an incredible tool, and now that the base model has Pencil support, I'm waiting for the next great improvement to Apple's Pro-level models. If the hardware isn't quite ready yet, I'd settle for more new software improvements: iOS 11 brought a slew of great multitasking features to Apple's tablet line, but there's still a lot of work left to do. Custom saved Spaces, multiple instances of the same app, quick-launching for apps not in the Dock — these are just a few of the improvements we could see come to iOS 12, though of course I'm hoping we get them all.
And (because I'm a broken record at this point), I'm still hoping for the next generation of Apple Pencil.
WWDC is Chrismukkah in June. All the new toys, all at once. Sometimes hardware. Always software. So. Much. Software.
I'm so excited about it, I made a video!
There haven't been a whole lot of rumors coming through the tech pipeline this year for WWDC, but there are still a few hardware possibilities I'm hopeful for and plenty of software updates I can't wait to see.
Mac App Store revamp
If the rumors are true, Apple is completely redesigning the Mac App Store to look and act more akin to the iPhone and iPad App Store. This is great news for app and game developers because the iOS App Store is a pleasure to visit, while the Mac App Store is a black hole of confusion.
I've always loved the idea of a dedicated app store for the Mac, but have always been disappointed in how difficult it is to explore and discover new apps and games.
This, alongside a supposed cross-platform framework that would allow developers to create apps that seamlessly work across iOS and macOS would make the whole Mac App experience much more enjoyable.
Increased free iCloud tier
There are rumors floating around that Apple may increase its free tier from 5GB to something bigger (I'm hoping for 15GB). Apple has already announced 200 free GB to students signed up with a school issued Apple ID, which gives me hope.
Family Sharing subscribers will know that you need to have the 200GB plan to share iCloud storage, but individuals could make use of an incremental increase to iCloud storage of 10 or 15GB without having to pay the minimum upgrade to 50GB.
iPhone SE 2
My heart will always belong to the four-inch iPhone, even though I'm in love with the iPhone X. There have been a lot of rumors that Apple is working on a second-generation iPhone SE. If true, there is a good chance we'll see it at WWDC 2018. Though I may wish for all the bells and whistles of the iPhone X (Face ID, edge-to-edge display, 3D Touch) on the iPhone SE, it's more likely the four-inch model will see a faster processor, better camera, bigger battery, and probably nothing else.
I'm trying to keep my hopes and dreams small and reasonable this year in the hopes that it results in me getting what I want. 'Cause that's how that works, right? We know WWDC is going to be filled with software improvements and new, fun ways for developers to make use of Apple's excellent hardware. Here's what I'm hoping to see!
I've said this on a dozen podcasts over the past couple weeks and I'm sure I'm joining my colleagues in saying it here in this article: I want Siri to be the same on all platforms. Barring that possibility, I want Siri to be as close as possible to the same on all platforms. When I have to think about what, precisely, I need to say to Siri to get it to work on my HomePod versus my Mac, I'm more likely to opt out completely. When it comes to home automation, I am an enthusiast. My home is filled with smart accessories. Know what I never do? Use Siri to control those smart home accessories. I don't trust it enough to complete the tasks that I want it to complete precisely how I'd like them completed. Just the other day I asked Siri to "turn on all the lights in my office." It heard "turn on all the lights" and missed the rest. My whole house lit up like a Christmas tree. 🙄 When Siri 1) Does the same thing on all the platforms and 2) does those things reliably, I'll start using it in earnest.
HomeKit on macOS
This is my big one. I'm putting it second to trick the universe into thinking I don't care much about this one, but I actually care a lot about this one. I want to be able to control my HomeKit-enabled accessories on my Mac. I don't think that's too much to ask. If I can't get a full-featured Home app on my Mac (my God, that would be amazing! It would be so simple to set up new accessories and organize rooms), at least give Siri the power to control my smart home from the Mac. I'd actually use it! I realize that sort of goes against what I said before, but I NEED THIS. I would use it just for the sake of being able to control my HomeKit-enabled accessories from my desk while I'm using my Mac.
But seriously, if I could get a Home app for macOS … oh man, oh man. I'm getting pumped just thinking about it. I've been known to arrange and rearrange (and rearrange again) my various smart home gadgets. It's time-consuming tapping and swiping on an iPhone, renaming rooms, adjusting settings, setting up automations, etc. With a keyboard, a mouse or trackpad, and plenty of room on a big ol' monitor, I would be free to adjust my HomeKit setup like the power user I claim to be.
I don't care what, specifically, Apple introduces in terms of ARKit, but I'd just like to see more from the company in this category. The more Apple touts its augmented reality awesomeness, the more developers are going to make use of the technology. Tim Cook thinks AR is the future and I can't disagree with him — VR is awesome, sure, but AR has the unique advantage of combining enough of the real world with the virtual world that it's not as threatening to those who find themselves a little threatened by new technology.
I hope Apple shows some new ways to use ARKit for everyday tasks or other categories that apply to a broader user base. AR games are cool, but they're games. How can AR make my life better, easier, more convenient? That's what I want to see Apple show off at WWDC.
My dogs and I have our fingers and paws crossed for HomeKit on the Mac. If we get anything else, it'll be a cherry (or some kibble?) on top of the WWDC sundae. I can't wait for the keynote!
Cella Lao Rousseau
While WWDC isn't my favorite Apple event, I still look forward to all of the new hardware updates and upgrades that come out of San Jose! #VivaWWDC2018
ARKit launched at last year's WWDC, and it was something people were super duper pumped about (for good reason!)
There have been improvements here and there, but I am looking forward to seeing what new updates and features ARKit has — including potentially some multiperson AR 👀
General Software Upgrades
To quote Rene Ritchie:
iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS: All the new operating systems. All of them.
I am looking forward to seeing what new features and functions the new OS upgrades hold, although I am kind of bummed that there won't be any upgrades to Photos until next year (so sayeth Axios and Bloomberg).
Animoji for Facetime
Is it bad that I'm excited about this? Yeah? No? Whatever. Let me enjoy the simple things, like being able to Facetime my boyfriend as a unicorn or a robot.
WWDC is always more focused on software than hardware; however, some pretty cool products have been released at the event in the past. Still, the new versions of iOS, macOS, and tvOS are probably going to be pretty exciting and take most of the focus.
I know it may seem weird to be excited about a yearly update to the iPhone's software, but when you remember that come later this year the new iPhones should be revealed, iOS 12 becomes more exciting.
For all intents and purposes, this will be the first look at what Apple has in store for its next generations of iPhones. As developers, beta testers, and iOS fans alike get their hands on iOS 12, I'm excited to see what little secrets are hidden in the code that could reveal crucial information about the future of the iPhone.
Last WWDC is when Apple unveiled ARKit, and since then, we have seen app developers embrace AR in their apps. Education apps, games, productivity apps, you name the category, there's an AR app or two for it.
I would really love Apple to lean into the AR market hard, even more so than they already are, offering more tools for developers to utilize AR when designing their apps. AR gives users the ability to experience something old, in a completely new way, it's fascinating, exciting, and just downright cool.
Hopefully, Apple announces some more news surrounding its ARKit, and maybe even shows off a new app or two that uses AR in a meaningful way.
One more thing
Once again, something like this is less likely to happen at WWDC than other Apple events; however, everytime the words "One More Thing" pop up on the screen, I scream like a child meeting their celebrity crush.
Disturbing imagery aside, I love being surprised. I know in an age of rumors and 24/7 up-to-date news cycles its hard for any company to surprise everyone, but when Apple takes the time to add that "One More Thing" item my ears always perk up and my heart always races.
What could that "One More Thing" be, you ask? Well, I could tell what's rumored to appear this WWDC, but wouldn't that go against what I just said?
It's always interesting to watch Apple preview the new software that we'll all be playing with come the fall. It's even more intriguing this year, thanks to the dearth of rumors relative to previous conferences. There are only a handful of reports suggesting what we might see on the software side of things, so I think that this could be a very interesting WWDC indeed.
Siri Siri Siri
I'm going to keep harping on this every year until I'm satisfied, but I want to continue to see new domains for Siri. In particular, I'd like to see Apple add support for media apps, so I can say "Play Vector in Overcast," for instance, or so someone could play their favorite Spotify playlists without having to open the app.
While we're at it, Apple: Siri doesn't need to take over my entire screen, especially on iPad. You've basically solved this on Mac.
In general, I'd like to see Apple get a little more ambitious with Siri. While being able to perform tasks without opening the requisite apps is great, what about when you do need to open an app. My "dream the impossible dream" scenario for Siri would be an assistant that works inside an app, waiting to execute commands specific to that app when I need it to do so. When I get done writing in iA Writer, for instance, perhaps I can say "Hey Siri, copy all of this" to have Siri copy my current document. Again, a long shot, but something I'd like to see.
A new iPad Pro
I regularly use a 12.9-inch iPad Pro when I'm writing, and I didn't upgrade to last year's model. I'm hoping to see a new design for the iPad Pro, or at least the older design but incorporating Face ID. Switching between my iPhone X and iPad Pro now requires an extra mental step that could be removed if my iPad could just scan my face.
If Apple can manage it, I'd love to see an iPad with an edge-to-edge display, too. And a new Apple Pencil to go along with it.
I'm going to agree with Luke here and say that I'm really curious to see what Apple's come up with for iOS 12. While reports indicate that this release will focus a lot on stability, they also say that we'll be seeing updates for ARKit, improved Parental Controls, and some new health features. And I wouldn't be shocked if Apple had a surprise or two up its sleeve for this year's release.
What about you?
What do you expect and want to see from WWDC 2018, iMore readers? Let us know in the comments.
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