(Preparations for Apple’s 2013 WWDC developer conference / Image via Nick)
There’s a lot we already know about what we’ll be seeing next week at WWDC– we’ve already brought you exclusive details on iOS 7, OS X 10.9, a MacBook refresh, Apple’s new Radio service, and much more. What else might we see Apple show off next week? Below are a couple of our best predictions based on what we think Apple is most likely to show off as well as few things we’ve been hearing:
iCloud | Notifications |
Over the last year Apple’s iCloud service has been plagued with what feel like almost monthly outages, and the service is less than reliable for something that’s supposed to ‘just work’ without the user paying attention. One big feature that could be headed to iCloud, alongside updates to the current Photo Streams feature, is video streams. We heard about it last year from the Wall Street Journal and our own sources that Apple had it in the works, so it could be something that finally makes an appearance at this year’s WWDC. Dedicated iOS and Mac apps for iCloud would be a long shot, but we’re at least expecting to see an overhaul and new features for iCloud.com. We’d also expect Apple to address some concerns for developers around syncing iCloud data with rewritten, new and improved APIs.
And when it comes to end users, we’d imagine improvements to Notification Center, including notification sync between apps and all devices, to be a big priority. Notifications that don’t sync between Mac and all your iOS devices, i.e.the fact that clearing a notification on one device (either from within Notification Center or an app) doesn’t automatically clear it from Notification Center on all devices, is a big annoyance. iCloud and Notification Center, especially on the Mac, have some major issues, and we’re expecting Apple to address that next week at its keynote.
When Apple first launched its Messages Beta leading up to the release of Mountain Lion users complained of problems with crashes, messages failing to sync across devices, disappearing/out of order chat history, and lack of basic features like timestamps for each message. Unfortunately most of those problems haven’t gone away, and the state of iMessage on iOS isn’t much better. We’d like to see some new features baked into Messages on iOS like a quick-reply feature to send messages from anywhere in the OS, but we’ll settle for some big performance improvements to Messages on the Mac and possibly some design tweaks to go along with Jony Ive’s redesign of iOS 7.
A few things we’re expecting to see for developers at this year’s WWDC include updates to Xcode and iTunes Connect. Google rolled out some big new features to its Google Play developer console last month including beta testing & stage rollouts, as well as an app translation service. We’re expecting to see some improvements to the aging iTunes Connect portal, but we’ve also heard a few other things on the table for next week. It’s possible we could see Apple launch a competitor to Parse, the cloud app platform that provides “a scalable and powerful backend in minutes” for mobile app developers.We’ve been hearing whispers of the service, but it’s not clear if Apple is going through with the project.
Something else you’ll likely see next week: Live code previewing in Xcode, with features similar to Google’s new Android Studio tool. Other possibilities could include OS level XPC support and other inter-app communication APIs for iOS.
Mac Pro | Logic | Final Cut Pro X |
Apple hasn’t introduced a major update to its Mac Pro line since July 2010 and pro users have certainly been vocal about it. Apple somewhat disappointed last year with quiet, minor upgrade to the Mac Pro lineup, but later confirmed that new Mac Pros were indeed on the way later in 2013. There have been rumors floating around in recent months, the latest claiming Mac Pro Project manager Douglas Brooks said the team is working on “something really different.” Apple already announced one is coming, so pre announcing by a few months wouldn’t harm sales and WWDC’s audience of devs and other pros would be the expected venue for the new machine to make an appearance alongside updates to Apple’s pro apps.
It’s possible one of those pro apps will be Final Cut Pro X, the redesigned app that many professionals took issue with over a stripped-down feature set. Apple has recently been making an effort to win back those pro users, and it’s possible we’ll see even more updates during WWDC next week. Another one of Apple’s pro apps that is in desperate need of an updates is Logic Pro. The app has largely remained untouched since a major update back in 2009, although Apple did decide to move it to the Mac App Store in 2011 and significantly reduce the price. Since we’ve had mostly bug fixes (and there’s a lot to fix), so of all Apple’s pro apps, a new Logic Pro might be the one to look out for at WWDC.
There have been rumors that Apple will launch a “Logic Pro X” version of Logic, but it hopefully learned from FCPX that a stripped down feature set just won’t work for the pros (leave that to GarageBand). Apple has already reportedly confirmed that a new version of Logic Pro is in the works. Adding to the pressure, Logic’s biggest competitor, Avid, just launched the latest version of its industry standard software, Pro Tools 11.
We already know Apple is working on some improvements to Maps integration for modern car center-consoles, and it could very well show off the new feature as soon as next week alongside improvements to Siri Eyes-Free for car manufacturers. With the controversy over Apple’s Maps app following its launch, expect Apple to take some time to focus on all the improvements it’s made to the service in recent months, including the addition of new 3D Flyover imagery, improved turn-by-turn navigation, and other fixes. Apple has had a year to improve the experience, and possibly think of some new features that will help win users back.
iLife | iWork |
With the last major update back in 2010 for iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand on the Mac, the iLife suite is long due for an update, especially when compared to its iOS counterpart. Tim Cook already said this event will focus on software, and we’re thinking updates to iPhoto and possibly iMovie and GarageBand on the Mac are possibilities. iPhoto has a ton of different issues with Photo Streams, large uploads, and the UI just feels dated compared to the iPhone and iPad versions.
Apple has been looking to hire a lot of engineers and animators for the iLife team in recent months to “re-imagine how user interfaces should be built and work,” and we think at least iPhoto will be seeing some major improvements next week including a more iOS-like experience for the Mac app.
Last updated in December, Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps for Mac actually haven’t seen a major overhaul in since closer to 2009 (apart from Retina & iCloud support last year). The most recent update brought mostly compatibility with the latest iOS iWork suite, and the Mac apps are certainly due for a refresh. While Pages has certainly been a big hit for Apple on iOS, it’s leather navigation bar and linen backgrounds could very well become a victim to Jony Ive’s iOS 7 redesign next week.
Offline Siri |
We’ve discussed the possibility of an offline Siri feature before. If Apple is to follow its past release cycle trends with the next-generation iPhone later this year, history tells us there’s a good possibility the device could have an exclusive software feature that relies on the upgraded hardware. Offline Siri could let users use dictation, control music, launch apps, or place calls without requiring an internet connection, features that already exist on Android devices, and the expected upgraded CPU would make it a possibility. This is just one feature that could possibly make an appearance next week, but maybe Siri will also finally come out of Beta with some other new tricks to stay competitive with Google Now. Wouldn’t it be nice for developers to allow their users to use Siri.
Live coverage |
Apple’s approximately two hour keynote address begins at 10 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern on June 10th. Apple doesn’t typically offer live streams of its events these days, but we will be live in San Francisco providing full coverage during, before, and after the keynote presentation.