For Apple fanatics, Christmas comes in June. That’s when the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) kicks off and gives the world a glimpse at what’s to come from Cupertino in the months to follow. This year’s event has plenty of potential as Apple eyes its own streaming music service, builds out its presence for the Internet of Things, and updates its operating systems.
The keynote is set to kick off at 10AM PT, but before it gets going, here’s a roundup of the rumored announcements we’re expecting to see. Keep it close and treat it like a Bingo card as Tim Cook rattles off the newest products his profit machine of a company will be rolling out in the future.
Will we see the streaming music service?
This is the big one. Spotify owns the streaming music business at the moment, but can’t figure out how to turn a profit off of it. Tidal has been resulted in more punchlines than paying users. Apple thinks it’s the company that can turn it around and make streaming music into a profit center, which might have the side-effect of saving the industry.
We’ve covered Apple’s unconventional plan to win the streaming wars, including building an app for Android—a first for Apple—and hiring famous musicians and radio hosts to play DJ on digital radio channels. But it will all hinge on the price point, which is currently expected to sit at $10 a month. The “free” alternative will be the celebrity-hosted internet radio stations. And there’s still a chance it could be absent from the show entirely if Apple can’t come to an agreement with the major record labels in time.
iOS 9 could be more ambitious than expected
Apple’s plan seemed to be to make iOS 9 mostly about stability, but now it’s starting to look more like a full-fledged, feature-filled update. Dealing with some of the major bugs and issues of iOS 8 will still be a priority, but recent weeks have led to rumors of some ambitious changes within the mobile OS.
Primary among those new abilities is a Google Now-style predictive service codenamed Proactive. A Siri-on-steroids, Proactive would serve up on-demand information it believes is relevant to you, like traffic information or nearby restaurants. It might not be ready for the spotlight in iOS 9, but the seeds for the service could be planted.
The update to iOS 9 is also expected to bring some much-needed improvements to the Apple Maps system, including transit information. Google has been refining its transit offerings and now has started to provide live updates in-app, so Apple is playing catch up here. But users of the service won’t be complaining if they can check and see what time a bus is expected to arrive. Apple Maps could also see a new system for browsing nearby locations and an augmented reality view to explore surroundings.
Plenty of other little tweaks are in store for iOS 9. Promises of tools for Force Touch control, a redesigned keyboard experience, and split-screen multitasking for iPads have all been floating around.
OS X 10.11 is all about security
Falling in line with its mobile counterpart, OS X 10.11 is expected to focus more on stability than on eye-popping features. Locking down security and squashing bugs are the top of Apple’s to-do list with this operating system. This could bring a new kernel-level security system called “Rootless,” which would keep malware and other harmful programs from accessing system files. The OS could also get a new, iOS-style Control Center to provide quick access to commonly used settings and tools.
Homekit, Apple TV, and the Internet of Things
We already learned that Apple TV will serve as Apple’s hub for connecting devices to the Internet of Things, and while it’s believed there is a new version of the over the top box in the works, it likely won’t be ready for WWDC 2015.
But the Internet of Things must go on, and Homekit is expected to be shown off now that the first compatible products are on store shelves. A new app called Home that could serve as the home automation platform’s universal remote over all connected devices could be announced, as could other devices for the ecosystem.
Image via Daniel Spiess/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)