Apple’s WWDC event is less than 6 hours away. There has been many a rumour flying around everywhere about all kinds of devices and softwares.
Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook teasing that Apple would introduce new products “across 2014,” so far this year the company has simply released a cheaper version of the iPhone 5c in select markets, marginally faster MacBook Airs, and the 2012 fourth-generation iPad at a lower price.
Here’s what we expect Apple to unveil at this year’s WWDC:
iOS 8 “Okemo”
Apple is expected to release its mobile OS, iOS 8, internally codenamed “Okemo,” which is expected to contain a slew of new features though an iOS 7-like drastic design change is definitely out of the window. Apple will be heavily concentrating on refining the performance of some major features, and announce an iOS 8 beta.
Maps is also expected to feature transit information, thanks to various acquisitions made by the Cupertino company. This transit feature will be integrated as both a new view (in addition to Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite), and as a new option alongside walking and driving for directions.
The Cupertino company is also likely to include a “Healthbook” application, an application that aggregates health and fitness data from various applications and hardware accessories.
‘Smart Home’ automation feature for iPhone is also said to be part of this major update. The program seems to be an extension of Apple’s MFi Accessory program. Customers will be able to tell which devices can be controlled by iOS devices based on specific Apple-provided branding.
Shazam in Siri
According to a previous report by Bloomberg, Apple is also working with Shazam to get a Song ID feature in Siri.
Another significant addition being considered for iOS 8 and the next-generation iPhone is voice-over-LTE support (VoLTE), according to carrier sources. Though carrier support also matters. VoLTE is supported in only a few states in the US and a larger rollout might come by the year’s end.
Following Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics, Apple is expected to break the iTunes Radio into its own iOS app giving users quicker access to the app’s contents. The interface for the standalone iTunes Radio application is said to be nearly identical to the one found inside of the iOS Music app and its Home screen icon is a terrestrial radio graphic atop a red background (above: via 9to5mac).
Goodbye Game Center!
Apple is expected to remove the Game Center application from both iOS and OS X. Instead the functionality of the app shall be found within the games which have integrated the service.
Apple is developing versions of the Mac operating system’s Preview and TextEdit applications that are optimized for the iPhone, iPad, and the iPod touch. The applications are said to not be designed to actually edit PDFs, images, or text documents. Instead, the apps have been built to serve as tools to view Preview and TextEdit files stored in iCloud via OS X. Apple added iCloud synchronization for Preview and TextEdit documents with OS X Mountain Lion, but has not yet released iOS counterparts to actually view the synchronised content.
According to sources, Apple has planned for iOS 8 to include a new iPad multitasking feature, but the debut of the functionality could be delayed. These people say that the feature will allow iPad users to run and interact with two iPad applications at once. Up until now, every iPad application either developed by Apple or or third parties, via the App Store, is only usable individually in a full-screen view. NYT‘s Brian X. Chen claims on Twitter that the feature won’t be unveiled at WWDC as it is not yet ready, though.
OS X 10.10 “Syrah”
While leaks related to iOS 8 have been a plentiful, Mavericks’ successor OS X 10.10, internally codenamed “Syrah.” While Mountain Lion brought OS X more inline with iOS 6’s Scott Forstall-era design with linen and OS X Mavericks brought new power-user enhancements and performance boosts OS X 10.10′s changes, however, will most likely revolve around user-interface design. Internally codenamed Syrah, the official marketing name of the OS seems to be either “Yosemite” or “El Cap” deduced from the banners put up at the Moscone West Center ahead of WWDC 2014 (above).
Apple will, reportedly, change the design language of the OS X akin to that done to iOS last year. The new look will, reportedly, have similar toggle designs to iOS 7, sharper window corners, more defined icons across the system, and more white space than the current version. However, OS X characteristics like the Finder, multi-window multitasking, and Mission Control will not disappear in favor of a more iOS-like experience. The above image is a mockup of the new OS X based off of last year’s Calendar app. Some sources describe the new system as “extremely flat,” but just like with iOS 7, customers will become used to the new look.
While majority of the focus is given to the redesign of OS X, there will also, obviously, be a bevy of new features and enhancements introduced by Apple for its Desktop OS. It is likely that Apple will port over some of the new features found in iOS 7 but not in OS X Mavericks. For instance, it would make sense for Apple to include a new Control Center-like panel for quickly accessing options across OS X. Other possibilities include Apple finally releasing Siri for the Mac and a version of AirDrop that is compatible with iOS’s AirDrop functionality.
An improved Maps app to bring feature parity with iOS, the removal or revamp of Game Center, and improvements to the App Store app are also equally likely. Apple might also debut “flatter” 10.10 versions of its own App Store Apps like iWork and iLife. Another area of interest is the handling of non-redesigned third party apps by the new OS X.
Apple is expected to release Mac hardware of sorts at WWDC, but what hardware remains to be the question.
Apple seemingly has several new pieces of Mac hardware in development as well as several products in need of a refresh. Here’s the list of Macs which have been rumoured or are in the works, according to sources:
- A new, smaller MacBook Air/Pro with an enhanced trackpad, no fan, slimmer design, and a 12-inch Retina display
- A cheaper line of iMacs with less-expensive display components
- A new generation of iMacs, perhaps with a Retina display
- A new Mac mini with faster processors
- A new Thunderbolt Display, perhaps with a Retina/4K panel
- Retina MacBook Pros with faster processors
Of course, it is completely uncertain of what exactly Apple is planning to debut at WWDC. Apple has said that major hardware introductions are in store for the end of the year.
On the iOS front, it seems highly unlikely that Apple will update any of the iPhone or iPad lineups though there have been a few rumours which have been listed below:
- iWatch or a fitness band (would blend well with the Healthbook introduction)
- A larger iPad, perhaps with a Surface-like connected keyboard
- A new Apple TV (though sources say that the shipping date for the new Apple TV is either this fall or early next year)
- An ARM-powered Mac running a form of iOS
All of the above iOS devices other than the Apple TV are very unlikely to be unveiled.
Apple’s keynote address begins at 10:30 PM IST/ 10 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern tonight/ this morning, and Apple has said that the keynote will run approximately two hours. We will live blog all the details of the event at our Facebook and Twitter so be sure to follow up. Apple will also be providing a live stream via Safari, Quicktime, Apple TV, and iOS of the keynote presentation.