wwdc-2017
Mobile Communications

What to expect from WWDC 2017

Apple will be holding its annual WWDC developer conference in San Jose next week. But what can we expect from the Cupertino Company?

The rumour mill has been fairly quiet thus far, and with the odd exception, looks to follow Google’s I/O lead with incremental improvement rather than wild innovation.

Siri & speaker

Once the market leader in the digital assistant space, Apple and Siri have fallen well behind the competition. It would be a shock not to see some major improvements to the original AI helper, and probably tighter – and dare I say, more Microsoft/Cortana-like – integration across the Apple ecosystem. 

Will we see a Siri-enabled speaker? Google, Microsoft, Amazon, plus a host of others already have devices on the market, which follows Apple’s last-mover style. The company already has a tight ecosystem with the likes of the Watch, TV, and HomeKit. KGI Securities analyst and noted Apple sage Ming-Chi Kuo says there is a 50/50 chance of something being announced next week.  It would certainly be the prettiest such device on the market if they did announce something. 

Apple’s AI chips

Following on from the Siri talk, Apple is rumoured to be working on its own dedicated AI chips. According to Bloomberg, the Apple Neural Engine will improve tasks such as voice and facial recognition on Apple devices.

MacOS 10.13/11

A new year, a new iteration of the MacOS. It’s expected to be version 10.13, but some are saying we could get a whole new version 11. Given that OS X/ OS 10 is nearly 16 years old, it could probably do with a refresh.

The company is also expected to announce updates to its MacBook line-up, which will probably include a touch bar option. With the new OS, new file system, APFS should also get some stage time.

iOS 11/new iPhones

As is custom, expect a first view of Apple’s latest version of iOS along with some new iPhone models. As 2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone, expect some self-congratulating and probably some special edition devices. There might be some enterprise-focused announcements around device management.

Watch OS 4

As disappointing and underwhelming as the smartwatch market has turned out to be, there’s no denying Apple is still the biggest player in the space. There’s likely to be a new version of the Watch OS previewed, with added focus around HealthKit.

Messaging

Could iMessage come to Android? It’s generally not in-keeping with Apple’s M.O., but stranger things have happened. Either way, we’ll likely hear at least something about Clips, Apple’s video-based take on Snapchat, which might segue into what the company is actually planning around Augmented Reality.

Swift

Will there be updates to Swift, Apple’s programming language? Quite possibility. And given IBM’s interest in bringing Swift to the enterprise and server space, there could be some interesting announcements, maybe.

Other

Will we see updates from the IBM or Cisco partnerships? Probably not.

Will Apple acknowledge it is testing driverless cars? Unlikely.

Will we see any AR/VR wearable tech? Also a no. But there might be some news around Apple AirPods if the company is planning a hearables play.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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