Apple’s WWDC 2016 will be light on new hardware announcements this year, but that will give the company plenty of stage time to show off big new releases on the software side. Siri for Mac, a Siri SDK for developers, an Apple Music and iTunes refresh, Touch ID features, and possibly a first look at new Macs, Apple has a lot of interesting in-development projects it could show off for Macs and OS X 10.12 at WWDC 2016. Below we roundup the rumored features for the next release of Apple’s Mac operating system and explore some of the possible new hardware we might see at the event later this month.
The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac
Siri for Mac & SDK |
It looks like Apple has a whole lot in the works for Siri according to a handful of recent reports. Not only does that include our own earlier this year that Siri will make its debut on the Mac, but also a separate report that Apple has plans in place for a Siri SDK to give app developers full control over implementing the voice-controlled assistant in their own apps. It would make sense if the rumored new SDK is also available for Mac since Siri is currently planned to make its Mac debut in 10.12.
Add in a report that Apple is developing new hardware as a competitor to voice-controlled home devices like Amazon’s Echo and the new Google Home for release early next year, and it’s looking really likely there will be some more HomeKit tie-ins alongside the new Siri features.
- Feb 24: Apple plans Siri for Mac as tentpole feature for OS X 10.12 launch
- May 18: Possible Siri for Mac icons preview OS X 10.12’s voice assistant
- May 25: Report: Apple planning Siri SDK for WWDC as it builds Amazon Echo competitor
Apple Music/iTunes |
Apple missed its own estimates for releasing an iTunes overhaul when execs mentioned a new version was in the works back in February. But we later detailed exactly what Apple has in store for the redesign of Apple Music and at the time noted that a new version of iTunes was in development with a larger overhaul currently planned for early next year. And we should get a look at at least some Apple Music updates as another report said Apple is currently targeting WWDC unveiling of the redesigned experience.
What many Mac users are really hoping for is a complete rethink of Apple Music, iTunes, and the App Stores on Mac, but we’ll have to wait to see what the Apple Music and iTunes redesigns means for the iOS and Mac App Stores on Mac.
- Feb 12: Apple execs confirm iTunes overhaul in the works
- Mar 14: Phil Schiller responds to developer complaints about App Store
- May 4: We detail Apple Music/iTunes revamps in the works
- May 4: Apple will unveil ‘more intuitive’ version of Apple Music at WWDC in June
New Macs |
One recent report from often accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple is readying a new MacBook Pro model that include an OLED display touch bar of sorts to replace the physical function keys along the top of the keyboard. That would open up a lot of opportunities to offer contextual buttons and other touchscreen-like experiences and something Apple will certainly want to show off at a public event. But with sources indicating the event will be light on hardware and a big software year, it won’t be too surprising if Apple saves the unveiling for another date. Apple is reportedly preparing the new MacBook Pros for a launch later this year, but it’s unclear if that means we might get a preview at WWDC, or whether or not we might get some hints in OS X 10.12.
And then there were rumors of refreshed MacBook Air models coming by July in 13 and 15-inch variants. That was before the 12-inch MacBook refresh in April, but there are still possibilities there for a refresh at WWDC.
- Mar 16: Apple reportedly set to introduce new, thinner, 13 inch and 15 inch MacBooks by July
- May 24: Apple prepping MacBook Pros w/ OLED screen above keyboard, Touch ID
- May 31: Leaked images claim to show MacBook Pro with OLED touch bar cutout, four USB-C ports
After several hints at a name change for OS X, WWDC and the release of version 10.12 would be the likely venue to finally make the switch. References were already found in previous releases of
OS X macOS, and the new name would lineup nicely with the rest of Apple’s operating systems: iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
- Mar 30: OS X 10.11.4 framework resource found with ‘macOS’ naming
- Apr 14: Apple hints at future ‘MacOS’ name change on new environmental webpage
Touch ID |
One of the expected uses of the OLED touchscreen rumored for upcoming MacBook Pros is Touch ID features. But even if Touch ID doesn’t come to new Mac models directly in some way, one report claimed OS X 10.12 will feature support for unlocking your Mac using your iPhone’s Touch ID sensor. That opens up other possibilities for using the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone for other uses on the Mac. Apple has also been exploring new features for Apple Pencil support and trackpad enhancements, as discovered in recent patents.
- May 19: Report: OS X 10.12 to feature support for unlocking Macs with iPhone’s Touch ID
- May 19: Patent suggests future Apple Pencil may be destined to work with a Mac trackpad
- May 24: Apple prepping thinner MacBook Pros w/ OLED screen above keyboard, Touch ID for Q4
- Feb 24: Intriguing patent describes how Apple might supercharge Touch ID and trackpads
Opinion | Concept |
We end with a roundup of the latest concepts from the community, a few of our Mac Feature Requests, and a recent Happy Hour Podcast episode in which Zac and Benjamin discussed the rumored new MacBook Pro models and more.
- Concept imagines a simplistic iTunes/Apple Music redesign for Mac [Gallery]
- Feature Request: Give Siri access to third-party apps, and (in time) much more
- Apple Music Feature Request: Don’t remove local music without explicit permission
- Feature Request: Messages for Mac needs quick photo sharing access like iOS
- Podcast 068 | Super thin Touch ID MacBook Pros, Siri SDK rumors and more
Check out our other WWDC 2016 roundups: