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26th May 2014

WWDC 2014 Predictions

News | Thoughts By 3 years ago

WWDC is just one week away. I am attending this year and wanted to give my thoughts on what I predict will be announced. If you saw the WWDC app for this year, it has a lot of TBA sessions, way more than last year, which tells me it’s going to be big, with tons of new developer tools and features.

iOS8

Like clockwork, every year a new iOS has come out at WWDC. This year should be no different.

Design

Last year iOS7 saw a major design overhaul. This year I still think there will be some design tweaks. Nothing major, just fixing some of the oddities, including some of the icons.

AirDrop compatibility

AirDrop is a great feature and extremely easy to use. The main problem is that it’s not cross compatible with OS X. There are some 3rd party apps which let you share from OS X to iOS and vice versa, however it would be much easier to have it built in natively.

Healthbook

There have been some screenshots of a healthbook app floating around from a few months back. I’m not sure how legitimate these are, but if they are indeed true, I think healthbook will tie into other apps and hardware to give you an overview of your current health. Also, if you are in trouble, I believe certain information such as your blood type will be accessible from the lock screen with no passcode, similar to making an emergency call.

iTunes Radio

During the keynote at WWDC last year (I was there too), I found it quite strange that iTunes Radio was built into the Music app. To get the most exposure I would have though Apple would have made it it’s own app. This year I think they might.

Developer access to Touch ID

Touch ID is currently great for payments and access inside Apple’s own apps. I’m thinking that maybe they’ll finally open this to developers to allow 3rd party apps to use the same process. Now don’t go kicking up a storm just yet, I don’t think developers will be able to access the raw fingerprint data, but instead a summarised hash which can be evaluated to ensure it’s the same fingerprint.

Better background task support

This is more dev related, but currently if you quit an app by swiping it up off of the multitask tray then it can’t perform any background tasks until you reopen it. Even if you send it a silent notification to tell it there’s new content to update, the OS still wont wake up your app. Apple already fixed the same issue with iBeacons, so I think they’ll also fix it for background tasks.

Mac OS X

As with iOS, there’s a new OS X every year.

Design

People keep saying that OS X is going to become as flat as iOS. I personally think that there will be a few tweaks, but overall it will remain mostly the same.

Price

Last year Mavericks was announced as a free upgrade. Many people were surprised, including myself. I think the trend will continue, which makes a developer’s life a lot easier (not needing to test with older OS’s).

Siri

Though I don’t think it will as in your face as Siri on the iPhone, I do think Siri will be introduced for small speech tasks, and dictation. Currently there is dictation on the Mac, bit it’s turned off by default.

Control Center

Control Center on iOS has become the one stop place for all common settings. OS X may follow the same path and implement it’s own place for commonly used Mac settings, like Wifi and Bluetooth.

AirDrop

As I mentioned above, I think AirDrop will be cross compatible between iDevices and Macs. Currently on iOS you don’t need to open any AirDrop window to receive or send files, on the Mac you do. Maybe they will have it always on, with a setting for it in the new Control Center.

Better sandbox support

Dev related again. On the Mac AppStore apps must now be sandboxed. This makes them run in an isolated environment, protecting you from apps doing malicious things or breaking out of their sandbox. Currently the sandbox only supports a handful of supported things (such as accessing files, network requests, etc etc). This is great for most apps, but some more complicated apps need more than that. Hopefully Apple extends their sandbox permissions to cover more than currently is supported.

Xcode and TestFlight

Earlier this year Apple acquired Burstly, creator of TestFlight. I think that Xcode may integrate TestFlight directly into itself, making it easier to register users and send builds, all without leaving Xcode.

New Hardware

I don’t think we’ll see the majorities of these, but I’ll mention possibilities. Usually there is at least one piece of new hardware announced, so I definitely thing one of these will be present.

iPhone and iPad

WWDC hasn’t had a new iPhone release since 2010. It could be possible, but I would put my money on the other bits of hardware before the iPhone. As for the iPad, probably not.

Macbook Pro

This is what I think is most realistic in terms of new hardware we’ll see. No new design, just new internal hardware.

Retina iMac

People have found retina sized background images in the resources of Mavericks. I think the retina iMacs are definitely coming, whether it will be next week, I’m not sure.

Apple TV

There’s been rumours about Apple working on a standalone TV of their own. I don’t know many young people that even watch TV anymore (with online TV shows and movies), so unless it does something amazing I think it might be a bit of a waste.

Apple iWatch

I don’t wear a watch anymore, but if it is integrated well with my iPhone it may be worth while wearing one again. If an iWatch gets announced it will probably be like the Mac Pro, announced now, released later. Something I was thinking about today was Apple’s default app icon with the guidelines and the circle in the middle, which they recommend you position most of your content inside. Could that be because of an iWatch in the works?

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