Watches, OSs and the iPhone 6: What to expect from WWDC

The 2013 WWDC

The 2013 WWDC

ON JUNE 2nd, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference will begin in San Francisco. The company will unveil the new additions to their product line-up, but what can we expect from the event?

This year should theoretically bring the iPhone 6 (that’s if we go by previous naming trends, but an iPhone Air is still a possibility). The main differentiator in the new model will most likely be a larger, probably 4.7”, screen. This is a change which, in this age of larger devices such as the Samsung Galaxy devices and the HTC One, is pretty much unavoidable. An increase in screen size has been desired by industry analysts for years, and will indeed help the company reach audiences who desire that in a phone. Not only that, but the often complained about battery-life will increase, as the larger component space will allow for a physically larger battery whilst retaining the slim profile that has become synonymous with Apple’s flagships. Aesthetically, I think that we’ll be looking at a similar form factor to the current iPads; aluminium, flat-backed body with curved edges and a thinner bezel than on previous models.

iOS 8

Alongside the new iPhone, this year’s update to iOS will also be announced. According to the rumour mill, iOS 8 will be somewhat of an incremental update. This is most likely due to the fact that iOS 7 was so laden with change last year, meaning that there isn’t so much low-hanging fruit. Also adding weight to this are industry rumbles of Apple reallocating iOS engineers to their Mac division in order to get the updated OS X release ready for developers during the event. Personally, I’m hoping for better interactivity between third-party apps.

We’ll also be looking at the successor to the latest iteration of Mac OS X. Version 10.10 of the desktop operating system is likely bring with it the stark visual redesign that the mobile OS received last year, and will be no doubt as divisive amongst users. The redesign was hinted at in 10.9 Mavericks, with Calendar.app, Mail.app and others receiving a UI refinement that subtly simplified the design language. Version 10.10 is set to really push this idea of design refinement, getting away from any notions of the saccharine skeuomorphism seen in previous iterations (read: faux leather). Scott Forstall has now not been involved for long enough that his influence will have lost any vestigial remnants, so this upcoming iteration of the operating system will really show (or not, as it were) of his departure.

iWatch

A prototype for the 'iWatch'

A prototype for the ‘iWatch’

The most talked about part of Apple’s future concerns wearable tech – specifically, the fabled ‘iWatch’. The market of wearables is exploding, with a whole section of the most recent Consumer Electronics Show dedicated to examples from the new sector. Most notably, Samsung have released products from their Gear line, and Google have announced their Android Wear software to run exclusively on a wearable device, such as the gorgeous-looking Moto 360; an we expect to see Apple’s first foray into the burgeoning market this June?

From all the analyst speculation, the device may not be ready to debut at the event due to manufacturing constraints, but this wouldn’t be the first time that Apple have proved the analysts wrong either if we do end up seeing a watch at the event. A possible outcome is that Apple debut their rumoured ‘Healthbook’ app that would use vital signs to give health information before announcing the watch – possibly leaving the watch until the fall event. This conclusion stems from recent talent acquisitions made by the company from companies that deal with this utilisation of technology.

When the company announces their plans for the upcoming year, they may very well have a more software-centric focus in their short-term roadmap. However, Apple need a new game-changer to maintain both shareholder happiness and consumer satisfaction, and I think it’s definitely on its way – possibly just down the road.