Top 5 WWDC Predictions turns out to be the Apple’s roadmap for 2016

At the on-going WWDC 2016 conference, Apple made several announcements. However, Apteligent’s CSO, Andrew Levy had predicted the developments and expectations from the WWDC event much ahead of the conference. In this article, we will highlight Levy’s predictions. You can compare whether his predictions matches with the actual developments.

Here are our predictions for the top 5 announcements:

Siri [Beats?] Speaker vs Amazon Echo vs Google Home

There have been leaked images of a Siri icon for Mac. Let’s hope Apple has more in mind for Siri. They could leverage their tvOS platform or building something entirely new, which I think is more likely.

In the past Apple has neglected its TV platform, but changed that last year with a major update to the fourth generation Apple TV and the release of the new tvOS. Siri was included as a way to interact with the device but only after you’ve turned Apple TV on. A fifth generation Apple TV could include a speaker and an always listening Siri, to compete directly against the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

I think a more likely scenario is that Apple builds a separate Siri speaker. A separate Siri speaker may also make sense for the kitchen and other rooms where a TV isn’t accessible. In this setup, the Siri speaker would be a simpler device, they could potentially use the Beats branding, and it would allow Apple to continue to sell two hardware devices (after all, Apple is a hardware company at the end of the day).

Since Siri is being placed on all of Apple’s products, it makes sense that they will interoperate. For example, it’s likely if you ask your Siri Speaker to remind you to watch Game of Thrones, and your Apple Watch detects you’re home, Siri will turn on your TV via your Apple TV and start playing the show.

Apple VR

I predict Apple will not announce a VR headset. Although they have certainly acquired companies in the space, the market and timing isn’t right for them. Two reasons I believe this won’t happen:

  1. Apple has notoriously waited on new hardware launches until the first generation of devices have been vetted by the market, and they’ve had time to perfect the user experience. The iPod wasn’t the first music player, the iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone, and the Apple Watch wasn’t the first smartwatch. The VR market is just too early.
  2. There is not a single Mac device with a powerful enough GPU to run existing VR hardware. The Oculus Rift requires about 3x the typical GPU power to run vs a 1080p game. If Apple updates the GPUs in its Mac lineup, that could be a signal for future VR investments.

New Macbook Pro and New Thunderbolt display

Many people thought Apple would announce upgraded Macbook Pros at the March Apple Event this past year. We should instead see this announcement at WWDC. They will likely upgrade the design, the CPU and GPU, and move the peripheral ports to USB-C. Despite a few rumors, I don’t think it will have a detachable touchscreen like the Surface Book — this would cannibalize iPad sales and wouldn’t make sense for Apple.

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One other notable rumor is regarding an updated Thunderbolt display. This came as a result of little to no Thunderbolt stocks at many Apple stores across the globe.

Apple Watch 2 / watchOS 3

Apple is largely expected to showcase the next generation of the Apple Watch. Since Watch now supports native apps and does not require the iPhone connection, a good bet would be the inclusion of 4G connectivity in the Apple Watch 2. Another feature sure to grab attention would be the inclusion of a camera. You’d immediately have a new self-stick (your arm) and it would enable Facetime. One of the complaints about the Apple Watch is the battery, and surely some updates would be needed there to support the cellular chip and Facetime capabilities.

These new software capabilities will likely be bundled into watchOS 3. The last major version was released in September 2015, so keeping with the iOS update path it makes sense we’ll see a new version. Many think the Apple Watch is doomed to fail. I don’t think Apple is giving up that easily on the platform so expect Apple to announce some stats about the growth of Watch.

iOS 10 and the iPhone 7

There was some speculation earlier this year that iOS 10 would not be released in the fall, as iOS 9.3 was a larger than normal update. I do not believe this is true as our data shows a huge increase in iOS 10 testing since the beginning of the year. Here is a list of a few expected releases for iOS 10:

  • Apple has release a companion app for WWDC with a dark theme, leading many to speculate that iOS 10 will include a “dark mode.”
  • A Siri SDK or API for all It would be ironic if Apple beat Google on this front, since Google Now has long had an API but only open to select companies. Apple may be able to pull this off due to its approval process.
  • Apple Music take two: The first revision was cluttered and largely criticized (remember iTunes Ping?). Expect a new release to focus on simplicity and personalization.
  • Every iOS update for the past few years has included updates to the Photos app: iOS 8 introduced iCloud Sync, iOS 9 added navigation improvements, including Siri search, and so for iOS 10 expect additional functionality. This could include special features to accommodate the new camera on the iPhone 7 Plus (more on that below).
  • The ability to hide the stock Apple apps from the home screen.
  • iCloud / Siri voicemail is another interesting rumor where you can basically setup Siri to respond to voicemails with information on where you are and why you can’t answer.
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Alongside the release of iOS 10 will be a new line of iPhone 7 devices, including iPhone 7 Plus. This larger device is rumored to include two cameras for a 2-3x optical zoom. If true this represents one of the largest changes to the device and should have wide-appeal among the Instagram and amateur photography crowd. Other rumors suggest Apple will rid of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and instead connect either through the lightning port or wirelessly via bluetooth. For all the iPhone 7 devices, expect hardware upgrades like the next generation A10 processor.

Wishful Thinking

Project Titan (the Apple Car) announcements!

Overall, a lot is riding on this year’s conference. This is the first event after a major decline in Apple iPhone sales, 16% lower vs last year, and a corresponding decline in the stock back in April. Apple should be able to increase sales ahead of the holiday season via its Macbook Pro line and an impressive Apple Watch 2 release. The iPhone 7 might attract those that skipped the iPhone 6S / 6S Plus upgrade cycle since the difference between the older iPhones should widen a bit more. We’ll be sure to reflect back on the announcements after the event.

Conclusion

As you can see, Andrew Levy had predicted the release of Apple Watch, Apple MacBook and iPhone 7. However, we can point out that although his predictions of iOS 10 and Siri turns out to be true, WWDC is all about software.

We should not expect any announcements by Apple regarding upcoming hardware devices. However, Levy has smarty predicted all the upcoming gadgets and devices which will be available by the end of 2016.

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If you read this article in good spirit, then you have learned about the devices which will be likely released by Apple in 2016.

Anand Narayanaswamy is the editor-in-chief of Netans. He was recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 9 years (2002 to 2011) and currently part of MVP Reconnect program. He is also part of the prestigious ASPInsider program. Anand has published several articles and reviews related to various software and hardware products for various software and technology related websites. He is also active on social media and also participates as an Influencer for various brands. Anand can be reached at admin@netans.com